My sister wrote a memoir and it was published in November of 2009. She put her real name on the cover and my real name and the real names of my mom and dad in the book. To say the least, it has fragmented our family. The story of how we (my sister and I) got to this post-it note today is long.
I think it starts with me not calling her right after I read her book and apologizing for my actions that led to her oh-so-difficult life, because ... hey ... my life hasn't been a cake walk and no one is reaching out to apologize to me, mainly because I'm taking responsibility for my life and my choices.
But my sister wrote about people we went to high school with and she changed the names; ya know, Brook became Becky and that sort of thing. And apparently, those ladies have called my sister after reading the book and they have apologized for their actions that led to her oh-so-difficult life. Good for them.
I didn't. Because I was, honestly, too shocked at the crap in the book about me. She made me and my mom and dad look small, weak, and sheep-like. She made terrible fun of us and she was most hard on my mom. Poor thing. And I mean that.
My dad and I did not call and apologize. I don't feel like I need to. I have enough crap in my life to handle without apologizing for someone else's crap. Any who.
The results ....
My sister sent my dad and email and "relieved him of his parental obligation." She told him she didn't need a father anymore and she never wanted to hear from him again.
But I had spent the time between November 2009 and this last April 2011 just sort of humming along. I talked to my sister less, I texted her less and I stopped commenting on anything she wrote on Facebook about her book. In fact, when her book first came out, I got some gnarly private messages from people, so I dropped off the FB for a few months.
I suppose, I could have called my sister and said some things, things like "I am deeply hurt by the book and the lies about me in the book and I don't think I can ever forgive you for writing it, much less printing it with my real name in it. And most importantly, I will never be able to forget that the book is out there and that you thought so little of me that you wrote about me like I was less than....And so our relationship is forever changed."
I didn't say that. I didn't say anything.
And it affected us.
So in April of this year, my sister sent me a private message on Facebook. Among the highlights, she and her family decided not to come to my wedding. But the best part - the part that pissed me off:
I have come to a point in my life where I am going to be selfish--I have to be--I think you can understand that better than anyone. Selfish isn't necessarily a bad thing--it just means that when I am hurt, I am going to voice it; I am not going to make something a priority when it will end up having a negative impact on my life; and I can no longer be the one who gives and doesn't get an equal amount back.
I hope you can understand this message. I am not trying to hurt you back--I love you very much and I would never want to do that. All that I ask is that you not send me a flaming message back...please take the time to think about what I have said and look at this from my point of view.
Really? She wrote a book and published it! I'm pretty sure I've read her point of view.
So after some thinking, I unfriended her on Facebook. Not terribly cool, I know, but I didn't feel comfortable with her reading my posts anymore. In turn, she blocked My Baby B and I.
And then I wrote about 10 letters back to her. The last of which I sent home with my mom, when she flew back to my sister's house from the wedding. My final letter was about five pages long, in it I said:
My initial reaction to your message on FB was to not reply at all ever. It was actually this line right here: “please take the time to think about what I have said and look at this from my point of view” that turned me off entirely. As I see it, the book you published was your point of view, and in all honesty, I’m quite sick of your point of view and how it has affected my life. The purpose of this long letter is to tell you how I feel and to let you know if we are to ever try to act like sisters, there is a lot that has to change.
While I never told you outright, I have had great difficultly talking to you, seeing you and interacting with you since the book came out. It has caused enough emotional upset for me that I don’t think I can move to a place in my life where I won’t feel upset about the book and won’t feel upset at you for so carelessly publishing it. Our relationship is broken and there are aspects of it that will never be fixed, because I won’t ever be able to forget the things you wrote.
I don’t understand why you had to greatly embellish the truth to make yourself look better than everyone else. Your “epilogue” that you wanted everyone to read, saying that that would make everyone feel better about your book: Did you actually read your epilogue? Your epilogue painted your family as Mormon brainwashed idiots who followed your greatness out of the Mormon church.
I know, right? I'm getting a little more sarcastic here, but finally I try to end with ...
If we are ever to have a relationship, you will have to take full responsibility for your part in damaging it. You will have to accept that I will not ever fully forget what you have written and that the memoir has forever tainted our relationship. You will need to stop asking me to see things from your point of view and understand that I read your point of view and I have my own point of view, which deserves just as much credibility, despite that it was never printed or published.
So there was roughly three months between her message to me and my reply and I guess, now I'm printing my point of view now.
Today in the mail, roughly two months since I sent my letter home to her, I received a package. In it were two books I had loaned my sister and my letter with her post-it on the front. And that, my dear readers and friends, is the most hypocritical thing I've ever witnessed/read/seen. And I was married to a hypocritical man, so that's saying a whole hell of a lot.
I address my feelings, I answer my sister's message when she wrote "all that I ask is that you not send me a flaming message back...please take the time to think about what I have said." I didn't send a flaming message and I took some time to think about it and what does she say...."fuck you!"
And so that is that. I don't have any qualms now writing about my problems with her book and I will no longer hold down my own voice about this.
We will never mend this and I'll spend the rest of my life sister-less, but it's better this way. There is truly now NOTHING that can be said that will EVER change anything.