Dear Mrs. Bluth,
This letter is 23 years in the making. Please bear with me while I try to connect the dots of a life poorly lived, of dreams and hopes never realized and of a picture that is still a blank canvas.
I am the middle of identical triplets, all girls, pulled out at birth two minutes after the oldest and pushed out by the youngest in her mad rush to come into the world. It has been pretty much that way ever since. The oldest is always decisive, thought out and determined to reach every goal she sets for herself and the youngest is free spirited, live-in-the-moment and daring. I am always overshadowed by both their very strong personalities. In addition, I am indecisive, extremely fearful, avoid risk taking, and have little motivation or desire to do anything that requires decision making of any kind. I truly believe our parents love all three of us the same, but I can’t deny the fact that they and everyone else enjoy spending more time with the other two. My mother buys them more clothes and things, and when I ask why, she says that she knows their tastes and is sure of what they like. As opposed to when she asks me and I never give her a straight answer. She gives me money instead. In fact, I have accumulated an impressive nest egg from all that money never spent. Chanukah and birthdays were the same and Purim was an ordeal with my not being able to choose what I wanted to be until the last minute.
In school my teachers always said that I was painfully shy, didn’t raise my hand enough and didn’t have too many friends – all of which were true and made me very different from my sisters. My grades were average, but my class participation and social interactions or lack thereof, won out in coloring me as deficient and different from the norm. And that’s how I grew up, blending into the woodwork of family and society while my sisters left their mark.
And then the dating parsha began!
My oldest sister met her bashert almost as soon as she started dating. A wedding soon followed, and at the age of twenty-one, she had her first set of twins. Seemingly, it was my turn. But true to form, I found nothing that compelled me to accept any marriage proposal and I very rarely went on a second date. This went on until my youngest sister told my parents that she met someone and didn’t want to lose him. My parents approached me and asked if she could get engaged. At the wedding, I could almost feel and hear people pointing at me and saying, “That’s the one that’s not so all together.” And they’re probably right.
So here I am, labeled, branded and destined for oblivion. I hold down a good job, have as many friends as I need, and lead a quiet, uneventful life. But something has changed. I think, no, I am sure that I have met someone who I like, but he certainly isn’t what my parents expect. In fact, I think they are resigned to having me around well into their old age to look after them. This man and I find pleasure in our sameness, which brings me to my problem. I cannot find the nerve to decide whether or not to approach my parents about “Yoss,” who is losing patience with me. I don’t want us to part and can’t find the impetus to move forward. Please help me figure out what to do.
After you read my response to you, please take a mirror and look into your own eyes, behind which exists a working, feeling and thinking brain. When you were little you got drowned out by the strength of the other two and this fed your conception of yourself that you were inferior and caused you to be indecisive and question the validity of your own choices. But you are not a little girl anymore. You are a grown woman who holds down a good job, meets her responsibilities, yet still sits, knees bent, under that childhood umbrella of fear and self-doubt. It’s time to get up and stand tall!
You CAN make your own decisions, you ARE entitled to your own happiness and you SHOULD pursue all the same opportunities that your older and younger sisters have chosen for themselves. As a mother and grandmother, I can tell you that for the most part, seeing children grow up and out, making lives and futures for themselves, is what almost every parent dreams of. I can’t imagine your parents thinking differently where you are concerned, in fact, I would wager the farm that they would be overjoyed to meet Yoss and welcome him into the family.
Just because you are the middle of three does not predestine you to be a carbon copy of your siblings. You have stood in their shadow long enough, now it is your time to shine and come into your own. No two people are exactly alike. Each and every one of us is an Original, a Classic, a Treasure sent down to this world to complete a task that is expressly our own. Only you can do what you know you should do, because second chances don’t always come around and Yoss sounds like a good fit.
So, take a drink of something warm, cold or strong, that will give you the impetus and courage to take that next big step and show all those who prejudged you that you are someone who knows what she wants and has the wherewithal to go after it. And don’t forget to send us a notification that it’s official! I love a simcha, especially one where the chosson and kallah are as joyous as the guests!