Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Skinny Sister

I mentioned my younger sister in a post yesterday. Just as a preface and perhaps a segueway from that post to this one, I forgot to mention that I was as small as her only when I was in middle school (to avoid the confusion that perhaps I gained the weight since high school and was a beanstalk like her ten years ago--since there is a decent-size age difference between us). In other words, in high school, both my older sister and myself weren't the tiny girls like my younger, skinny sister (SS) definitely was (and still is post-high school). We were probably a little overweight then, not obese and just under obese like now, but definitely not beneath normal weights like the SS is.

She is very, very thin. She doesn’t have an eating disorder or any other problem; she’s just thin, my height (5'7) and thin. In today’s world, people love and envy that. Heck, I got a band to head in a thinner direction. I will NEVER get to where she is (113 pounds at 5'7–underweight at 17.7 BMI; I just did a BMI calculation) even with my band friend, but it is difficult to have this continuous, unattainable reminder of not having to worry about weight (or looks at all–she is quite beautiful too). What I would give!

If you can believe it, this is a closely accurate
(albeit cartoon) depiction.
(I've heard that Barbies, etc. can't look like humans
based on body proportions, but,
generally, this is what she looks like--yes, hair color and length too!!!).
I love my younger sister a lot, but sometimes the extra attention for her being so 'skinny' and 'thin' grates my nerves. She already has the advantage of the great genes there. But people are forever commenting on that. They are probably wondering why her older sisters have let themselves go or overeat like they must assume we do–not completely inaccurate there, but the SS eats things in quantities and varieties that aren’t exactly healthful either–as most skinny people do, aggravating as it is. Now, to be fair, she doesn’t hoard food or pack extra in to fill her reserves for later (like animals with a second stomach–me and the older sister seem to do that). It is still maddening though.

People are also always thrusting food at her and commenting on how she needs to eat more too. She does eat; I see it! And often! On a recent trip with my SS and mom (and some other non-family members), people were doing that in abundance. I was the one who was, in fact, eating less and skipping meals/snacks/food in general (partly because of the band). I felt like no one was really paying attention to anything except the fact that the SS is little. For instance, no one seemed to notice or even mention my eating patterns, and I was eating about half to two-thirds of what she was. Maybe they were just thinking that I would survive because I draw on the fat stores already available (if they even paid attention at all). Who knows?!

Last night, in yet another example in the ongoing Saga of the Skinny Sister, I was with a big group of people who again started the oooing and aaaahhing over her small size. They were even saying that my other sister and I looked more like one parent and that the SS looked more like the other. All my life I have been told (and know) that I look like that one parent while my older and younger sisters have distinctly similar facial characteristics that match the other parent’s. It makes me feel like people don’t really look at overweight people–the just kind of lump us together as the same. They lump together the lumps. Frustrating! I didn’t say anything about my aggravation with that openly, don't worry.

For attention, the SS does seem to eat it up and egg it on. In the case of accepting--or not accepting--food, she does whichever one derives the most noticeable glances or continued observation for her at the time. She thrives on attention in a lot of ways, so that’s not really out of the ordinary. Just as a related aside and for example purposes, I tell her that she is the Master One-Upper because if someone mentions an accomplishment or hardship, she always does it better, more often, or with more of a burden. She has almost embraced this title now because she is aware that she does it and continues to one-up (or one-down as the case may be). Of course, she makes sure to tell us all her superior accomplishment or hardship--therein showing her attention-seeking personality. But, on the positive side of the attention factor, she is also an entertainer type by nature. She is talented in all forms of art and makes us all laugh at impersonations and dance moves, etc. She often makes family get togethers and that sort of thing more enjoyable because we have a built-in entertainer.

Anyways, when I'm not around her as much, the 'skinny' comments and food thrusting don't affect me at all really unless someone is talking about her being skinny, etc. to me. Most of my friends are not this tiny (although there are some skinny ones in the mix), so it's not in my face every day. And sometimes when I am with her, it doesn't bother me either. But I can't (and don't want to) not see my sister as much because of these aggravations.

So am I being jealous and mean to be annoyed about these things in the first place? I can’t shake the feeling that I am. I definitely don’t want to just be vicious and pick these things apart because I love my sisters–the family tattletale and the skinny one :). I wouldn’t trade their fluffy and boney butts (respectively) for any others. :).


  1. I have a skinny sister, too.

    In her case, I know that she starved herself down to that weight and used bulimia to maintain it. So during our teens when everyone was telling her how gorgeous she was, I felt resentful.

    It was also very embarrassing to have a sister 2 years younger who already had gone through a couple of boyfriends while I had only ever had crushes and didn't even have that many guy friends.

    Nowadays she maintains her weight with cycles of starvation and some periodic bingeing(she won't admit that, but I've watched her). Her teeth have all been replaced because of the bulimia. Even still, when we go out together I feel kinda lost beside her.

  2. That is so sad. :( I hope she can overcome all of that.

  3. I have two older sisters and my relationships with them are as complex as any I have. There are constant hurt feelings, misunderstandings, competition, the list goes on...
    I often wonder how the three of us were born to the same parents and raised in the same house, but we were. As you said bandita, I wouldn't trade them for anything.

  4. My sister are about as different as two people could be. She never grew up but like me, she grew out (her's is due to drinking though... not so much food). We don't see each other any more so I'm glad you at least have the love there for your sister regardless of whatever trials you go through :) You're a lovely lady.

  5. Thank you, Cara.

    I understand all the sister drama, Linda. Ugh! I wish we could bypass that.