Why My Half-Sister Isn't My "Half-Sister"

My Half-Sister Isn’t My 'Half-Sister,' She's Just My Sister

And why it shouldn't matter.

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Growing up, I've had a lot of people tell me that my sister and I don't look alike, and others that say we definitely do, but mainly just in the eyes. My sister, who is 31, has three kids, and when most people who don't know my family usually ask me if they're my younger siblings. "No," I say, "they're my nieces and nephew." More often than not, people then ask me how old my sister is, and once I tell them, the usual response is, "Oh. Half-sisters?" "I mean, technically," is usually mine.

While the question within itself I understand, I would be lying if I said that it didn't hurt me to have to say yes. The thing is, she isn't my half-sister in any other way than blood. We grew up in rooms next to each other, she was there for all of my big moments, and I hers, even if I don't remember them. So, the reality for me is she is just simply my sister.

In most cases where people have asked if we are half-sisters, the conversation usually diverts back to my nieces and nephew. However, the worst cases are those in which people respond with, "Are you guys even really close?" "Isn't it hard having two different families?" and my personal favorite, "Oh, that must be interesting." And again, while it isn't their curiosity that gets to me, it's the tone in which they insinuate that having a half-sibling is less than a sibling you have a full blood relation to.

The thing I find most strange, is that half siblings are incredibly common in this day and age, so why are people so judgmental about it? Not only are everyone's situations different, but also just because someone doesn't have a 'normal' family in your eyes, doesn't give you the right to judge them.

So, I understand that everyone who grows up with half-siblings is going to have a different experience, and I know that it isn't up to anybody else to write rules for what a half-sibling has to be. But for all the people in the past few years that have asked me judgmental questions about my whole sister, here you go:

  • Yes, we are in fact very close. Not so much so when I was younger, because she was going to college when I was going to kindergarten, but since about 2010, my sister and I have become extremely close. She is one of the very first people I want to tell of my good news or bad news. I would classify her in the "best friend" category just as much as I would place her into a "sister" category.
  • This is something my sister and I have talked about a lot. Whenever we talk, we know "mom" is our mom and "my dad" is the person's dad. Our mom and our dads don't have an unfriendly relationship. We see each other at every birthday, every soccer game and every Christmas special. Her dad and stepmom even come to Butler games, and I go up and say hi!
  • It really isn't that interesting for us. It's about just as interesting as having a full-blooded sibling is, just with more people in the mix.
What I want to get across the most, is that having a half-sibling, even in situations when the siblings are as close, doesn't mean that they automatically have to be less related, just because they don't share blood from the same two parents. And while it isn't wrong for someone to be curious about the dynamics between two siblings of any relation, please don't make judgments about how siblings work, because odds are you won't be able to pinpoint exactly how they work.

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To The Dad Who Didn't Want Me, It's Mutual Now

Thank you for leaving me because I am happy.
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Thank you, for leaving me.

Thank you, for leaving me when I was little.

Thank you, for not putting me through the pain of watching you leave.

Thank you, for leaving me with the best mother a daughter could ask for.

I no longer resent you. I no longer feel anger towards you. I wondered for so long who I was. I thought that because I didn't know half of my blood that I was somehow missing something. I thought that who you were defined me. I was wrong. I am my own person. I am strong and capable and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

In my most vulnerable of times, I struggled with the fact that you didn't want me. You could have watched me grow into the person that I have become, but you didn't. You had a choice to be in my life. I thought that the fact that my own father didn't want me spoke to my own worth. I was wrong. I am so worthy. I am deserving, and you have nothing to do with that. So thank you for leaving me.

You have missed so much. From my first dance to my first day of college, and you'll continue to miss everything. You won't see me graduate, you won't walk me down the aisle, and you won't get to see me follow my dreams. You'll never get that back, but I don't care anymore. What I have been through, and the struggles that I have faced have brought me to where I am today, and I can't complain. I go to a beautiful school, I have the best of friends, I have an amazing family, and that's all I really need.

Whoever you are, I hope you read this. I hope you understand that you have missed out on one of the best opportunities in your life. I could've been your daughter. I could have been your little girl. Now I am neither, nor will I ever be.

So thank you for leaving me because I am happy. I understand my self-worth, and I understand that you don't define me. You have made me stronger. You have helped make me who I am without even knowing it.

So, thank you for leaving me.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Even though years have passed since this horrific day, it still haunts my memory. Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I following her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, with no place to hide, I just walked inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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