Saturday, 30 June 2018

How the truth brought us closer together than ever

There are signs of her everywhere: the stripped sheets on the bathroom floor, waiting to be washed. The empty box of cinnamon buns, one of which we ate every morning as pre-breakfast. 
The bottle of 'Itch Relief Lotion' on the counter we used - unsuccessfully- on her 80+ mosquito bites 😩
Stepping outside, I inadvertently look at the Little House, expecting her to sit there with her morning cigarette - and the empty stoop leaves a hollow emptiness in my stomach. She's gone.

But then, a beautiful surprise: a blond chicken with a blond hairdo (looking very much like this one) is sitting on the back of 'her' chair, looking as much as my sister as a chicken possibly can. And it reminds me that she is still with me: in my heart, my memories, my photos, on the other side of the phone/computer - and reunited once again next year, when we embark upon our next sister trip. 
I dropped my sister off at the airport yesterday after spending 2 amazing weeks with her. While we did a ton of fun stuff - canoeing, ATVingfloating down the river on tubeswine tasting, lots of wine drinking, shopping, horseback riding, a birthday BBQ, etc. - the best part was how we talked, laughed, and connected.  
This vacation has brought us closer than we have ever been. And given our complicated history, this is something I'm extremely grateful for.

Our story isn't unique. We've experienced sibling rivalry, bickering, the typical older sister-being-annoyed-with-younger-sister issues like most siblings. Even our hardest time - when the man I was in love with chose my sister over me - is not an unusual story. It happens all the time, in many families, and is a story as old as humanity.
Of course, when it happens to you, it's anything but ordinary. At that moment, you feel like you're the only person in the world who has been treated that way. You feel alone, you're hurt, you can't quite believe that this is your life. Doesn't stuff like that happen to other people?
But life moves on, and you get over it. For me, that little episode of my life led to the biggest and best change ever: it made me find my way to Canada, to the land - and man - of my dreams.

My life was going great, my sister's life was going great, but one thing was left behind: our relationship. It had been badly damaged, and even after we slowly found our way back to each other, there was a distance. We were careful not to share the bad stuff. In our conversations, we laughed together, we shared and commiserated -  but the truly dark, murky, scary stuff stayed off the table. We wanted to make sure that the other knew that our decisions had been sound ones - any hint of a doubt had to stay out of our relationship.

Many years went by.

By now, we were both married for over a decade. Over many glasses of wine over the years, we had scratched at the surface of the truth, peeked in a little, but always retreated before it got too personal.

Until I wrote the book.
The book that had been gnawing at my insides for years, wanting to come out, wanting to spread the simple truth that we all are flawed, scared and confused, and that we still can - despite of that, because of that - lead beautiful, rich, exciting, full lives.
I knew I had to tell that story, because it simply wouldn't leave me alone (and drove me nuts, to tell the truth).
But my biggest worry was: how would my sister react?
When it comes to the top 3 people of my life, she's right up there.
The last thing I wanted to do was risk our fragile relationship.

So last year, during our Paris trip, I told her all about the book, the reason why I had to write it, and how happy I was about how everything had turned out for us. She gave me her blessing, and off I went, finishing the damn thing, and getting it published a year later.

It's a vulnerable process, sharing your story with the world. I've been doing it for the past 5 years on this blog, which means it's now second nature and quite comfortable to me. But I still worried how she would feel. So when she arrived here 2 weeks ago and started reading the book for real, I was a nervous wreck.
What happened next is why I've been so damn emotional over the last couple of weeks.

We found our way back to each other. 
Her reading my side of the story - a side that was largely unknown to her, because I suck at verbal communication and guarded my truth all these years - has finally opened up a real connection between us. I purposely don't say re-opened, because we've never had as real a connection as we do now.

We've been raised to keep secrets, to hide our true feelings behind a mask, to pretend to the world that everything is great, even if it isn't.
In my opinion, living a life of half-truths, white lies and secrets is a lonely life. It's not fulfilling, it doesn't truly connect you to others, and it ultimately leaves you wanting more. 
That's why I decided for myself a few years ago to tear down the walls I had built around myself, to wipe off the mask I had been hiding behind, and to show the world my real face, my real emotions, and all my strengths and weaknesses.

And now my sister has seen them, too.
And you know what?
We are closer than ever. 

It's the most liberating, fulfilling, life-enriching feeling I've ever experienced in my life. 
After hiding from my family for the past 38 years, the person whose opinion I value the most finally sees me - and still loves me.

Over the past 2 weeks, we have shared more about our true selves than we ever have before.
And even though all the adventures we had together were amazing - that was the best part of our time together for me.

Start sharing some truths of your own - you won't regret it!

xoxo Miriam

Share:

8 comments

  1. SOOOOO happy that you and your sister are connecting in an open, truthful way now! There is nothing like the bond we have as sisters (I have two of them, and they're my best friends!). Two quotes came to mind as I read your post, one from Little Women (LMA) and one from the Bible (God). "I could never love anyone as I love my sisters." and "The truth shall set you free."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both excellent quotes that speak a deep truth. But, omg, it took me a LOOOONG time to finally apply them to my life.
      But the wait has been worth it.

      Delete
  2. I love this for you! I love that she read your book; it was truly the best way you could share every bit of your true feelings about what happened without interruptions or having to stumble your way through explaining. So happy for you guys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was so scared of her reaction, even though she knew the gist of the story. It's quite different when you bare your soul on the page about something that involves both of you. But it was just the thing we needed to finally put this chapter of our past behind us once and for all!

      Delete
  3. This is so wonderful Miriam! I am so happy for you both :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm doing more and more of what you and Natalie are teaching about finding and owning your truth, about going with the flow and not hiding my personality and light any more. The results are beyond my wildest dreams!!!

      Delete
  4. This is pure, deep magic MIriam!! I am so unbelievably happy for both of you. The truth is a tough bitch to face, but oh how you have proved that it does set you free! Aaaaand, that it is so important for us to share our stories with each other, because it is in the brokenness + wounds that we truly meet. Love + glee to you!! xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why we are so afraid of the truth. Nothing is more exhausting and soul-destroying than hiding ourselves all the time. This is the best, most liberating feeling in the world!

      Delete

Thanks for commenting! I always reply to comments here, so check back in a day or two!

© Miriam Verheyden | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig