Having siblings is not easy. For one, they equally the most annoying, disgusting people ever, and also the people you would stick up for if anyone other than you insulted them. Also, there's always the question of who is better...obviously it's you. Anyway, the fact is, there is a relationship that we have with our siblings that isn't like any other. That doesn't always mean it's a good relationship or that you like your sibling, but hopefully it is and you love them even when you want to punch them.
Having 'half siblings' is much the same if they are in your life. If you don't know what a half sibling is, it is a sister or brother that only shares one parent with you. Sometimes this means you'll look much different and might have different surnames. As complicated as family is, having half siblings only makes it harder. It's in the way some parents will use it as an excuse to keep you apart. Or, the feeling that even though you have them, they aren't all yours. And that is a hard concept for kids--especially younger ones, to understand.
Growing up with 6 siblings, all half, I learned all of those things. I felt what it was like to not quite fit and not understand why. But I also got to have these people who were my siblings and who I knew I would love, even though they were annoying little kids. I had a strong bond with most of them in the knowledge that we knew we were siblings even though we weren't all the same. And because I had that experience, I learned a lot of important things that I know have benefited me as I form new relationships and maybe have children of my own some day.
One of the most essential things is to know that it isn't your fault if you don't see them. For a long time, I felt as though I was the reason I wasn't with them. I wasn't trying hard enough. I was messing up plans. I wasn't giving the adults what they asked of me. Now I know that wasn't true, I was giving everything I could. But as a little kid myself, I didn't see it that way. All I knew was that I couldn't see the people who meant the most to me, and there were those who were telling me it was my fault.
Being older now and in a much different situation, I can see that it wasn't my fault. It couldn't have been. And before someone thinks to themselves "yea, but it IS my fault, our situations are different" ask yourself this question: if it were totally up to you, would you be with your siblings? And then remember that it wasn't totally up to you because you weren't the adult, you were as helpless as the other kids. Until all of you are 18, there will always be some things that aren't up to you when it comes to half siblings.
Identity confusion is also something that usually comes with having half siblings. From a young age, we learn that parents get together and have babies. However, we don't talk about what happens when they have babies with other people. What happens is that those babies grow up and ask "why?" They want to know why their sisters and brothers don't have the same last name or the same skin color. They are confused because their siblings have family that isn't theirs, too, and why they might not be with each other on some holidays or occasions. This is a confusing thing, and no one prepares kids for it. While there are some parents that may talk with kids about it, it isn't always easy to notice.
For one of my siblings, it was in the way she looked at her surname. She didn't like that it was different than everyone else's and wanted to change it. She would cry every time someone even brought it up, and it made her feel like she wasn't part of the sibling group. Similarly, I was also given a different surname as well, but I never minded as much. Instead, it was the fact that none of my siblings looked like me. When we were alone, none of us cared. We would find matching outfits and say we were twins when we played house. But because I looked so different, people would always ask if I was adopted and tell me that they couldn't be my siblings because they didn't look anything like me.
Of course we would always set people straight, but as we got older, it wasn't as easy to brush it off. We wanted to be like normal siblings and we weren't. We would always have to worry about people judging us. There was a tension in the dynamic that we had. The insecurities and hurts that we all had would inevitably find the way into many of our fights. There was also unintentional resentment that I know we all felt at some point because there seemed to be no other way to get out those feelings.
On the other hand, if half siblings don't don't live together but still see each other frequently, they can show one another different things. Some may be immersed in different cultures and they can teach their sibling about the things that are important to them. This not only gives each an awareness of others who aren't like them, it also provides a bonding experience for the kids who can't always be together. It also teaches kids to hold on to the important things. Albeit, it isn't the best way, it can still show the kids that there is always someone out there who cares about them and understands them in that way even if they aren't together all of the time.
I will never say that having half siblings is easy or that it is preferable. It isn't. What I will say is that it is something that has made me who I am. It has taught me how fragile yet strong a relationship can be. Sadly, it has also shown me that sometimes, no matter how much you love someone, sometimes the best thing for you or them is if you let them go for a while. But the most notable thing for me is that family isn't always the people that look like you or share your last name. It's the people who are there for you no matter what; those who push you to be the best, most successful version of you.
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