sistering

Dear Sister,
Everything I am is because of you.

elizabeth

I was born a sister. My older sister, Elizabeth, arrived into this world two and half years before me. In many ways, in addition to my parents, Elizabeth raised me. It is Elizabeth who told me that I needed to start shaving my armpits, who still buys me coffee, and always returns phone calls. It is Elizabeth who helped me move into a very questionable apartment my senior year of college. She windexed and vacuumed and lined kitchen shelves without ever batting an eye. Because she is a warrior.

My original sister taught me what it means to be a sister. Now there are four of us, four sisters. Each of us taking the reins of sisterhood, showing up because Elizabeth taught us how.

Currently, we all live in different cities. Each sister living out her own big, bold adventure. Our separation is my biggest heartbreak. It feels like the most unnatural thing in the world, to be separated from my sisters.

Yet
here is the truth
the beautiful, twisted thing.

It is only through being separated from my biological sisters that I’ve gained even more sisters.

Our separation has taught me that the word “sister” has nothing to do with blood and everything to do with how we show up for each other.

When my boyfriend and I broke up, oh did my Los Angeles sisters show up. They showed up to help me move furniture out of my old shared apartment. They lifted heavy coffee tables and rolled up rugs. And just like my older sister, they never batted an eye. Because they are warriors.

I’ve also learned that some sisters are seasonal sisters. This is bittersweet. Upon my breakup, one sister in particular opened up her home, helped me pack moving boxes, and got up in the middle of the night so that I didn’t have to cry alone. But since then, through some twists and turns, the sisterhood has fallen away. Sister heartbreak has it’s own unique flavor, it’s own unique sting.

My sisters have fed me.
Cooked for me.
Bought me dinner.
Put food into my mouth
with their barehands.

They’ve rubbed my back
and cleaned up cuts from ocean rocks.

together we’ve celebrated
and cried
and analyzed
analyzed
analyzed
past relationships.

we’ve drunk a bottle of champagne on a Sunday night
knowing there was work in the morning
because
why not?

we’ve driven each other to the airport
and to the beach
and to each others homes,
to talk in bed
until we fall asleep.

This past weekend, another heartbroken sister moved out of her shared apartment. There was no question of who would help her move. We all showed up. We loaded up SUVs with boxes, tables, and chairs. We laughed and lifted without ever batting an eye. Because we are warriors.

I think of my Los Angeles sisters and I, a group of women caught somewhere in between real life and make believe. Constantly in between heartbreak and ecstasy. We are pulling oracle cards and howling at the moon. We are driving to the ocean when the sadness is too much. We are packing moving boxes and making quesadillas at 3:00am. This is the dance of sisterhood. These are the women that raised me.

Elizabeth is pregnant with a baby girl.
Another sister.

And already, I want to protect this baby girl from heartbreak. I want her to be safe and comfortable and cozy for her entire life. But if she is always safe and comfortable and cozy, she may never understand true sisterhood. She may never get the chance to live wildly, caught somewhere in between real life in make believe. Between heartbreak and ecstasy. So my hope for this future sister is that she dances loudly and boldly. She jumps, and stumbles, and falls, so that there, on the ground, she meets her sisters. And together, they rise.

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