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National Sister’s Day

Sister

This has been my hardest post yet.

2nd August it was National Sisters Day.

Until this year I had never even heard of it. And this year happens to be the year when I am currently not talking to my sister and haven’t done so in over 5 months.

We’d always been close – we had our ups and downs as all siblings do. We fought just as ferociously as we loved each other. My biggest fear had always been that we would end up like my mum and her sister who no longer talk and haven’t done so in years – but they never got on, whereas my sister and I always did.

I’m unclear as to the reason why we are not talking. Our relationship became strained the year I moved out. We both had our individual health problems which caused a distance to arise between the both of us as we tried to overcome our own battles. I guess I became consumed by my epilepsy as well as trying to stay happy enough so that I wouldn’t fall under the depression cloud once again.

Depression makes you selfish to the people around you; you become consumed and obsessed with yourself. All you see is darkness, you cannot see the people around you. I’m also not very much of a talker, so when I’m feeling low I retreat into myself. My family found that particularly difficult to deal with due to us being such a small and tight knit family.

Although by the time I moved out of the family home, I’d found myself in a better place – I was moving to London with a friend, I was falling in love, I’d found the perfect job – the damage within my family had already been done. And as the months went by and I got settled into my new life, the distance grew even further and although I spoke to my mum once a week, my sister was becoming less and less communicative. When I returned home for Christmas, I soon discovered that my sister had been unwell and they had been keeping it from me. The initial reason was because they didn’t want to cause me stress which would trigger more seizures, however the truth was soon revealed that it was because I had become self-involved and in their opinion I had left them to it to live my life in London. They said that I wouldn’t care.

By February this year my relationships with them had become so strained that I decided I needed to break away and think about who I was because I had become tired of being defined by their judgements and expectations. I didn’t know who I was and I realised that I probably never had. My mum and sister particularly didn’t take this well and after a blow out with my mum we stopped talking completely. Thankfully after 5 months my mum and I worked it out, however my sister still refuses to have any communication with me. We had a discussion back in February where she told me that she was sick of my selfishness and didn’t want to hear about any of my life anymore, however she then pretended that it had never happened and expected me to accept that but I couldn’t and so when I said to her that I needed space, she cut off ties completely instead of sitting down and talking it through.

So many things remind me of her: I think of my sister whenever I watch Family Guy and American Dad. If I watch pretty much any movie by the Wayans Brothers I think of her and if I do a poo I’m proud of (we used to send each other poo selfies!) I think of her. So many songs remind me of her. When we first stopped talking I felt like half of me had died. I’d wake up in the middle of the night wailing in pain. At work I had to escape to the toilet quite frequently so that I could silently sob. It’s almost like she’s died because at the moment I just cannot see us ever reconciling.

The space I got was what I needed. I’ve become stronger, more sure of myself. I’m looking after myself mentally and physically and I am no longer defined by words that were said in anger or off the cuff, neither am I defined by my father. I always felt like my father’s child and never my mother’s child because people who knew him said I looked like him and my mum would constantly tell me that I was like my dad. My mum and sister get mistaken for twins because they look so much alike. And every time I returned home, it felt like they had more and more in common while I had less and less. I truly believe this year that I have also grown in confidence which is something I’ve battled with my entire life.

I sent my mum this passage of scripture the other day after we met up for lunch last week, because I really felt convicted that it defined our situation perfectly:

John 15:5-8 (MSG)

 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”

And this is the response I sent to my mum:

“We needed to be separated because we were depending on each other too much and not putting God first. We had lost our foundations and we were like deadwood because as a family we weren’t moving forward. We were focusing on the past and each other’s mistakes so we had to go back to our source. And we all had to use that time to join ourselves to God, to grow and to bear fruit and mature.”

I’ve already mentioned in other posts that this year I’ve grown closer to God than ever. This is due to being disconnected to my family. I had my partner and my friends, but I wanted somebody to give me answers and to deal with it for me and to be honest as much as they tried to help, only God could do that. There were times when I would be out for dinner with my partner and he would ask me about my family because he knew how much I was struggling to cope and afterwards I would sit and stare into space. I wouldn’t be able to speak because it would hit me all over again.

I realised how little I had depended on God and so instead of focusing on the problems I was trying to deal with, I focused on connecting with God and becoming intimate with him and this is where I found my identity.

I’m now more involved in Church creatively which is one of the big reasons for relocating to London, I’ve become confident enough to speak to people and not worry about judgements and at work I’m confident enough to lead a class and speak in front of a class which is something I was never able to do. I’m starting an MA in English in October which is something I have wanted to do for year so that I can pursue my dream career in writing and most importantly I’m no longer consumed by the thought that I am just not good enough – for God, for my partner, for ANYONE.

I was selfish.

But why does that have to be a bad thing?

Perhaps my sister and I will never speak again and perhaps this is something I will have to accept. I have no way of communicating with her as she has completely cut me off and therefore, I must wait for her to reach out to me. If she ever does read this: Bruv, I love you and I am sorry for my past and for my mistakes, however I am no longer bound by them and God does not expect me to be so nobody – not matter how close they are should have the right to play God. When and if reconciliation does happen I will always stand by my decision because I deserve to be a person which I wasn’t before.

But now I am and I hope that some day you can forgive me and be proud of me.

Author:

I’m Cece Alexandra and I have Epilepsy. Since being diagnosed, my life has changed significantly. After studying and teaching Humanities and Literature for all of my adult life, I was bullied and lost my job a month before qualifying to become an English Teacher. Once you fail the Teacher Training course in England, you cannot ever retrain; I then became too sick to work because of my Epilepsy. I am now currently studying an MSc in Mental Health Psychology with the University of Liverpool. My disability provokes me into raising awareness for invisible disabilities, which I also actively partake in with Epilepsy Action. Part of that awareness is to help fight against invisible disability discrimination - I believe that this behaviour is not cognitively unconscious; modern society is actively partaking in a hierarchy of disabilities and I believe that there is not enough psychological research to prove this. I am also clinically interested in Cultural Psychology - particularly Collectivist Culture, and wish to pursue this further in my academic career.

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