Sisterly lovaaaAAAARRRGH…

So Shoesis, the professional cleaner aka the only person I know who flips out over messes that haven’t even happened yet, is also on vacation this week — in Florida. Which frankly has a lot to do with the extra-peachiness mentioned below.

Because she has been living with us for the past few months. Basically she has a ton of debt from previous lives that need to be erased before she could ‘make a new start’, and is willing to keep the place clean in exchange for board. Fine. Whatever. If Shoemom doesn’t mind sleeping on a cot in my room, who am I to complain?

Well — as you’ve probably guessed — this is me, complaining. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this sister and I aren’t quite BFFs in the best of circs. We can’t be, because she’s inherited Shoedad’s neurotically desperate need to be endlessly sweet and ncie and accommodating to the outside world — and direct all the blowback at the family. And there is a lot of blowback.

Somewhere in-between the two extremes is a smart, funny, personable, all-round great girl… could she somehow be persuaded it’s OK to show her off. But this same insecurity has given her a horror of ‘psychological crap’. Her whole self-image is tied into how she doesn’t have no stinkin’ issues! It’s the rest of the world that’s absurdly high-maintenance!

Ah-huh. She doesn’t try to pull much on me or her other sis anymore. Shoemom, on the other hand, has slipped into the same toxic dance with her daughter as she did with her father: She’s kind, capable, domestic, it’s ‘not that big a deal’ to just give in to the demands and deal with the tantrums. Endless physical accomodation, emotional validation, basically becoming a psychic garbage can to be dumped on at will; not that she likes it, or doesn’t wish it could be different, but…it’s just what a mother does, right? Even when her daughter is thirty-five, right? Right?

Shoesis’ latest is trying to convince Shoemom to move back down to Niagara with her — just the two of them, in an apartment waaaaay out in the country. The failure of this previous experiment is one of the major reasons Shoemom now lives with me. And luckily, even a mother can see that going along with ‘Oh, you haven’t really been happy the last few years — you think you were, but you really weren’t!’ is above and beyond tolerance level.
Seriously. I’ve been encouraging our ‘mommy’ to be her own person, think for herself, take advantage of what one of the world’s greatest cities has to offer… Shoesis is terrified, and is doing her best to convince ‘mommy’ that I’ve obviously had some sort of evil influence over her reallly-truly self. Because if ‘mommy’ doesn’t fit her specs exactly — and this includes dress, grooming and the way she fixes chicken — Shoesis might actually have to put up with something she doesn’t want to. The horror.

Thing is, all this came about because both Shoemom and I have decided it’s time to revisit the leave-the-city idea. All those people we couldn’t bear to leave? Most of ’em moved out within months. Having learned a valuable lesson, we are revisiting what we really want. At the moment we have it narrowed down to either North York or Oakville (long stories both, just trust me).
We would like to continue living together. Really it’s the only option that makes sense; together we live very comfortably, if we split up it’s back to struggling for both. But to do that, we have to detach Shoesis somehow. For once and all, this time. I’ve spent the past five years in a two-room apartment sharing it with what frequently felt like three people.

I had to throw tantrums of my own — huge, full-on tantrums, during which I actually felt stupid for making such a scene — just to convince Shoemom to take me seriously enough to have her stop phoning all the damn time. Every night, all night, no matter what we might be doing, ‘mommy’ had to be there or else.
We are talking yakkating away about nothing for a half-hour, then calling back five minutes later because she’d forgotten some other nothing… then calling back five minutes after that with something else. ALL FRELLING NIGHT. Have you ever been trapped in a tiny space with nonstop phone convos (often fights) going on in the background? Don’t try it. Eventually I was twitching every time the ring went off.

So we got that mostly, ungraciously, cleared up. Mostly. Then she petitioned to move in. Juuuuust until she figured out what to do next, which would have nothing to do with our plans she swore blind. Shoemom: "Well, at least she won’t be phoning us!"

Ha-freakin’-ha ha. Instead, as noted, she’s been trying to convince our mother than I’ve been a bad influence and what she really wants is a return to the bad old days. In-between hovering over me with a damp cloth to catch stray cracker crumbs.

…[phew]. OK, better now. As I say, she’s not really a monster, and Shoemom is now prepared to cut the umbilical cord where it needs to be, hopefully forcing her better self to emerge in self-defense. That’s the plan, anyhow. In reality, I can’t quite pin my hopes that high. Honestly… I want this next move to be about fulfilment, about moving up perhaps and/or forward definitely, and that includes not being sucked into this black hole of need. Shoemom’s resolve is strong now, but I fear that all it’d take is one botched relationship, one mean ol’landlord, one of the many dozens of other people who make poor wittle Shoesis’s life miserable…

…Oh, damn. I’m not a bad sister, really I’m not. Or daughter. But I can’t rid myself of the feeling that I should just cut my losses and announce I’m moving out on my own.


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