Sister Issues and Why BlogHer ’12 Scares The Bejesus Out of Me

Since I get all most of my news from Twitter these days, I knew within seconds when Roger Federer and Serena Williams won their respective titles at Wimbledon. However, I was only vaguely interested in Federer (sorry, he’s not as hot at Nadal) and Serena Williams (who got my undivided attention in 2009 when she went all ape shit on her line judge).

I should probably also candidly admit that I don’t know shit about tennis.

But, on the back end of Wimbledon 2012, I can’t stop thinking about Venus Williams. I don’t know what she was up to this past weekend, but I do know what she was NOT doing: moving her set of Encyclopedia Britannicas to make room for a new shiny trophy.

Ah, sister issues.  I got ’em.

I want the trophy! I want the trophy!

I want the trophy! I want the trophy!

I find myself always sympathizing with the sister who is not on top– the boring old Tina Yothers to the much cuter Justine Bateman from Family Ties.  Who’s Tina Yothers, you ask?

That’s exactly my point.

And I have a great relationship with my sister.  My only complaints are that I wish we could see each other more often, and I wish she would get on Facebook.

We are opposites: she’s private (which is why I am not posting a picture of her), where I am pretty public (see this blog); she knows how to keep a secret, and I have this blog, which is basically my blabbermouth manifesto.  She is making a run for partnership in her competitive, male-dominated field, whereas I gave the partnership track the finger and took a seat under a shade tree so I could sip some Crystal Lite and detox from corporate life BS. Oh, and spend time with my children.

Of our relationship to our professions, both of us have said tearfully, “I don’t know if I am doing the right thing.”

And, sometimes I find myself trying to figure out if I am Venus or Serena, Justine Bateman or Tina Yothers.  Yes, it’s absurd to use a 80’s sitcom as a template for my life, but at least I am not sitting here talking to you about Bosom Buddies.

I could tell my sister all of this, and she would understand it completely. Who knows better than she how competitive I am with everyone in the world, including and especially her?

But, this is a slightly larger problem because I do this in all my relationships with women.

“Are you Tina Yothers or am I?”

“You wanna be Serena or should I take the trophy?”

WHO? Tina Yothers from Family Ties (image courtesy of

WHO? Tina Yothers from Family Ties (image courtesy of

Mallory Keaton, played by Justine Bateman. She was the sister we all wanted to be (even though she was stupid). Image courtesy of

Mallory Keaton, played by Justine Bateman. She was the sister we all wanted to be (even though she was stupid). Image courtesy of

And as I sit here only 3-ish weeks away from the BlogHer ’12 conference (big blogger gathering in NYC), I am starting to quake with fear about being around THOUSANDS of women all weekend long.  All those Serenas.  All those Venuses.  I don’t even have a sitcom reference for that– Eight is Enough is the closest I can come and that’s about 2,292 NOT enough.

I am starting to see more blog posts about the conference: what to expect and what to bring.  I am bringing a carry-on sized Samsonite full of sister issues– a complex medley of “am I good enough?” and “am I the favorite sister?” and “I want to be the best,” which is going to make being with all these accomplished, funny, inspiring, articulate women a little bit distracting for me.

But what’s the alternative? To stay home and avoid the uncomfortable feelings I get when my favorite blogger fails to invite me to see Book of Mormon or have coffee with her? Hide in my room until I am less neurotic?

Anyone else out there with sister issues? Do they ever bring you down, no matter how much you love your sister?  Anyone else nervous about BlogHer’12?


17 thoughts on “Sister Issues and Why BlogHer ’12 Scares The Bejesus Out of Me

    • I read it and it’s like salve. I feel like “who the EF am I to leave my family, spend all that money and go to a blog conference …. I am not the Blogess.” But I can feel your joy and your warmth and I do want to meet my cyber peeps. I book marked your post and will bring it with me. I am definitely excited, but also scared and self-doubting….Thank you for this awesome post.

  1. I held my breath as I read this just now (good thing it wasn’t longer!). I hear you, sister. I’ve also been thinking about Serena & Venus and feeling their pain (though they seem to handle it all so well!). So maybe it’s been my pain? Me? Sister issues? I’m grateful to be on this journey with you. Great post!

    • Good point! I literally never thought of that. Sometimes I think the BS mommy wars play on women’s sister issues. Of course it’s more complex but I have thought that.

  2. Does it help that Venus actually DID win a trophy that day? She and Serena took the Doubles title the same day Serena won the Singles.

    Anyway. I shall also be at BlogHer and it’s my first time. I’m lucky that over the past year I’ve made friends with a lot of “bigger” local bloggers and so now I’m less scared of stuff like this. Big bloggers are people just like us and a lot of them are super nice. Besides, there are WAY more of us little guys than there are of them so if we want we can mutiny.

    If you need little bloggers of the not-scary variety, I know a whole bunch who’ll be there. Tweet me. Seriously.

  3. I’m too insecure to be competitive, I’m content to let you have all the spotlight (then again, I have no sisters). But seriously I’m so scared of BlogHer I can’t even bring myself to post about it yet!!!! I have SEVEN drafts all revolving around the conference and yet they just sit there.

    • Roll out those drafts! I need those drafts; I want them. I am just trusting what other people say about it: it’s fun, the people are great, and the swag is amazing. I can’t even picture swag, but I love free shit.

  4. First, I knew exactly who Tina Yothers was and the analogy was dead on…I also share your fear of BlogHer ’12, except I took the coward’s route and am hiding at home, even though there are almost no impediments to my attending other than my own social awkwardness. I have two sisters, a mother and three aunts, all of whom live close by. Six women is the maximum estrogen occupancy I can carry.

    • Would it be awkward if I flat-out begged you to come because (1) I am socially awkward as well, (2) I don’t drink so there’s no hiding behind Zima, and (3) OHMYGODTHREETHOUSANDWOMEN.

      FIST PUMP.

  5. Wow that article hit the nail right on the head! As a child of the 80’s I can completly relate to your analogy of Justine Vs Tina. I have a sister but I ‘ve never really felt we were in competition. She works and I quit my job to stay home with the kids. We speak more regularly now and BTW up until last year I was the sister that refused to join FB LOL . BlogHer 12’ sounds like fun. The thought of all those women together could be a bit intense, but what the hell you only live once!

  6. I think as adults, sisters perpetuate some of the same issues! There can be underlying digs…and then claiming that the other didn’t quite understand the meaning of the comment. I judged her parenting style and then I had my own! We love each other, burner exhaust each other too sometimes.

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