Sunday, July 8, 2012

She Gets It

We're anything but a typical family.

I was raised predominately by my mother, and my half-sister, by my father. So our relationship has always been a little different. We didn’t live together full time. In fact we didn’t live together three-fourths of the time.

Like I said before. My mother remarried when I was 5, and we relocated to Tennessee. My father (who I only saw every other weekend) lived 45 minutes away in Mississippi with my sister.

I have so many memories of us. The time we were riding our bicycles and I tipped over onto a glass bottle. I busted it open with my wrist and nearly bled to death. She saved my life. I can remember her telling me that I had to hide in the backseat when we road down the strip because it was embarrassing to “cruise” with her kid sister in the car. I remember the time she promised me a quarter if I bit into a raw onion, and the time she and her best friend let me make a drink out of everything in our refrigerator cabinet. She was even kind enough to let me be the first taste-tester.   


She was your typical older sister. She got easily annoyed by me, but defended me to a fault. I can remember one of the first times she was ever around when my step-dads kids began to pick on me. I was 50 pounds soaking wet, with glasses and buckteeth. I didn’t help myself by the fact that I didn’t just have an imaginary best friend, but an entire imaginary crew. Including twin characters. (I’ve always had an over active imagination.)

The step-siblings were older than me. The girl by a year and a half. The boy by five. They despised me. They also were boring blobs of duddiness, and had no imagination what-so-ever. I can’t tell you how many times it took me to realize that when they tried to squash my imaginary friends, I could “pretend” that they moved. You have no idea how long I cried before I figured it out. I’m a little sensitive. (Not “cried during Steel Magnolia’s” sensitive. I mean “cried during the trailer of Charlotte’s Web”- and not even the cartoon version- sensitive.) Since I was a kid, my heart has been bigger than my body.

When it was just me with them, I was always the center of harassment. When my sister came around however, the game changed. I can’t tell you how nice it was to finally have someone on my side. They knew better than to pick on me when she was around. She protected me.

When I was harassed at school by the office staff, my sister was the first one to suggest that we sue them. Of course I was scared. I used to hate drawing attention to myself, and I knew that battle wasn’t anywhere close to being won. I was wrong. I should have listened to her. I should have stood up for myself.

Still, we never actually lived together. Not until this past January. For one month. We lived together. Imagine the most horrible experience you can conjure, and then visualize the opposite. It was great. We sat up late talking, she told me stories about when we were younger that I no longer remembered (she’s six years older than me), and I even shared with her stories about who I dated/ was dating in college… girls.  She was fine with the “lesbian” thing. She had plenty of friends in high school who were gay. In fact. She introduced me to my first lesbian community when I was 16 years old.

Segue: Here’s what I suggest to all lesbians. Network. Every lesbian knows a lesbian who knows a lesbian. Okay? You meet one of us, and you meet thirty. I can’t tell you how many parties I went to in college that had 4 or even 5 sets of exes there. Some of them were exes more than once (those girls were usually making out with someone else in the corner on the couch.) We build our own lesbian dynasty in every community. You just have to break into it. It’s harder for the baby dyke’s. You usually aren’t old enough to have a community yet. It will pick up around age 21. If you need company immediately I’ve got two words for you. Travel softball.

You’d be amazed at how soon you’ll find a friend.

Any way. I drove home this weekend. The entire 7 hours. My sister called and asked for help babysitting my little brothers. My mom had surgery Friday, so she was baby sitting. Going gave me a chance to see my mother as well. I went and it was just like living together again. We sat and talked about hilarious stories. One that she reminded me of was how often I performed as a child. I was a one man show. I would attempt to sing and dance, do stand up comedy, etc. She said that I was always the center of attention. It kind of faded as I got older. When I was fourteen I began to hide. I didn’t want anyone to see me. To figure me out. I stayed hidden through high school. Our drama program was a bunch of kids sitting in a class reading plays from a book.

When I got to college, I sort of found myself. I got degree in film, and in the process found my passion for story telling. I had always been a writer. Since I was young. But now I knew what to do with it.

In September I’m moving back out to California. Hollywood in fact. I just want to write. To inspire. I want to tell the stories of the voices that have been silenced. I want to tell my story. I want to touch someone.

I’m excited. I’m also a little nervous. My sister won’t be there. Or my mom. I won’t be able to go home on the weekends even if I wanted to. That drive is a two day trip minimum, or a $700 plane ticket, and while writing is fun... it won’t pay for much right away. I'm going to miss them terribly.

I’ll make it though… and I’ll love every minute of it. Because I’m taking a chance. Chasing my passion. I’m finding my voice. My sister would be proud.

<3 Remember Me. I’m Tennessee. 

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