Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sisterly love

Recently my sister wrote a lovely post about looking after yourself, prefaced rather amusingly with the words "I'm not the writer in the family". Hmmm. When I wrote the copy for my website, she was one of my main editors!

I asked her about her comment. She claimed she had picked up some writing tips from me. When pressed on what they might be, she said, "when in doubt, put a full stop." I'm sure THAT piece of wisdom - which of course I can't recall offering - makes all the difference!

It's not just one way though, my sister is the one who is good at all sports, running, acting and singing. And she is very organised. All things I shy away from. And I mention running when she probably hasn't run at all since school!

Isn't it interesting the way we make up our minds about what we are and are not good at.

I guess it is through our siblings that we first learn about who we are and who we are not in relation to others. Being "good" or "bad" at things seems so important and there are lots of ways to measure that - through grades, scores, results, games, events, races etc. Modes of comparison that mostly seem to fall away as you get older, and certainly become less relevant.

It is hard for me to even remember us competing or arguing as children, but I know we did. My sister can remember. When I told her I was writing about sibling rivarly, she suggested,

"Maybe mention that when the masking tape went down in the middle of the room, you got more space on your side because you got the doorway."

I've often heard it said that when looking for your passions to go back to your childhood as it was then that you were more likely to just do what you loved and what came naturally.

I suppose it is equally important to check in on whether you made any assumptions about yourself as a child that simply are not true anymore.

When working with clients I've also noticed it is quite common to hold onto old sibling patterns and rivalries. "Oh my sister was always the one who was good at art/ sport/ smarter/ prettier/ more popular."

Sometimes these beliefs are still holding the person back today. It can still be the reason why they won't, for example, draw or paint, even though they love it! And even though the comparison is no longer relevant.

It can also be true that the attention, time or energy that was devoted to this sibling as a result of whatever successes (or alternatively, issues) they may have had is still a source of resentment.

These days, I wouldn't regard my sister and I as competitive at all. It wouldn't even occur to me. Sometimes people tell me we're quite different. It's actually hard for me to say whether we are or not, I can't even really tell if we look alike.

We are very close and talk nearly every day, despite living in different states. She'll be my "matron" of honour later this year. She's funny, caring, loyal, strong and fabulous. And I love my sister to bits and pieces!

And yes, I've asked her to write for us again (when she's ready of course, new baby and all).

So, tell me about your sisterly or brotherly relationship! Any stories to share?

Image from Flickr: Sisters by mel e mo


  1. My brother and I Did Not Get Along when we were kids. There were fistfights.
    I was the smart one, he was the physical one.
    Now, we get along really well!
    Oh, and it seems that he's the one who makes his living from his brain, and I am the one who makes my living from my body. No creepiness intended.
    You just can't tell what life will unfold!

  2. I remember my sister and I doing that comparison thing when we were kids - who was the thinner one, the prettier one etc. etc. I also remember that we spent hours and hours laughing - we share the same brand of humour in big way, our younger brother does too.

    My sister is caring, considerate, smart, quirky, a collector of interesting characters and a beautiful girl. She was the most supportive bridesmaid I could've asked for. I miss her more than anyone else back home (sorry Mom!) and wish everyday that we lived in the same city. I look forward to seeing what she will do with her unique talents... and believe that we will live in the same time zone again in the not too distant future.


  3. Love this post!! And I think I have heard the one about the masking tape.
    But yes, My brother was "the sporty one" and I was the smart one. I don't know if that was reinforced to us by adults or if we just cottoned on to it ourselves.
    I'm pretty sure that those comparisons were responsible for him going to uni (he left after one semester) and the fact that I tell EVERYONE I'm unco before attempting any kind of public physical activity.
    I need to close this by saying that he is VERY smart, and I remain, sadly, VERY unco!! (and I adore your sister too)

  4. In my defence about "not being the writer in the family", you must admit you have spent many hours reading over school, uni assignments and school report comments I've written (which I'm very thankful for I might add) where I have repeated the same point over and over again until I've reached the word limit which has seemed HUGE (you know - 1500 words- HUGE!). So you basically helped me get through school, uni and my early years of teaching.

    I also have the ability to write the longest sentences in the world which I now realise I've just proven with my first sentence (see above...)

    But what you said about forming ideas about your abilities by comparing to siblings and others is amazingly true. In your words, Dale, I was the SPORTY one and Kerry was not only the SMART one (a brilliant reader, artist, writer (YES, YES YOU ARE) and public speaker) but she was also more COOL - with fashion, magazines, boyfriends.... and knowing that you need to have your legs shaved before you get to high school so you don't get paid out. Just a bit more "life savvy" shall we say.

    I don't know whether it's because we're sisters, but our relationship is just so "easy". Thank goodness for free "3 to 3 mobile" - we certainly get our money's worth. I feel lucky to have an incredibly talented sister who is also an awesome friend. I'm very proud of what you do. xx

  5. My brother was older and smarter and seemed to win all the fights. I just tagged along and thought he was very cool. I did develop some skills in sport and running which helped raise my self esteem, as I was quite shy. Once we got older our relationship improved and I was impressed when he brought his mates home.
    Sibling relationships are very precious.

    I really felt I'd missed out not having a sister so when my own girls fought when they were young I found this quite disappointing. Fortunately they grew up to be 2 beautiful people who are the best of mates.