17 January 2012

Sisterhood ... Everlasting.

*Yesterday I began and finished Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. It's the follow-up to her best-selling series Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and fast-forwards to these girls (now women) at the age of 29 as they deal with where their lives have taken them as well as *spoiler* the death of one of their sisters. If you, like myself, grow attached to fictional characters let's just say I would not recommend reading this book in public. A bottle of red wine while reading in bed is highly recommended and you might want to grab a box of tissues too. Either way, I was inspired to write to (and about) my own sisterhood. I hope I can capture what they mean to me. 

I would say I came to the bonds of sisterhood late. I grew up a middle child. Not in the factual sense of the word. I was an only child for many years but I had one cousin who was older than me and one who was younger. They were my sisters for all intents and purposes. Quiana was the beautiful one, I was the smart one and Denise was the youngest who followed after the both of us. We didn't have a lot of other friends who were girls and I was often jealous of the friends they did have. In my head we were sisters. They were friends. It was not the same.

As we grew older, we grew apart. I went off to boarding school and suddenly I was surrounded by other girls. I had lots of friends, male and female. Then in our 11th grade year I discovered that I had more than friends. I'd found new sisters. That year was a roller-coaster of triumphs and tragedies and firsts and adventures. I found that my friends and I fit together like puzzle pieces. Even today, I mark myself by them. Not competitively but as a sign that things have really happened. Sheena, who came to every performance I had in high school, still cheers me on and I think moreso than myself she can enumerate all of my talents better than I can. Sometimes I wish she could do every job interview for me because I sound immensely better from Sheena's point of view than I do from my own. I'll never know if I'm on time unless Stephanie's late. Whenever we're together we fall into the same patterns. Steph is late and I sigh and complain but I never show up later than the time we agreed upon. One day she'll be there exactly when we said. Jadele is our moral compass, our spiritual leader. She creates from some deep place and reminds us that the rest of us were born to create as well. Nekia is the bitch and I mean that in every possible positive way I can think of. She keeps us in check. She tells us the truth. But she'd also give you her last and be by your side if you called her there. And I am the organizer, the gatherer. I drive everyone crazy with my plans. I live for romanticized grand plans and I make all of us sit in rooms together and badger everyone until they do what I want. These are my sisters. Forged through tears and laughs when we were just 16. I have the right to make us sit in rooms together. 

It's not to say that I haven't had other close friends. Other people that I consider part of my family. When I went to college I sought to replicate what I had at boarding school. And I found an amazing group of women who I love deeply. Luckily, and somewhat astonishingly, I've managed to move across the country from my sisters and find a great support system and people who have welcomed me into their lives. I guess more than anything I'm lucky that my sisters left me with two things: the ability to form a family wherever I go and a piece of themselves that I carry every day. Often, I find that I'm always a few minutes late. And I like to push and drive the creative spirit of those around me. I revel in all of my friend's accomplishments and life changing moments as if they were my own. I speak the truth even when it hurts. And my heart is always open. I'm always accepting more sisters. 

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