Alright to be a Sister Now?
Once upon a time a very long time ago, or long enough ago, I was born. This was before birth control, women’s sportswear, or anyone used fitness in the same sentence as women. My mother that year was given a bonus. I guess the hospital was giving any woman who had three children in five years a fourth child as a surprise gift. They do this with cosmetics today.
My eldest sister renamed her twin sisters after her paper dolls. My brother, quickly decided, at age 3, that there was no justice in having three sisters. He checked us out, rubbing his hand over his crew cut hair, and considered a solution. Justice was his thing, so he determined that the bald infant must be in fact a boy. He announced his decision and claimed me as his brother.
It did not take me long to catch on that being a boy was much more fun. My brother taught me to climb trees, ride a bike and to fish. My mother was very invested in the idea that twins should match. Free bonus children must have been selected at random. I did not match anyone. Mother insisted that we dress alike and as girls. She did keep the paper doll names. Those dresses were problematic for climbing trees, riding bikes and fishing. At 3, I slipped into a lake fishing with my brother wearing strapless patent leather shoes. My brother pulled me out by now plentiful hair. The shoes did not make it.
At 5, following my brother’s example, I learned to swim. Our teacher thought that both of us were pretty good and suggested a team or group to develop both of our skills.
“Well, honey,” said my mother, “do you want to be on a team or would you rather have fun swimming? I hope you will not tell your sister about this as she might feel bad. Could you pretend you don’t know how to swim?’”
My brother went on to be a competitive swimmer. I, however, still benefitted with my 5-year-old skills. I sucked at any ball related sport in high school so I continually signed up for swimming. I had a lot of days with wet hair in my St. Louis high school, but I passed P.E.
By high school, I was clearly female and we had a role model, Twiggy. She was not what one would call fit. Anorexic was a better description. That trend has not stopped today, with the exception that young anorexic stars do judo kicks and take out big guys with their spindle like legs.
Today we do not only have birth control, sportswear and descriptions like a “fit women,” we are allowed to fully compete in the Olympics.
Did you see those amazing women steal the show? Given a chance finally, they showed up the guys. Still sports television is less than 10 percent women’s sports. Is this because men are not interested in amazing and beautiful women swimming, jumping and running? I just don’t believe that.
Today, I still swim and I am excited and honored to think that I use a pool where two Laguna women, sisters Makenzie and Aria Fischer, practiced water polo before taking the gold!
My justice focused brother is now a retired Missouri state senator. He sent me a You-tube video of him giving a speech on the Missouri capitol steps.
“If you don’t think women will have a choice, you have not grown up in a house with four women.”
He made this speech in front of the rotunda that holds a bust of Rush Limbaugh, a native son.
Have you heard that along with the many professions that were barred to women when I was young, that now a woman can run for president? Who know’s what is next, equal rights?
My brother was a delegate for Hillary. He clearly decided me being a sister was acceptable. He and many others worked on it for over 50 years.
Susan Jacob is a psychotherapist who has lived in Laguna Beach for 20 years.