Well! A hitch in the plan for daily posts! I spent the night at my friends’ place last night, and they have no internet. Freebie for me! 😉
So, I’m part of a ladies’ journaling group (in the US), and we’ve been trying to get moving regularly on the prompts of Sophie Isobel Asher, an artist and writer based in Mildura, Victoria (Australia). I haven’t done a single one yet. Isn’t that just the best? I’m such a good participator! I suppose I have to forgive myself since the journaling group took off basically as soon as all the wedding and moving-across-the-world-to-Asia-on-my-own madness began, but jeesh, it wouldn’t kill me to write 500 words on something specific at some point during a two week period. Anyways, here’s my first attempt, and I’ll be using the following prompt (one of this week’s set of daily prompts from Sophie):
I Remember: This is an opportunity to capture moments of childhood joy. A favourite celebration, holiday or sweet memory. Notice where your mind wanders to, what fills you with happiness.
I chose this prompt specifically because it’s about childhood, and my childhood has been on my mind ever since my little sister’s wedding last weekend. I got to relive it all again last night when I was at my friends’ place; Mbak N., a relatively-newlywed herself, asked me all sorts of questions about what weddings are like in America. Most of what I told her about she had seen/heard in movies, but it was nice to share with her about the little details and shock her with the fact that I had done the officiating myself!
The wedding day stirred up so many feelings for me about my younger sister. It was so magical to see her to happy and to watch her feel the love we all have for her; sometimes, I think, she doesn’t feel it, even though it’s always there… she seems to have a hard time, as we all do now and then, with the self-care and self-love stuff, and witnessing her experience and internalize the immense love and joy of her wedding day—the love and joy that came from within her and that which she received from everyone around her—was nothing short of magical. I have said repeatedly since the wedding day that it was the best day of my life, and that’s no lie. I have such strong love for baby sis, and seeing her showered with love was just tops. If I were ever to have a wedding, it’d have to be pretty phenomenal to top the emotional payoff I received from witnessing and participating in my sister’s.
I had a hard time thinking about what I’d say during my toast at the reception and wanted to freestyle it so that what came out of my mouth would be genuine. But I think what ended up happening was that I had too many emotions and thoughts in my head, and I didn’t necessarily feel satisfied with what I was able to say. I felt pressure from convention to remember specific childhood memories—funny stories, little anecdotes of interaction, specific moments and events in my sister’s life—but all I could think of in the days prior to the weddings were just impressions: details of how she looked or acted, memories of feelings I had about her when we were younger, little home-movies of unimportant incidents that replayed themselves in my head when I tried to remember something toast-worthy.
My sister had scraggly blonde hair as a kid and the most messed up teeth ever. She was as skinny as a twig and really quite a naughty young thing in her early years. At one point she had rose-pink, round plastic glasses with rose-tinted frames… they went really well with her bowl cut. We used to fight over who’d get to play certain levels of Mario World because the prizes were really great. I never wanted her to hang around me; the 5 year difference was quite enormous for us. I have distinct memories of our mother breastfeeding her when she was an infant—she always used a long pillow with a boxy black and white pattern. My sister always slept in my room on Christmas Eve, and it always irritated me (usually she’d wake me up with excitement even though I could have definitely kept sleeping). She had perfect babydoll skin and still does. Her teachers used to be mean to her. She and I used to trade Halloween candy, and I was usually able to trick her to get her best stuff. We only had one year together at the same school, when I was in 5th grade and she was in Kindergarten…I don’t remember what we did together that year, if anything, although I think we had daycare together (probably I avoided her). She used to do the “sway back” thing in her 2’s and 3’s and give my mom a hell of a time. She had Little Mermaid roller skates while I had mom’s old red-and-white ones. She also had a my-size Barbie of which I was secretly very jealous (mostly because I was too old/big to put on the my-size princess outfit). She was very lazy about doing her homework, but she was involved in Brownies and was very cute in her little uniform. Actually, she was a really cute child. We used to get in trouble for jumping on the big trampoline together instead of one at a time.
I could keep going, but what’s bugging me now is that most of my memories are of me not being a very good sister. Admittedly, my sister was a little maladjusted hellion. Sorry, sis, but you know it’s true! I don’t remember really feeling like we were friends until I went away to college… I’m sure it was a combination of me being older (and selfish) and her being younger (and naughty) that caused us to have so much friction. Whatever the case, she’s my best friend now. I suppose that’s all that matters, although I’m sure that my own assholiness towards her as a child contributed to her lack of self-esteem as a young person. But maybe I can tell myself that my love for her now is helping her work through those issues a little bit?
I guess I can’t fret and worry and guilt myself. I was a dumb kid, and I didn’t have a lot of examples of good-siblingship around me growing up (even among my aunts and uncles). What counts now is that she’s totally the best person ever, even though she still gets me really, really pissed sometimes (and I’m very confident I piss her off, too). I just love her. I guess the fact that she asked me to officiate her wedding shows that she doesn’t hate me that much for being such a shit to her when we were kids.
I have a hard time even thinking of a favorite memory of her, but I think it’s from our adulthood: whenever I make her laugh until she pees her pants. It has happened several times. I’m sure it will happen again. When we get together, it’s just so weird. We’re both so weird, and we’re the only ones who see this specific, super weird side of one another. I’m devolving now into territory not worth writing about, not only because I can’t explain it, but also because you just have to be one of us to get it.
Anyways. That’s all I have to say in response to the prompt. Now, my initial reflection on the prompt: I strayed, didn’t I? It wasn’t all happiness and joy. Not everyone has happiness and joy in their childhood. But what my heart is full of now (and was overflowing with last weekend at the wedding) was happiness and joy. During the toast, I kept repeating how happy I was—to the point where someone in the crowd made a comment about it! But I don’t care. I don’t need fancy language or a fancy adjective to express it. I just felt totally, wholly, completely, down-to-my-bones happy. And that’s what a wedding is supposed to make you feel, right?
I really hope she makes it to Indonesia soon. That would be so epic!! Sis?