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Sisterly love. Since time immemorial, it has been the ultimate usurper of self-interest and ego. That bothersome, burdensome, stubbornly unyielding familial glue that binds us to our female siblings with the tenacity of Super Glue, but with ten times the messy residue. A bond that undermines our planned intentions to ignore and deliver a chilling (and in some instances, near lethal) dose of the silent treatment. Where most friendships would perish or at the very least suffer a blow, the sisterly connection prevails with the sheer doggedness of . . . well, a bitch.

Is that one too many analogies? Well, here’s a straight-laced summation to hopefully rein in the underlying meaning: sisters are a pain in our ass, but we love them still. And darn it, do they ever have an infuriating ability to salvage that which, quite honestly, you’d sometimes rather do away with. True, damage can be done and periods of silence imparted. I’ve gone weeks without speaking to my sisters, while living under the same roof—a shunning initiated by an event, which at the time I deemed unforgivable.

Undoubtedly, a borrowed-without-permission offense; which, according to the law EVERYWHERE, is considered theft unless committed by a sister, at which point it’s rendered negligible under the sisterly clause. And so, my sisters were “blacklisted,” after stealing some favorite possession, like a beloved pair of embroidered, flare-leg Brody jeans (a rage-at-the-time item, circa ’97) or my immaculately kept copy of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill CD. Disclaimer: It may have actually been my copy of It’s My Life by Bon Jovi, but for the purposes of seeming credible, let’s claim it was the arguably more cool and legit lyricism of the divine Ms. Hill.

Finally, after months of tension and awkward exchanges during the inevitable, obligatory family gathering (i.e., Christmas), we called a truce after my older or younger sister complimented my hair. A neutral enough article (in that it was something they could not borrow) and thus deemed sufficient grounds for reconciliation.

Why is this? What is it that makes sisters immune from an unceremonious exclusion from our lives? On a personal level, I think there is an inherent love that binds us. My sisters are my life-long friends. The ones who, without seeing me for months or even years at a time, still know me best and have my mannerisms, habits, and nervous ticks memorized. Who, physically, do not resemble me, but nonetheless when we are grouped together are immediately pegged as my brethren based entirely on the uncanny similarities in our speech, posture, and dramatic hand gestures.

The same inexplicable tolerance may apply in general to any sibling dynamics, I’m not entirely sure having never had a brother, only a troupe of male cousins who were instructed by my aunts and uncles to “be nice to your relatives from the West Coast.” Whatever the case or cause, the sisterly bond prevails time and time again. And although there are moments when I bite my tongue till I borderline draw blood or down another glass of wine as a means of liquid tolerance, I really do love them. I believe them to be the other pieces of my weird and quirky puzzle.

Even when those pieces stick or fail to cooperate or whine incessantly about having to walk when we can cab the five blocks to the restaurant; but “no” they will stubbornly not change out of their stupidly high (but still fabulous) heels. Even then the pieces can be forced together in an irrefutable fit. In the end, the picture always comes together. It always holds, and in many irreplaceable ways I am better off and eternally grateful for it. For my sisters—those lovable, badass bitches.

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