26.2 A SERIES
Everyone has dreams. Since I was about 16 years old, one of mine has been to run a marathon. When I cross the finish line in NYC on November 5th, I’ll likely do so with a recorded time of between 4 and 5 hours. In reality though, it will have taken me much longer to get there. There are things inside and outside of us that bring us closer to our dreams. There are also things that delay us, that push us so far away from our goals they are sometimes out of sight. If we are lucky, little by little, we are often able to transform those stumbling blocks into building blocks–they become the foundation for our strength, resilience, and ultimate determination. This series aims to uncover my long journey. Each week, I’ll share the people, places, and things that have brought me to the place I am at today, and that I hope will carry me from the starting line in Staten Island, to the finish line in Central Park. Mile by mile–this, is my 26.2.
MILES 11 & 12- Lessons from my Sister: Letting go of Lack and grabbing on to Abundance
As I get older, one thing that astounds me is how one person can occupy such a different place in your life, depending on the time. At one point, my older brother was one of the most stabilizing and solid fixtures in my life. Now, it’s been eight years since I’ve seen his face. That’s a sore spot. You know, a cloudy piece of sky that on most days, I’m able to shove to the side. I’m okay. Actually, I’m really happy. Then, once in a while, all of the sudden, I am not. My acceptance over the situation temporarily floats out the window, and I feel pain.
Relationships are hard, especially with parents and siblings. My parent’s divorce when I was a freshman in high school was the first time I began to understand that these relationships weren’t just a given; the word “family” had denoted a permanence that I suddenly began to doubt. As I’ve aged I’ve come to see that I hold a unique and very special bond with the people I was brought into this world by and with. But this connection is not unbreakable; it has to be nurtured, it has to be fed and maintained in order to weather life’s inevitable storms.
My sister and I have had a few storms. We’re five years apart. She likes to tell me about an eye-opening dream she had when I was a baby. I was going to die in the dream. When she woke, she was terribly upset. She realized she was wrong–that she didn’t actually hate me like she had thought. Thirty-four years later, we’ve had plenty more ups and downs.
I hesitate to admit this, cause it might go to her head–but, besides my husband, I think my sister might be the person I’ve learned the most from in my life. In the beginning it was all about learning from her mistakes–I got away with almost everything she ever got in trouble for. She would come home from college and be livid to see me sneaking in at 4am; she’d have been grounded for months.
I did a lot of the opposite of my sister. I grew pretty tired of being compared to her. I discovered that disappointing people in a bold way right off the bat felt better than being found out or seen as not measuring up later on. It made me feel like I had control over what people thought of me. Funny, it’s taken me years to realize that we never really get that.
Later in life I’ve had more moments of really trying to emulate my sister; not so much in the specifics of her life, but in it’s qualities. She’s driven and incredibly successful, and for decades she’s had amazing relationships with some of the best women I have ever known. My sister has one of those amazing New York City stories–a midwestern girl who moved here with nothing and really made it. She’s worked all over the world as a successful model for sixteen years. When I realized I didn’t want to play the role of the fuck-up anymore and decided to get my life together, I began to feel genuinely proud of my sister, instead of just envious.
I think I learn so much from this sibling of mine because our relationship takes a lot of work. We aren’t natural best friends, we are different. We don’t let each other get away with much. Sometimes it’s tiring. Other times though, it’s the best. Sometimes we’ll have a day where we get a meal together or I go over to pick up something at her apartment and we both can feel that we don’t want to leave each other. It’ll be one of those goodbyes where I’ll end up standing at her door with my shoes on for two hours, not able to leave cause there’s a million and one things we have to talk about. She’ll always tease, “You’re really attached to me right now, aren’t you? You don’t want to leave me.”
It’s taken me a long time to get to this marathon–you’ve heard me say that over and over again. I firmly believe one of the reasons I’ve finally arrived at this opportunity is that I’ve adhered to a way of thinking I learned from–you guessed it, my sis.
I remember when I first moved to New York, it was very hard for me to find consistent work. Each time I had a shot at a freelance job I would get so tight and anxious. I would think of all the other people more qualified than me who were probably up for the gig as well. Every thought I had was surrounded by fear and doubt. My sister would see me and shake her head. “You’re living in lack,” she would tell me, “You need to live in abundance.” My sister really believes in energy–that what you put out in the world is what you get back. I believe that now too, but back then, I didn’t believe in anything–I was just afraid.
It was hard to hear what my sister had to say back then. She told me that as long as I believed I wasn’t going to get something, I probably wouldn’t. Lack brings more lack. When you come from a place of “not enough”, you’ll never have enough. If you come from a place of abundance though, you’ll yield abundance. If you believe you will always be provided for–you will be.
It took me a long time to start coming from a place of abundance, to start believing that I would be taken care of. After all, when I first moved here, there was so much I wanted that felt so far away. A job. A career. A routine. A love. How would I create all this from nothing? That’s where my sister’s guidance really came in. “Look at all that you’ve already manifested,” she would say. “You’ve been sober for over a year, you got to New York City, you have a place to live, you have food to eat–what is it you think you can’t do?” For a long time, there were a lot of “buts” in my reply to her. “But a year isn’t really shit. “But I only have food and shelter because you’re supporting me.”
You know what I didn’t get about manifesting back then? I didn’t understand that I wasn’t in control of of how things came to be–my journey would never look like my plan, it would never follow the perfect straight line I so desperately tried to stay on. My sister supported me for the entire first year that I lived in New York City. I had an exact amount that I could live off of every month and every day was a hustle to try to earn–to try to get enough work to get to that number so I didn’t have to borrow from her. Every month that I had to reach out my hand I felt like a failure. Everyone else had moved here and made it on their own; I felt ashamed I couldn’t do what so many others had.
Then again, my sister woke me up. She told me that she had had help too. That she had borrowed money from relatives and friends and roommates–she hadn’t done it all on her own. She told me that while she was so grateful to all of those people, their aid did not prohibit her from owning her success. She did what she had to do to eventually stand on her own two feet, and she held an enormous amount of pride in that journey.
Now, years later, I have pride in my journey as well. Yes, I’ve gotten to where I am so far with help–but I’ve made the choice to take that help. I’ve said yes when opportunity has arrived and I’ve grabbed on and let the Universe steer the wheel.
An hour before they did the drawing for the New York City Marathon I knew I was in. I couldn’t even see all of the things that had gone wrong before and gotten in the way of my previous tries. They didn’t matter. I was living in abundance. The Universe had whispered, “That starting line is yours if you want it.” Two minutes after the drawing commenced, I got a notification on my phone–New York Road Runners had charged my credit card. I was in. Miles 11 & 12 go to you Jules, and to always believing we will get everything we ever need.
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