I want you to meet my sister. She’s two years younger than me, and the best sister in the universe. We look nothing alike: she has straight brown hair and dark almond-shaped eyes. Her feet point slightly inward. She’s really beautiful. She loves baking, bootcamp and traveling-for-the-sake-of-traveling. She smiles a lot.
When my sister comes home from work, she fills the room with laughter and cheerful humming. She cooks and dances to her favourite music at the same time. She calls her friend with whom she’ll go for drinks later. As I watch her from the couch, feeling sad and tired, I wonder how she does it. How does she come home after a day of work and have energy to dance, cook and then go for drinks? How does she move so lightly? How come her life seems to require so little effort? My current mood is not that bad, but being around my sister I realise how painfully low my ‘not-that-bad’ mood actually is. Watching her is an alienating experience, like watching a world that I didn’t even know existed.
My sister and I grew up in the same house. We have the same mother and the same father. We went to the same primary school and the same secondary school. We both have a big nose, we both wore dental braces when we were young, and we both sounded like guinea pigs when we laughed (which we then laughed about even more). So here’s the million dollar question: why does my sister dance-cook while I haven’t been able to cook myself a proper meal in months?
And here’s the answer: I was unlucky. A family friend decided to abuse me, not my sister. From the age of twelve, I lived with secrets, guilt, pain and shame. Yet I find it difficult to accept that V, the family friend, my friend and my abuser, caused all of this gloom. I mean, aren’t we all unlucky sometimes? My sister had her moments of bad luck, too. She had to repeat a year in school, and she was faced with an anorexic sister. Yet she turned out just fine, while I allowed myself to become miserable. It’s hard to believe that I might have been happy, if only I had not been abused. Who knows, I would probably have found myself another lousy excuse for a hardship to dwell on.
I wake up early next morning from yet another PTSD nightmare, and hear my sister giggling and whispering sweet goodbyes to her boyfriend. I feel immensely sad for all the things I do not have. I also feel eternally grateful that my sister was never abused. If only one of us could be lucky, I’m so glad it was her.
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