I am 12 years younger than my oldest sister.
She is the boss, and my commander-in-chief.
When she talks, I listen and I do what she says.
I do this because:
1. She will never leave me alone if I don’t do it.
2. She is wise, even if it kills me a little to write that.
3. She cares about me. She really does.
I have been thinking lately that we all need one person who we listen to.
A person who we know, trust that they love us, so that when they speak, we just do.
We do what they say, because they told us to, and that is enough.
I gave the girls in Juvie a writing exercise.
“I am not reading what I wrote out loud,” she says.
“You don’t have to,” I say.
“You can’t make me,” she adds.
“Have I ever made you do anything?” I ask.
“Nobody tells me what to do,” she says.
“Really?” I ask.
I look at this child. She is petite and beautiful with large brown eyes.
I am sure she has been told many times what to do.
I have heard horrible things were done to her.
There is no doubt in my mind that no one ever asked her anything.
They just did to her, took from her and used her.
No one gets as tough as she is without being violated.
Every session she fights me.
She tells me what she will not do.
What I can’t tell her to do, but, in the end, she does everything I ask her.
She starts by sitting apart from the group and slowly always joins.
I give her freedom to be, to come to me.
In this difficult lock up situation, I want her to have a choice.
I know if I leave her be, she will come around, and then she will do.
And, she always does.
My sister doesn’t leave me alone.
There is a time difference between us.
If she told me something in the AM,
The follow up will come when I am going to sleep, or the opposite.
“Did you do what I said?” she texts me.
It is actually a little funny sometimes.
“You always want me to do things I don’t want to do, Ms.,” this young girl says.
“Well, sometimes you need someone to push you out of your comfort zone,“ I say.
She looks at me.
“You are so talented I want the other girls to hear what you wrote.
I want you to act out situations. I want you to be here with us and participate.”
“Why do you want that, Ms.? Why are you pushing me?”
“Sweetheart, I want you close and not far,” I say.
“Fuck!” she says.
“You are good, so good,” I say.
“No, I am not,” she says.
“I am telling you, you are,” I say softly.
She looks down.
I wonder has anyone ever given her words of praise, or words of love?
Has she been given choices in her life?
Before her freedom was taken away, did she have freedom?
I think I am lucky to have the freedom to do what my sister tells me.
As bizarre as that may sound.
I can be the little sister.
I can be told.
I can do.
This kid can’t be told anything.
She can’t surrender, and she can’t give in.
“Would you prefer I don’t ask you things?
Would you prefer that I just let you sit here?” I ask.
“I’ll write,” she says.
I ask them today to write about beauty.
What does beauty mean to you?
She writes and walks over to me.
“Don’t ask me to read. You read it. Okay?”
Beauty has no meaning, no definition.
But to me, beauty can be anyone with
A live spirit or anything with a positive
Demeanor or aura
I can’t believe she wrote this and her choice of words!
Oh, my goodness, words that I don’t even know how to spell.
Everyone is listening. I continue to read. She moves her chair closer to the circle.
I am beautiful, not because of how I look, but,
Because even though people do me wrong,
I still have kindness not to hurt them back.
I forgive those who did me wrong.
Those who demanded and did not hear me.
Those who did not see me.
Those who didn’t ask me, but always told me.
There is beauty in my distance and in my newfound resistance.
My eyes are wet. I have learned and I know, that the ones who put up the fierce fight will always amaze me.
Her newfound resistance.
I am the place she can resist.
This makes me happy.
We continue to read about beauty.
We read poems and I look at this girl.
Such a wise young girl.
The class is over. The other girls leave.
“You know,” I say.
“I will never make you do something you don’t want to.”
“I know,” she says.
“You can say ‘no’ whenever you want.”
“I know,” she says.
I stop and look at her.
“You can also choose to say ‘yes’.”
And she laughs a deep but yet light laugh.
“I know that, too.”
“Is that funny?” I ask.
“Yes,” and she laughs again.
“I am happy you are here,” I say.
“I know that, too.”
She leans over and gives me an unexpected hug, says ‘bye and leaves.
I watch her and think.
We need the safety and love of someone in life to be able to just do what they say. We also need the love of someone in life so we can simply say ‘no’ and not do what they say, and not have any consequences.
In order to do, sometimes we need someone there to tell us.
And sometimes, to let us just not do.
Basically, that is what unconditional love is about.
When I get home, I do what my sister told me to do, and I text her that it is done.