Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mental Warfare. The Battle of the Sisters.

Picture of the sisters from the movie, White Christmas
Choosing roommates between a household of five children and fewer bedrooms can never be an easy task; however, when my mother placed the two most volatile and opposite of personalities in one small bedroom, it was as if she were asking for trouble on a grand scale.  When it came to sisterly battles, those between my older sibling, Kathleen, and myself are of epic legend.

Kathy was physically older than myself yet I'd like to say that her year and a half had nothing on me in the way of mental warfare.  Certainly she had a cruel streak that brought the devil out of me.  When it came to vicious opening attack sequences, she won hands down yet I always claimed the final victories.

Take for instance the time I was sitting directly behind her while my mom was cruising on a Southern California freeway at the height of rush hour traffic.  Kathleen, who was conveniently sporting a pony tail, made a rather snarky comment to me about my "fat butt".  If I remember correctly, I'd had a tough day at school.  Most likely I failed another fourth grade spelling test and was the "fat butt" joke of my teacher, a Catholic Nun, Sister Mary Jose.  I was not prepared to listen to my sibling harass me for no general reason.  It felt so liberating to see Kathy's back arching over the front passenger seat as I pulled her pony tail firmly down to where I was sitting.  I avoided my mother's right slapping hand and ignored her screams to let my sister go.  I knew I would be punished severely when I got home but home was still twenty minutes away - longer if we hit traffic - and I had no intention of letting her hair go.  If anything, I twisted and pulled harder.  Victory was mine.

Now before I go any further, I'd like to preface the remainder of this blog with some sort of explanation as to my personality type.  I'm actually a very laid back sort of gal.  When I was young, it took a lot to set me off.  Kathleen, my sister, knew exactly what buttons to push to make me angry.  I'm not necessarily proud of these stories but alas, I'm writing them to warn young mothers of little girls of what might lie ahead...these are simply precautionary tales. 

If any of you around my age remember the lovely Brady Bunch scene of Marcia and Jan placing tape down their bedroom to divide their "space" - my sister had this same notion after watching the episode.  You see, my sister has always been compulsively neat and I, on the other hand, lean towards, well - relaxed.  I'm certainly not a slob, but I don't always hang everything up if you catch my drift.  This type of sloth could not be tolerated by Kathy and so with masking tape down the center of the room she went.  "You can't cross the tape.  This is MY side of the room!"

"Fine dork!  So that means you can't get to the closet,  leave the bedroom to go to the bathroom, and when a pervert crawls through the window to attack us, you're the first one he'll get.  Way to go brainless!" 

The tape was removed within minutes.  Victory was mine. 

When our older siblings eventually moved out, Kathy and I were given our own rooms.  This solved a lot of grief for my parents.  No longer did they have to walk into screaming battles where Kathleen was clawing her fingernails through my skin and I was using my unusually large front teeth to draw blood from her arms.  I can't image how it must have looked when they opened the door to find mattresses overturned, bookshelves flipped, and their teenage daughters on the floor with clumps of hair in each other's hands.  We were like feral animals.

As we got older and bought our own clothing, Kathy often asked if she could borrow some of my things.  I had no problem with it.  Again, I was pretty easy going.  One day I asked to borrow something of hers.  She responded with a scathing, nasty remark to the effect that I was too fat and that I would destroy it.  From that point forward it was war.  Because of her paranoia, she asked my parents to place a key lock on her door.  One day, when I was alone in the house, I took the key from my parent's bureau, made a copy of it at our local hardware store, and well - the rest was history.

When Kathy wasn't home, I'd enter her room and move her shoes about just enough to make her wonder what was going on.  I'd shift her diary angle to keep her guessing if someone was reading it.  I'd mess up her lingerie drawer.  And yes, when I wanted, I'd sneak out a shirt and wear it out on a date.  Victory was mine once again.

Perhaps this is the time to say whole heartily how much I adore my sister today.

Kathy - I'm sorry for stretching out that one shirt.  You always accused me of stretching it out and I denied it emphatically .  For argument's sake, you were right.  My big ole' boobies probably did make it a wee bit larger for you; however, you must admit, it was most likely more comfortable.  And yes, I did borrow those navy blue pumps for Father's Day Brunch but calling me a bitch in front of every one was a little over the top, don't you think?

We've seen each other through some pretty hard times and we'll be together until the very end of our lives because we're sisters.  We're family.  We don't give up on each other but please don't call me a bitch at the next brunch, ok?   I love you.