From Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I didn’t say anything when I was young about Dawn hitting me.
“Dawn? Do that? Nah. She’s smart and popular." I’d imagine them saying.
I’d look a around my life and see that my parents ignored it. If it ever did come up it was laughed off.
"These kids never get along," I remember my dad saying once.
Dawn was very smart, no question about it. She was top of her class each year and popular, too.
I was withdrawn, my shoulders were hunched up, and I was quiet and managed average marks in school. Today that might be a signal that’s there’s something wrong. Forty years ago sibling abuse didn’t happen.
I could have done better in school but I didn’t try. It’s a small Gr.1-12 school and we had many of the same teachers. I had an irrational fear of being compared to my sister. No teacher ever said it to me, but I still thought it.
The last thing I ever wanted was to be anything like her. So I was an average student, didn’t have many friends, and I was a tomboy. But more than anything I was a virtual non-entity.
Despite being social opposites, I’d go to family reunions and she’d stay home. Some family member would greet me by her name, as happens to everyone with a sibling, and I’d correct them.
"Oh, how is Dawn?"
So I’d say she’s okay and that would be it. Unless I asked, “How are you?” or something the conversation would end.
No “Oh, I’m sorry Leah. How are you?” or anything. No acknowledgement of my existence. Just a question about Dawn.
It wore me down. My parents ignored what was happening which made me feel like it didn’t matter. Outsiders mistook me for Dawn and then just wanted to know about her. I felt like a non-entity. I was sure I wasn’t Dawn, and I made sure I didn’t act like her, but beyond that, nothing.
Which brings me to my point: Why would anyone believe someone who doesn’t exist?
Some Useful Thoughts from Outside the Field
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