callistahogan: (Default)
I've never been what one would consider a reprobate.

In fact, I pride myself on walking the straight and narrow, keeping my head up high, fists at my side, eyes straight ahead. I have goals that I would do anything to achieve, and every step I take leads me closer to those goals. I don't make trouble, instead withdrawing into the background and being the perfect little student that never does anything wrong. My father probably doesn't know what to do with me, because I am by far the quietest and most well-behaved child in our family. I (very rarely) throw fits; I am world-conscious. By everyone, I am considered the perfect Christian daughter.

And indeed, I am. It's something I consider myself to be as well.

I am in sharp contrast with my oldest sister, Rhiannon*. She was born probably in what could be considered the golden age of my parents' marriage, before my mother got sick, before the rest of us came along, before everything just imploded in on itself when I was in fourth or fifth grade. Shortly after she was born, however, was when my mother got sick. I suppose, thinking back on it now, that is how things went wrong, because Rhiannon had to grow up in a situation that was anything but stable, when my mother got incredibly sick.

I don't remember what my sister was like when I was young, because by the time I was old enough to have memories of her, I hardly ever saw her. She was sixteen when I was around two or three. She was like so many of those teens I see now, who hang out with the so-called "wrong crowd," drinking and smoking, hanging out with someone more than twice her age. She started to date someone who was about thirty to her sixteen -- and she ran away when I was around three or four.

The only time I remember seeing her before she got pregnant was when she and her boyfriend took me to Funtown in Saco, Maine. I was probably three at the time, and all I remember of that time was me going down the enclosed black water slide and being terrified out of my mind, along with going back to their apartment and eating Burger King.

That is the last time I remember seeing her for all of my early life, except for one fuzzy moment at Christmas, when she came with her daughter, who was one and a half at the time. There were some web cam conversations, but never anything more than that.

She is the reprobate of our family, or at least that's what she can be considered. Although she ended up telling my other sister about Christ, I've never seen her act quite like a Christian. She is the black sheep, separated from the rest of our family. We all love her, but she doesn't quite... fit in.

She had two children out of wedlock, with a man who was about double her age. She is not completely deserving of the term "reprobate", but in terms of my family -- my conservative Christian family, with their strong moral standards -- she deserves reprobation. She goes in different circles from the rest of us, constantly getting into bad relationships, hanging out with "the wrong crowd," dubbed so by my parents and brother.

None of us are sure what she's doing nowadays.

She is a tattoo artist living in New Hampshire, but that's all we know. We know little to nothing about her life. For all we know, she could be a reprobate in the true definition of the term, rather than a reprobate in terms of being less morally "upright" than the rest of my family is.

We just don't know.

The difference between me and Rhiannon is striking. While Rhiannon seems not to have a plan, I have a whole ten-year plan all figured out. Get through the next two and a half years of college, get into one of those liberal arts colleges, get an English degree, and start teaching. Get married eventually, maybe have a kid. My sister, however, is completely different. She never got her high school diploma, had two kids before I was ten, and her only discernible ambition was to become a tattoo artist.

But her path is not wrong. Just different. I do wish she would come to church with us, get in touch more, but there's nothing I can do. The last time I saw her was this past summer, and that was only for a weekend. I saw a glimpse into her life, and she walks with those people my family (and my church) would consider reprobates.

She is not herself a "true" reprobate, though, and for that I am grateful.

--

* Name changed, as always to protect the innocent.

This has been my entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Not sure about this one; I'm not in the habit of writing, I guess!

Date: 2009-12-21 12:12 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] cacophonesque.livejournal.com
Perhaps part of the reason that your sister doesn't get in touch more is because she doesn't like having to exist as the black sheep. I know you love her, but likening her to a reprobate is heavy judgement and chances are she can pick up on that.

I think that you are trying to accept and understand her, with your comments about her path just being different--but I don't think that you fully believe what you're saying, yet.

Date: 2009-12-21 12:24 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
I know exactly what you mean, and I know that my entry was not as clear as possible. In fact, I'm not proud of it at all, thinking about it now. I suppose I consider her the "black sheep," just because she's not the same as the rest of my family, but not the reprobate. And that's what I was trying to get at, but I didn't achieve it the way I wanted to, I suppose. :(

Date: 2009-12-21 12:30 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] cacophonesque.livejournal.com
I mostly speak because it does sound like you want very much to have her in your life more. We all have weeks where our words come out more muddled than we would like.

Date: 2009-12-21 02:29 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] norda.livejournal.com
But her path is not wrong. Just different.

And that sums it up.

Date: 2009-12-21 03:55 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] hightekvagabond.livejournal.com
You know the old saying "You don't really know a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins"... and if you still know him then you are a mile away and he is bare foot, so run.

All joking aside, you seem to work hard to accept your sister but not to understand her, can you really ever accept someone you don't strive to understand?

Date: 2009-12-21 03:56 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
I do strive to understand her. And I do, for the most part.

Date: 2009-12-21 10:38 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com
Hopefully at some point you can be closer to your sister. It sometimes happens later in life. I know my sister and I are radically different and a large age difference between us. But as we got older the differences didn't matter so much.

Date: 2009-12-21 07:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] onda-bianca.livejournal.com
I hope as you get older you and your sister can be closer. Different is not always bad...:)

Date: 2009-12-21 08:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] risingtofall.livejournal.com
Thats sad, I hope maybe that someday you two can have a solid relationship to each other because really, it's never too late for that.

Date: 2009-12-21 08:40 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] shadowwolf13
shadowwolf13: (Default)
I hope that one day you can strengthen your relationship with her. Though speaking as the black sheep of my own family ... sometimes things are so misunderstood that those outside of the situation wouldn't understand. I'm glad you say that her path is not wrong, just different.

Date: 2009-12-22 05:55 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] markmade.livejournal.com
Being different is definitely a good thing :) Nicely done!

Date: 2009-12-22 06:02 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] so-small.livejournal.com
I hope that over time, you and your sister can have a relationship.

Date: 2009-12-23 04:21 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] twistersflower.livejournal.com
I think this is a great entry and shows a lot of insight. Gets my vote.

Date: 2009-12-23 04:38 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] walkertxkitty.livejournal.com
I think you've come farther than the rest of your family, but you've still got a way to go. I know I wouldn't want full contact with people who labeled me the black sheep of the family. Whatever her life choices are, they are hers and she lives with them. That itself is honorable.

Tattoo artist? Wow...they require a lot of time and training to be any good and to make a living at it. You might be proud of that, it does show time and dedication.

Date: 2009-12-23 06:09 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_mysticalelf/
Wait till you're a bit older. Then you'll click. I just bet on it....;)

Date: 2009-12-23 10:16 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] thndrstd.livejournal.com
I'm grateful for the openness you have in this entry, the ability to accept your sister as is, even if her path is not the one you or your family would have chosen. Nice job.

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