The older I get, the more apparent it becomes that it’s totally weird to like your family. Obviously, most people who aren’t Elijah Wood in The Good Son love their families, but I actually like mine. My two older sisters are my best friends, and most days I’d rather hang out with them than anyone else on the planet (except, perhaps, Mindy Kaling, should the occasion arise). Of course, having lived within relatively-close proximity to me these last twenty-odd years, they do have an unfair advantage over most other people I’ve met. We spent our childhoods watching all of the same crappy old VHS tapes the same insane amount of times (Dad, the Angel & Me, anyone?), we share the same personal opinions on celebrities and other assorted people we’ve never actually met, and we don’t hesitate to blindly abhor ex-boyfriends/their stupid new haircuts for each other.
Due to the sheer buttload of time that we’ve spent with each other over the last decades, it’s safe to say that we share an inside joke or two hundred million. It’s not uncommon for us say things in tandem (a la America’s perhaps most-beloved sisters, Tia and Tamera). We text in nearly-undecipherable code that only makes sense when read out loud and in an over-the-top character accent. On more than one occasion, I’ve received a simple one-emoji text from either sister and known instantly what pop culture event/obscure Facebook post from Mom’s friend they were referring to. And I agreed.
To put it simply, it’s been a blast. Because we share the same sense of humor, we get all of each other’s jokes, find all the same Key & Peele skits to be groundbreakingly hilarious, and are otherwise generally on the same page when it comes to just about everything. Twilight Saga? Cinematic masterpieces. The drag performance of “Let It Go” on YouTube? The jam! Having two gals that I wholeheartedly look up to supporting all of my quirks and “guilty pleasures” made my transition into adulthood easy-breezy to say the least.
It was only this past Thanksgiving, while standing in my uncle’s kitchen and waiting for a crack at the stuffing, that I realized that our sisterly-brain-syncronization-thing may actually be a weird thing. We were having what I thought to be a normal conversation about a drunk relative’s recent awkward political rant when my cousin’s boyfriend approached and, with complete sincerity, asked, “When did you guys learn to communicate telepathically?” Had we not been speaking out loud? Had we been communicating with gestures and implications only? Was it possible that we were somehow not even aware that this was happening? It would seem that one solid eye roll and a “Seriously…” can equate an entire discussion in our book. And it hadn’t gone unnoticed.
I imagine at this point you’re visualizing something ghoulish and a bit unsettling, like the Three Fates of Disney’s Hercules fame, or the Sanderson sisters. Don’t get me wrong—we’re not total hermit coven creeps. We socialize. We have friends. We’re in relationships (heck, one of us even has a kid!). But sometimes I find myself getting frustrated in my other relationships by the fact that I have explain myself so much of the damn time. Why don’t my friends just know how badly I want a Charlie’s Angels 3? Why do I have to explain what I mean to my boyfriend when I reference a three-hour-old conversation, asking, “So what do you think you’re going to do about that?” Sometimes, the only appropriate response to a situation is a quote from Nicolas Cage’s holiday classic Trapped in Paradise (and, as it turns out, that movie isn’t even very popular). Why doesn’t everyone just know what I mean all the time?!
It’s exhausting, to put it bluntly. But I’m learning that it’s also good for me. My sisters are my soul mates, and I don’t see that changing in any of our lifetimes. But it would be selfish of me to let my relationships with them be my only thriving ones. I am learning to appreciate the fact that not everyone knows what I’m talking about all the time, and that my friends don’t know everything about me. They don’t catch when I’m quoting a line from the stage rendition of “The Little Mermaid” I played Scuttle in when I was seven, and my boyfriend doesn’t love watching our home movies (go figure). But perhaps nurturing these other relationships and keeping them healthy is a bit like communication jazzercise. If it weren’t for these other relationships, and my continued efforts toward making them totally ripped and long-lasting, it’s highly possible I could in fact transition into a cauldron-stirring hermit woman that only ever watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix and mumbled to herself about how she doesn’t even really like the show that much. In the coming years, I vow to express myself more freely to my friends, to go easier on my boyfriend for not knowing everything that has ever happened to me ever, and to exercise my communicatory muscles on the reg. And to stay just as close to my sisters, too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some home videos to watch.
Katie Bald is passionate about grammar, hip hop, and chili cheese fries. She loves equality, glitter, Tom Hanks, and dirty dancing. Pop culture references pepper this gal’s pieces along with wit, wisdom, and hella Oxford commas. She’s a regular contributor at cityhomecollective.com, and you can watch her narcissistic journey unfold on Instagram or peruse her all-too-infrequently updated Twitter feed.