Or I Could Just Say Nothing

My sister has the final say. Younger than me by only 13 months, she is the person who the entire family pivots around. Poised, confident, forceful. She is the daughter my mother wishes I was more like.

No matter I’m the (career-wise) more successful sister. No matter I’m the more caring, more bending, more accommodating sister. I’m always on a back foot to the more outwardly proper sister who exudes filial piety while stabbing siblings in the back to prove it. My brother, less than three years younger than me, is much more diplomatic to her face than I ever could be. But the sentiments are shared.

I finally said something to my mother, pre-Purim, about the hypocrisy. I try hard to be respectful. I try hard to be warm even though it’s just not on her agenda. Everything is a competition. Babies born months apart are a particular attention, and what mine can or cannot do is a focal point for her superiority.

I’m wrong, obviously, for saying I no longer care. I’m wrong for saying things that in my mind form a reality that’s very different from theirs. I wasn’t particularly mature about the delivery, I know. But I’m so tired. I’m exhausted from the constant weight of disappointment and comparison. Saying I’m done with this stupidity is akin to quitting the family. My mother’s guilt and sadness act is weighing heavily – it’s the same one she played when my sister actively excluded me from a family simcha… except it all went off without a hitch and without my brother (in protest, geographically) or I present.

No long-term consequences for the Teflon girl. No acknowledgement in action for the oldest sister, even when she tries her damn hardest.

Or I could just say nothing.


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