I have a confession to make. A truth I not only didn't want to admit, it's one I've refused to recognise.
It's the lies we tell ourselves that are the most powerful of all. If we repeat them often enough, we can convince ourselves they're true. The state of play. The delivery of facts. But I've been lying about something.
It is killing me that my sister and I aren't speaking.
Not what you were expecting, huh? Sorry if it's anti-climatic for you, but there you are. I miss her. I miss her so much, it hurts.
I've tried not to think about it because honestly, I didn't want to feel it. I still don't. But I'm not sure I have much choice about it anymore.
Throughout this whole saga, I've taken a position of offence. It's one I often adopt in disagreements. It's not a desirable or admirable coping mechanism by any means and if you think I only ever portray a good, appealing image, of myself on this blog, you're sadly mistaken.
I'm stubborn beyond belief; to my own detriment and to many people's annoyance. I'm outspoken. I can be self-rigteous and slow to forgive. I'm contradictory. I'm flawed beyond belief. I'm human.
Do you ever feel like people forget that sometimes? That you're human? That you're not perfect, and you are going to get it wrong, and mess up? That it does hurt you when things are said about you and judgements made? We're all guilty of it. I'm guilty of it. Along the black and white lines of "right" and "wrong", it's easy to stop thinking of the person in the latter category as someone probably trying to do their best.
I know I've done it. I also know it's been done to me. What tangled webs we weave.
I was watching The West Wing last night. Specifically, an episode in Season 5, called "Memorial Day". The story centers on the Herculean efforts of the team to negoitate lasting peace between Palestine and Israel. Despite the time that's passed since its airing, the plotline hasn't dated much.
In fact, the problem facing peace negoitations then and the problem which continues to face negoitations now, remains one and the same - the inability to let go of the past. Instead of focusing on how to find a way forward, both sides are bound by their refusal to let go of what's already happened.
Scorecards of previous hurts, hits, and unjust actions form a powerful arsenal that's continuously deployed. To surrender any of these memories would be seen as a weakness, an admission of defeat, of subversion - and why should I surrender when I'm not the one in the wrong?
If there ever was a strict right and wrong to begin with, it's ceased to be as important as the on-going refusal to budge. All sounds very familar. Isn't it curious that whether discussing matters of foreign politics or the stupid tiff you had with your neighbour about who should trim the bush between your gardens, we all devolve into the equivalent of five-year-olds yelling "She started it!"
I'm familiar with such a mindset, it's the only one I've allowed of late when it comes to this. If you're right, if you hold onto that, if you give the metaphorical finger and ride your moral high-horse with your principles supporting you, than you'll be fine.
At least, that's what you tell yourself. That you don't care. That you're not hurting. That you don't have to hold back tears at the thought of not seeing them. That you don't feel sick to your stomach because of how things are.
That you don't want to tell them about your life, the news about your job, talk to them about your boyfriend; tell them about the book you're reading, ask their advice about what to wear to a wedding or on the CV you just finished. You wrap yourself in the belief that you don't need to have some tea and a giggle with them, or that you don't think of them everyday. That it doesn't hurt when you hear something about the TV show you both love or a new bar you know they would like and for a brief moment, you forget that you can't tell them - and then when you remember, it feels like you're swallowing boiling water.
The brain is the ultimate magician. It perfects tricks and illusions; the sleight of hand invisible to the naked eye, to the watching public. But a magician always knows. They know how they the rabbit disappears - and that it hasn't actually disappeared at all.
I'm a rather good magician. My performances are convincing. I'm so good, I convince myself, if only for a while. But when the lights go down and the curtains are drawn, I'm left standing alone in the dark, with my hidden rabbit and my lie.
I miss her. I'm hurt and angry. I love her. I'm furious. I'm trying not to cry while I'm writing this. I'm heartbroken. I'm tired. I'm scared. I'm lost.
I'm all these things and more and I've been pretending I'm none of these things and less. I don't know if it's because it's a hard week so I'm feeling it more. I don't know if there's a reason why I feel so very alone right now. It was probably inevitable. If I hadn't been so intensly convincing myself I'm fine, I might have seen it coming.
There are so many things I wish were different, so many things I want to change. I really don't know how to, if I even can. I know that in this, I'm sorry for whatever path it was that lead here. I'm sorry for the role I played. I'm sorry for the hurt.
It's an old adage that the truth will set you free so by that theory, my admission that all of this is barely bearable, will make it easier. I doubt it. But I hope. I'll never stop hoping.