The word sister has always held strong connotations for me. I really do not remember a time when I was not a sister. I became a sister at 21 young months old, when my sister Marcella emerged into this world and saved me from my current life of imaginary friends. I guess I was already seeking out sisters and my mom was worried by the amount of friends I was creating in the invisible realm.
I took to being the bossy, big sister very quickly and was excited to share all the knowledge I had gained on my short time on earth, with Marcella.
I was gifted with another sister when I was 5 years old. Kristen was born and became my own living baby doll. She had tons of hair and I needed to show her how to style it. I again took on the task of showing her the ropes around this world and playing along, my way.
I have always been, and will always be the big sister. That used to mean, what I say goes. It used to mean I had others to look out for. It used to mean, I always had to be the example. It used to mean, I had to be the responsible one. I guess it’s hard to shake that off now as an adult, but I do not feel resentful about it, as I once did. When you are a bratty adolescent, it is not always that fun to be the oldest and there were times I was annoyed by younger sisters and wished solely for an older brother.
My mom would always tell me to appreciate my sisters, that I would need them one day. I would inwardly roll my eyes and wonder when these annoying followers could ever do anything for me. But, of course, my mom was right and even as an adolescent, I did not realize how much I was relying on them, during those days when things were sometimes rocky at home and I needed them for comic relief and support.
As we have become adults, we have developed a beautiful friendship. It is one of my greatest treasures and we supported one another through the loss of my father to a homicide, two years ago. In those moments of deep, wrenching loss, and the swarms of anger, sadness and grief, the one comfort is knowing you are not alone in this. They are others out there who love you, and are going through the same thing, too. And with each other, we are making it through.
I have not only been blessed with the sisters my parents gave me. I have also been gifted by sisters who were born to different parents, but I found later in life. As I plowed through my education and started a career as a young professional, I found sisters who were going through similar issues and who could relate to the stress of the working world and still have fun with me on the weekends. These friendships that have blossomed into sisterhood have been absolutely invaluable. I needed them to navigate through this hectic adult world and process through all the good and bad decisions I was making with my life.
One of the sisters that I have gifted with in my adulthood is Ed. We met through a mutual sister and begin connecting more and more on our journey for spirituality. I have been so blessed to have found someone who I can process through the questions, curiosities, doubts and strengths of my spirituality. He has been there when I needed to make sense of certain moments and occurrences and helps me sort out what God, the universe and my soul are trying teach me in difficult moments.
He has also been there to help me not take it all seriously. If there is anything we have discovered on the journey is that it has to stay funnnnn. If I ever start getting too full of myself and start spiraling into a vortex of “whys,” he knows exactly what to say to pull me out and get me to see the bigger picture.
I will never underestimate the value of sisterhood. I know these bonds are something that will be necessary through the remainder of my life and I am truly thankful for all of my sister. They are a gift and my mom was definitely right, I have needed them and they have always been there.
In love and sisterhood,
Proverbs 7: 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend.
Females have always been an important part of the journey.
When I was in eleventh grade, I had a best friend by the name of Janet who I met in fifth period typing class. She was fun and silly and knew all the best ways to fold paper into those tiny cute envelopes – I fell in love with her instantly! Throughout the day, we’d K.I.T by writing notes to one another during the day and exchange them before the typing fest began. We became one unit in typing class, but then separated due to our voices rivaling the constant click clacking of the home keys.
People enter into our lives for a reason.
At the time, Janet was dating a guy who became her first; my purpose was to fill in all the details of the male anatomy. “Why did it do this? and Why did it look like that?” Those were often the questions asked when I’d feverishly read her notes secretly behind the typewriter screen. On one occasion, I had written a descriptive anatomy lesson explaining what wet dreams were all about. I was conscious of the fact that maybe someone might intercept the letter so I decided to use the acronym W.D. Ms. Turner, our typing teacher, was well aware of our friendship and made sure that what we were typing was right out of the the book instead of what was going on in our head. While Janet read the letter with wide set eyes, Ms. Turner came from behind and confiscated it. As if that weren’t bad enough, she read it from beginning to end while wearing nothing but a poker face. From that point on, I had to endure Ms. Turner’s sarcastic questions of: “How are those W.Ds going Mr. Martinez?” or, “you know those W.Ds Mr. Martinez!” When I look back, I didn’t realize how wildly inappropriate that was of her, but then again, that’s what makes the story memorable.
Not surprisingly, Janet became pregnant. Our fun silly notes that ended with a big S with the words _orry _o _loppy attached to it were no longer lite and airy but deep and scary. It was a subject neither of us could handle between the blue and white of college ruled paper. Janet wanted to secretly abort the pregnancy without her parent’s knowledge.
One of the many things we shared at the time was our devotion to God. She was a practicing Protestant and I was a practicing Catholic. We’d often write about what we did during the weekend which included many details about church activities. Although we both knew her decision was not in line with our beliefs, we also knew it was a desperate time. When I told my mom about it, she suggested we call a friend who was involved in crisis pregnancy intervention (Angelina, you experience this everyday huh?).
A couple of days later, Janet shared with me that her parents received an anonymous phone call from another “Christian” woman. She was surprised by her parents reaction of love and understanding. It was decided that she would keep the baby but would have to fulfill the rest of the year at the continuation school. After she left, we no longer kept in touch.
In 2004, while working my way through my last year of college I noticed a familiar face among the click clacking of the registers – it was Janet. Fourteen years had passed since we last heard or seen from one another. Right before we said our good-byes, she called her eldest daughter over and introduced us. With a smile on her face which hid the secret truth only her and I understood, she introduced me as her best friend from high school.
The way of writing notes may have changed, but sisters are forever!
Angelina and I continue the tradition of writing notes long into our adult lives. With the help of technology, we are able to communicate with one another via text messages and emails – during work hours of course – with the silliest as well as the not so silly. This time around, instead of writing about the birds and the bees, we text each about life in general. Sometimes, she’ll send me a GIF of Beyonce strutting down a runway with a caption that reads, “this is me at work today.” Othertimes, it’s a picture of Lindsey Lohan’s latest mug shot that says, “this is how I feel today.”
As Angelina and I experience our budding spiritual lives together, it won’t be as dramatic as it was in high school, but at least we now have the power to shift the outcomes.
Love and Sisterhood,