Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Scene 85: A Sister’s Worth

Lark (The Dreamer): Good morning Mother.

Mom (Me): Good morning Lark. What’s on your mind?

Lark: I wanted to ask you something… It’s not a very pleasant thing to consider, but we’re here to do the work of addressing difficult questions.

Mom: Indeed we are. What did you want to ask me?

Lark: It’s about my twin sister. We’ve been working hard these past few weeks, trying to create a place here that feels welcoming to her, but… Should we be? Should we be welcoming her at all?

Mom (surprised): I didn’t realize you were against the idea.

Lark (calm): I’m not, but I’m trying to be objective here. Do we really need her here? It feels like we’ve just been assuming the answer is “yes” as if the answer is self-evident, but it isn’t. Wouldn’t we be better off without her?

Mom (upset): She’s your sister, Lark. You don’t send your sister away because she’s inconvenient.

Lark: Maybe not if she’s a real person, but in real life we *aren’t* people, we’re parts of a person. Parts of *you*. And shouldn’t you get to choose what you are?

Mom (pointed): Let’s reframe your question. What if I changed my mind about you? If I decided I’d had enough of dreams, if I was tired of using my imagination, and I wasn’t going to do it anymore. How would you feel?

Lark (skeptical): I think that’s a different question — I’ve been with you since the beginning. Besides, you’re a writer now. I find it unlikely that a writer would abandon her dreams.

Mom: Unlikely but not impossible. What would you do?

Lark: I… I don’t know. I don’t think I would simply cease to exist — where would I go?

Mom: Hmm, good question. What do you think?

Lark (pensive): I think… I don’t think this is a real answer, Mom. There’s no tension between us, or rather, none that I can feel. You can hold to your principle as a general rule — that you aren’t going to abandon any parts of you — but that doesn’t help you actually live with us. It doesn’t say anything about our worth, or eliminate the work of understanding where each part of you fits.

Mom (conceding): Hmm. You’re a sharp girl, Lark.

Lark (smiling): I have my mother to thank for my wit.

(I pause for a moment to compose my thoughts.)

Mom: Let me approach your question from another angle. When I transitioned, what about me changed?

Lark (surprised): … Is this a trick question?

Mom: No, it’s genuine.

Lark: I’m not going to list everything, but goodness mother. Your body changed. Your skin softened and your breasts grew. You grew out your hair. You changed your voice.

Mom: Yes, I look and sound quite different now.

Lark: More importantly, you recovered your emotions. You recovered your creativity. The way you see the world changed — the way you see yourself changed. You actually *see* yourself now. You started *living*, Mom. You… You came alive.

Mom (smiling): All true, and all wonderful, and that isn’t even an exhaustive list. Now let’s turn the question around. What didn’t change?

(Lark pauses to consider before continuing.)

Lark: This is a much more difficult question. So much about us changed. You could say you think the same way, but that’s not really true. Recovering you emotions changed how you process things — you had to account for all the new emotional information you were getting. You could say we have the same values, but that’s only true to a point. Again, being in touch with our feelings changed how we see the world around us and our values shifted to align with that.

Mom: But some things *were* constant, and their immutability is glaring in contrast with everything else.

Lark: I suppose our history didn’t change.

Mom: It didn’t, but that’s just how physics works. I mean there are parts of my personality that didn’t change; that won’t change no matter what I do. Things like you, Lark.

Lark: Like me? I’ve certainly changed. The entire reason why we’re talking right now is because I changed. I got tangled up with my twin at some point and you forced us apart, changing us both.

Mom: Yes, you’re changing, but the fact that you’re with me hasn’t changed. As you said earlier, you’ve always been a part of me. I can try to shape my dreams, or ponder them, or even deny them, but they don’t go away. You remain with me, as a part of me, no matter what I do.

Lark: That only seems immutable on a technicality when I’ve changed so much.

Mom: Ah, but it’s vital. To borrow your words, the only reason we’re having this conversation is because you asked if it’s worth trying to accommodate your twin sister. She’s always going to be a part of me, no matter what I do.

Lark: But this is the same argument as before. Knowing that she’s stuck with us doesn’t make her any easier to live with. It doesn’t tell us how to get along with her.

Mom (insistent): But it does tell us that we have to try. We have to accept her. I used to try and cut away the parts of myself that were challenging… We’ve talked about this. But I can’t cut her away; that’s not something I have the power to change. If pushing her away is all I try to do then she *can’t* change — she’s stuck as her old self, cut off from any opportunity to grow with us into something new, something whole. We have to make space for her no matter who she is.

(Lark ponders my words for several seconds before answering.)

Lark: So your general principle holds. Regardless of who she is, she needs to be welcomed into our family.

Mom: Yes. But she’s also not such a mystery; we’re not making space for a stranger. It’s me; she’s a part of me. I’m not going to say including her is going to be easy — I’m not necessarily an easy person to get along with — but she’ll be a natural fit. We just have to give her space to grow.

(Lark nods agreement and stands silently for a bit.)

Lark: I’m glad I asked. I hope my twin sister returns to us soon.

Mom (smiling): I hope she does too.