Memoir Poem : To my true nemesis friend, my Sister, who carried the weight between love and hate

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My sister was my bully once upon a long time ago

She hated me for existing and for being pampered

But I was the designated baby

So leave me alone!

Stop commanding me to pray before I eat

The food that you made for our family

It’s not my fault that you were born before me

You were the second born not the first

Like an asian daughter curse malady.

You had to cook and clean and it made you so mean to me

I was the mahng neh, the youngest *egg-y of our migrant clan.

You couldn’t accept or understand me

You criticized how I ran or sniffed or breathed

You couldn’t stand to take care of me

You made me cry waterfalls everyday with gross snot running

You made my dimpled smile crumple down in a frown

You terrorized me with hellfire religion like a sadistic clown

You spied on me under my door with a mirror on the floor

You made me triple lock the windows and doors

Because of Ted Bundy but he was already locked up

But then again he did escape Colorado and raced through Florida moors

To savage and ravage with kill thrill gore galore.

You made me paranoid of every known disaster.

“Hide the knives and scissors quickly!”

Father’s raging at Mother again and it’s DEFCON four

Listen at the door to the screams and struggle

Our childhood hearts are pounding with adrenaline

Our nimble hands are searching through dark drawers

To hide any shining sharp metal edges

This was our life for 20 years or so

We were tiny: detectives, spies, referees, nurses and hostages

We were latch key children who fended for ourselves against any monsters

Keep quiet and don’t break anything unless you want a beating

I was never really beaten I just had to watch and feel forever guilty

Survivor’s guilt lives and breathes in me even to this day.

Play monopoly, clue and sorry! with an exclamation point

Ride the bike to the comic book store that had a pedophile corner of porn

I couldn’t bike so I got a free ride on the back of my sister’s

Blood sweat and a faucet of tears, she carried more of the burden

She was my nanny, my cook, my governess-like torturer

She resented my undeserved privilege

She was the baby before I ruined it

I stole her princess crown and ate all the chocolate

Mom stashed a whole bag of snickers in my closet

“Don’t show to sister,” she smiled with a loving whisper

But Sister was always sneaking every chance she’d get

She rummaged through my closet and yelled,

“You, sneaky thief! I’m telling Mom!”

“Mom’s the one who gave it to me!” I retorted.

“You’re lying! Wait til I tell Mother! You’re in deep trouble!”

I lived my childhood years curled up into a ball

Like a Rolly Polly hedgehog in a fetal position

With salty pillow puff eyes drenched in suffering.

I love you, Sister despite our falling

You’ve apologized a thousand times too many

And I throughly believe you

There’s nothing to forgive anymore.

We both did what we needed to, to live

Our bittersweet lives were part of our calling

Fate brought us together to fight and survive

And by grace we made it out alive.

*(Egg-y means Baby in Korean)

25 Comments

  1. Hahaha… This poem brought back so many past memories. Thanks for writing! I’m the youngest too and survived sibling rivalry, jealousy and wrath. Sometimes, I felt sorry that my mom made my sis the nanny, cook, cleaner and governess. When my mom was much younger, she had nasty temper so used to take it out on poor sis. My mom doted on me hence it contributed to my sis’s resentment. Do you believe in astrological compatibility? Turned out that my sis picked the wrong date to be born and vice versa for me. I strongly advice all parents to pick good dates for the birth of their future children.

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    1. I didn’t expect laughter from this post, my goodness, I guess there’s a humorous interpretation to everything? My sister was actually more astrologically compatible with our mom, they were the same sign born in the same month and very much alike in personality. In our case, traditional Asian sibling roles was strongly based on birth order. The oldest female was the designated domestic helper, the oldest male was the one to care of the parents until they passed away. The youngest of either gender was pampered. Your poor sister, I hope she’s happy now after all the hard work!

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      1. Sorry if my laughter sounded offensive or insensitive. Life’s irony is humorous to me. I’ve got joker’s disorder. Situation got better for poor sis. The biggest blow for her though was after the death of my second bro. We have two spoiled bros. My second bro passed away not long after getting evicted from her apartment. She tried helping second bro get over his gambling addiction by selling her apartment so that he would be on his two feet again. Somehow that backfired and he died. Too bad she did not have the wisdom then to seek the help of a professionally trained psychologist to deal with my bro’s problem. My father still refuses to forgive her.

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      2. It’s ok, it took me by surprise but I laugh sometimes at dark tragedies, nervous laughter/comic relief. Your sister had unlucky karma? It sounds like she was a codependent/caretaker. Shouldn’t your dad be upset with your brother who gambled, not with your sister for finally having boundaries? (just my opinion). Families sometimes are so dysfunctional.

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    1. There have been studies of the impact of birth order, very interesting how it effects our personality, based on how we’re treated. I actually feel guilty for having been pampered, I have a lot of survivors guilt about not being beaten up the way my siblings were, but it made me have great admiration for what they endured and that they forgave our parents, (they’re Christians). I’m the self-admitted jerk, who forgave but never forgot. Thanks for your comment, Jeff.

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    1. Thank you, Sylvester❤️, your support means a lot to me! My relationship with my sister is pretty good. She was my torturer during childhood but after I left home after college, I didn’t speak to my family for awhile. I the first person I contacted was my sister of all people! I always loved her and she loved me even despite being a bully. I knew why she was mean to me the whole time and I felt sorry for her because she suffered so much. It’s hard to hate someone who is obviously in pain. She almost had her cool side, was very funny and creative, she did her best within impossible circumstances. I admire that about her. The pain is still inside me, that why I write about it, even if it’s repetitive, it’s part of my way of understanding/healing. So many people remain toxic, she changed. Actually my whole family changed, even our father, the main culprit! I’m proud of all of them.❤️

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      1. You’re welcome, Judy and glad to hear ❤ I'm glad you have a good relationship with her to whatever degree. You not only just survived tumultuous circumstances but the way you are processing and dealing with your pain is really inspiring. It is wonderful that your family changed ❤

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      2. You’re so kind, Sylvester❤️, I sometimes think I should process quicker! but I’m trying, baby steps and leaps too. My family is old school epic, from intense pride and violence to humble peacefulness; they’re my heroes in many ways, (hard to explain). I feel like they changed, but I didn’t. We can only do our best and trust in goodness to win.❤️

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      3. I know you are doing your best in your way. That is the most important thing. I hope that you and your family are blessed with more humble peacefulness in these times. Trusting in goodness is definitely a good direction to go in. ❤

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    1. Thank you, Sue. I’m glad too, she was a kid/teenager when she bullied me, but we also had funny times together too. She used to imitate Elvis! Now she pampers me. She’s amazing in many ways.

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    1. We used to watch Elvis musicals when we were kids. She tried to imitate both vocals and dance, she’d put on sunglasses and do fake karate kicks, like he did in his Vegas shows 😀, once she did the impression and kicked (while she was pregnant) and she fell down! She got right back up laughing. She was an extrovert and got in trouble for being loud (by our dad), but it didn’t stop her sense of humor.

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