Monday, June 3, 2013

The silence after my last post has less to do with my younger sister's death than it has to do with how fucking busy I've been for the last month. I was busy before her funeral, and it all came crashing right back down on my head when I returned to NYC. The crunch is over, though. I've only got one project, and I'm working like mad to finish it so I can get paid.

People keep asking me how I'm doing, and I feel like my answer never satisfies their curiosity. Like, I'm supposed to burst into tears or say something really profound. The truth is way more complicated than a momentary display of sadness, and most of the time I don’t want to burden people with the whole story. I appreciate that they want to give me hugs, and "hold space" for me (total yogatalk, in case you don't speak that language.) I have to give folks an opportunity to express themselves, and show me, in their way, how much they care. I really do appreciate that. I love my friends and am so grateful.

But the truth is a beast, and keening is not my style. The truth? The truth is that I have been grieving the loss of my sister for a long time. Not just since her death. Since her diagnosis with brain cancer; since her marriage to that moron of a guy; since her sanctimonious return to the church; since her marriage to the first moron, actually; since her incautious ways with friendships; since her inability to confront her self-esteem issues; since her diagnosis with HIV; and really since she decided, years ago, to make a habit of casting me out whenever the mood struck her, whenever she perceived I'd wronged her, or said something that she didn't want to hear.

There are benefits to estrangement, though, and with time I've been able to see that my sister inherited my mother's mental illness: narcissistic personality disorder. It was never dealt with, from childhood on, for the obvious reasons (a narcissistic mother is not going to get her child therapy sessions in which, most likely, the child will talk shit about the narcissistic mother.) Most of decisions my younger sister made from high school on were informed by a wounded center, a broken sense of her value and gifts. She was an extraordinarily talented person who was always more attracted to doing the minimum, or working an angle for an easy advantage. And my parents, for whatever reason, never held her to the same standards they set for my older sister and myself, and never insisted my younger sister clean up her messes.

My grief is years-long. This is why I'm always anxious to change the subject.

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