“My sister was born 8 years before me, by my mother and her husband at the time. My mother began dating a woman (I will refer to as the other mother) and had me via sperm donation.
Growing up as the younger sister was tough. All I wanted was the approval and friendship of my sister but being 8 years older, she was always at a different place with friends and life. It didn’t help that I was a little s***. I would tell on her, eat her chalk as a toddler. One time, I apparently even bit her nose so hard it drew blood as a kid (haha).
I don’t remember much of my childhood. I blocked a lot of it out and only know what I’ve been told about anything before age of 7. My sister and I were different but were there for one another when it counted most. My earliest memory was when I was 7. My sister and I walked into our home from our day at school. We heard yelling and slamming sounds from upstairs. We ran up and saw my mother being choked by our other mother to the point of her feet barely touching the ground.
My sister jumped on other mother’s back only to get thrown off and into a wall. My remember my sister yelling, ‘Ally, call 9-1-1.’ So, I went into my mom’s office and did just that. Hysterical, not even knowing what was happening or my full address, I called. Why was my mom hurting my mom? This was the first day I realized people you love can hurt you. My sister ran in to calm me down and told the police the rest of the information. She held me under the office desk till the commotion stopped. Other mother was gone by the time the cops came. Restraining orders were put into place, though they were not respected by our other mother. She would send me flowers and gifts to school under disguised names of my cousins on her side. She would drive past our home or we would see her randomly in our town. I later found out she would drive past every single Christmas and my mom would simply distract us from the window so we didn’t see her. We ended up moving out of safety concerns to a cute little neighborhood.
Years later, we saw our other mother driving down this street as well. Then for years, poof. She vanished. All we knew about her was that she moved, had a child, and named her the same exact name as mine. We thought it was over. My sister and I bonded over all these experiences. We realized how important it is to protect who we love. But although we bonded, we didn’t exactly get along yet.
My sister and I didn’t really have a good relationship during the following years. She would watch me while my mom was away and she would lock me in the bathroom with the lights off often. Typical sibling crap. It wasn’t until I hit my 20’s that we began hanging out and enjoying one another’s company. She has been through a lot over the years, battling alcohol addiction and other issues. Her addiction caused a lot of commotion in my family. We are not a family who fights often, if ever, but during those years, it was like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. But she is now 4 years sober and I think one of my favorite things about her is how resilient she is. She sunk down to the absolute bottom, addiction, divorce, job loss…and is now a completely new person.
Her spirituality drives a lot of what she does, which is another difference between her and I, as I am atheist. This fact does sometimes get in the way of conversations but we generally just avoid the topic, knowing and respecting we won’t change the each other’s views. We both have worked with the mentally ill from the time we were even able to get jobs. Our mother had clients living with us from the time I was 3, caring for them. Our mother owns 2 adult foster care homes, which we both work at. She has a few degrees in psychology and I also went to school for that. This was the job she was let go from (then since re-hired) because of the addiction driving our family so far apart.
My sister and I both have huge hearts, but in different ways. She wants to care for people, mind, body, and soul. She teaches yoga on top of working with the mentally ill. I personally put my heart into animals and wildlife conservation as much as I can. Two different spectrums, but our hearts are in the same place. To make a difference in some way. She is a meat eater and I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years now. (Though she happily makes vegan food for us to eat together and often makes me my favorite veggie soup!) We are both very close to our mother; she has basically been the father/mother role for both of us, as my sister’s dad wasn’t the best father. He is still in her life and better now than he was, but it was never like it is with my mom. My mom has always raised an accepting environment in our home. My sister and I always felt comfortable coming to her for anything. Periods, first time, when I came out as pansexual, etc. My mother always proved she was, and is, our biggest cheering squad. She only wants us to get the most out of life.
Regarding the other mother situation, we thought it was over for years. Then I realized there was an ‘other’ section in my Facebook messages. I unknowingly accepted my other mother onto my friends list for what looked like about a year. I scrolled back and read all of the hundreds of messages she’d been sending me. She told me she waited at my local Montessori everyday in the hopes I would see her message and meet her there. She said she had a birthday gift for me from every year from her and snickers (my childhood dog she took that had been dead for years). She asked how my nieces were, implying she knows my sister had kids (the most recent is only 2). She said she knows I am manager at my job and said it is a beautiful home I work at. She said my artwork is amazing. She knew everything about me and where my family and I are. To this day, this terrifies me to my core. I think about it daily when driving past the Montessori or working the overnight while the dark woods surround me outside. My sister is not as affected; she knows about these messages but tries to just live her life, focused on her family and sobriety and not possible issues or future concerns.
My sister and I have always dressed pretty differently, though growing up I used to steal some of her clothing. Even we pick through each other’s closets from time to time even today! She has always loved color and I have always dressed in darker tones. I personally did this to hide myself, as I have always hated being the center of attention. I was also bullied pretty relentlessly in school growing up because of my weight, so subconsciously dark colors are my comfort zone. She was also always bullied for weight but she has always had this amazing confidence. Regardless of what size she is, she has pretty much always felt beautiful and embraced her body. This is another thing I appreciate about her. I’ve always admired her confidence, her smile, and how she can light up an entire room.
As an adult, my style got less extreme and I started incorporating some color into my wardrobe. Her style became more extreme, more hippie, more rainbow as the years went on. Another huge difference we have is makeup. She wears absolutely none of it and I am a professional makeup artist. Though, she is the reason I even began special effects makeup. Her and her (then) husband asked me to turn them into a pretty mummy and a gross mummy. This was 5 years ago now. I had no idea where to even begin, so I went to a Halloween store and grabbed what I thought might work. I now know how very wrong the ingredients and how I applied them were, but this makeup application sparked a fire in me. After that night, I began practicing makeup on myself every single night and eventually got to where I am now, in international makeup competitions, being judged by makeup legends like Ve Neill.
We both eventually got our own houses and have decorated them in our signature styles. We are both artsy in our own ways, me with my sculpting, painting, and makeup and her with henna tattoos, sewing and up-cycling crafts. We both support and embrace one another and our unique traits. Our family calls us Wednesday Adams and Malibu Barbie. We are polar opposites. Despite our differences, I feel fortunate to have her for a sister. She is always there for me and has been my role model growing up. She is an amazing mother and human.
We may bicker and think differently, but that is just part of being a human being. I wish more people could respect each others differences without argument or hatred.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ally K. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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