Sisters 2006 someone I had known at school proposed a reunion. I had found Catherine through Friends Reunited, and said I might go. Oh, by the way, I have made a few changes in my life-

The news raced up the loch 24 miles to Inveraray. I had left Argyll in 1988, and only returned once after that, seeing almost no-one; but this was the most shocking gossip available. It reached the ears of my sister’s motherinlaw. Inez phoned my sister, my sister phoned my father, and my father phoned me to pass on the message that if I attended the reunion my sister would never speak to me again.

Well, a 600 mile round trip is a long way for a weekend, and I had something else to do then. I understand not many people went, and it was not a success. Catherine heard of my changes and had no bigoted reaction; why should it matter to Inez? Why should my sister support her mother in law and not me?

This year we have spoken on the phone once, when she called me about raising court action. I have called a couple of times, and got the answering machine. When we speak, we are polite, even friendly, and she has put me up in Edinburgh when I visit to see my father. We fought as children, of course, but we have that childhood in common-

I suppose I have sort of accepted it. That is good, right- Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance, the end of the sequence? At the time, I was moving from Oldham to Newport because the local kids were scratching my car- every panel of it- and because the funders of my job role refused to make a decision on it, carrying on funding month to month (it has since ceased).

I don’t think I have done the anger stage properly. It was just one more ghastly thing to sort of live with. So I sort of lived with it, and if I get the thought out now- for example with T, driving home from Meeting this morning- I still have distress. And I feel that there could be a relationship, me and my sister, we are both reasonable adults, we have this blood tie, we could have a relationship, loyalty, love, telling each other things, relying or confiding or joking or-

I don’t know how to achieve that. And there are things she may resent, separately from my transition- her discomfort with my transition just made it all more poisonous and intractable. This possibility I would like, and I have not a clue how to achieve it.

I will see her at my father’s funeral, if I hear about it in time to go.


4 thoughts on “Sisters

  1. My dear Clare

    Thanks for your post. I am wary of offering suggestions this morning, since you know. And somehow, sometimes, I feel that we compromise too far when we try to meet up again, when we want to patch up old wounds. There is no point in agreeing, for example, to go back to the way you were – you are not fourteen any more;and more importantly, you were never You, just a sort of facsimile copy that made do. That endless agreeableness can be slightly poisonous now, especailly as you are making such progress with acceptance.

    Progress is not linear, you know. We make strides forward one day, (“acceptance”, for example) and yet, the next day we feel anger. Partly this is the endless argument we are having with our old selves, who are trying to persuage us that our changes are too much hard work, too threatening to the established order (“See, how unhappy you are? How hard this is? You are better just to forget it…” ) and partly, this is the process of physical release. The hand of friendship and acceptance often touches uglier things, that come to the surface.

    And so it might be with your sister, which is why I hesitate. You see, I see nothing wrong in you whatsoever. Rather like the soclal model of disability, it is the circumstances of your choices here, not you, that are the issue. If you enter into a new relationship now, I hope you can see the wisdom of doing so lightly, and in a way that does not haul you back to the need for approval. If being yourself means being alone, maybe that is better than being with others who only want to see you as they think you ought to be. Especially when they have never even glimpsed beautiful You.

    Take some hugs from me, and lots of love.

    Ann xx 🙂


    • Even had my transition been ridiculous, shameful and disgusting, it was no reflection on Inez. My lack of shame at it (enough, at any rate, to transition) did not reflect on her either.

      I have not done the anger properly. My father’s “try to see it from her point of view” stuck, and I did. And- Inez was a mean-spirited, selfish, bigoted bitch and my sister should not have condoned her. We both have things to resent in the other, and I resent that.

      What would I like from her? Acceptance and friendship would be nice. Do I need it from her? I had better not have to.


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