As an only child, there are many privileges that were opened up to me simply because I didn’t have to fight for it or share anything. This included material things as well as the attention of my parents. I wasn’t spoiled, but I was definitely privileged in many respects, except one.
I will never know the joys of having a sister to share childhood memories with, had fights with, whispered secrets with, connive and plot under a blanket, or simply look for in a crowd during school breaks.
I will openly admit to being truly envious of all the people who were bestowed the gift of being a sibling, regardless of how it turned out. Sadly, there is nothing I can do to change that. Over the years, however, I learned the value of friendship and what it means to have a good friend to whom you can bare your soul to, let your guard down, and share your innermost core in good times and in bad. This is not something you do with an acquaintance, but a true friend, a person who does not try to change you according to their standards, but accepts you on your terms.
Lucky? Oh yes, I definitely have been to have had special friends to stand by me. And believe me, for us expat children who moved around from country to country and had to start over in new schools every so often, finding a best friend was a tall order, for me at least, because I needed to find someone who could look past my facial deformities and scars.
So to all those who have come into my life as friends and soul siblings, I say thank you for being the light in my darkness, the anchors when I was adrift, and especially for being the branch that I held on to when I was pushed over the abyss.
My soul siblings, a brother or a sister from another mother, embody the definition of love and support that a biological sibling would normally represent. They will not judge me at my weakest but will offer advice to nudge me back to strength, listen to the deepest pain, catch my darkest fears, wipe the tears, and find ways to dispel the clouds of self-doubt. We share the best and worst of ourselves and our selves, not because the other demands it, but because we know our exposed and hence vulnerable, fragile beings will be received as a gift, protected as treasure, repaired when damaged, and understood. Nothing is too personal, and in knowing each others’ dark corners, laughing at the twisted ideas or kinky minds, can we read the body language and understand exactly what a bad day means or the state of things simply by the way the hands clasp each other or the head is tilted. These are the people I bare my soul to in the most reciprocal of friendships, and in doing so, we are able to carry each other through the hard times and run together in the sun or dance in the rains of sorrow. Whether we are huffing and puffing over moving boxes, indulging in food (I rarely associate with people who don’t like eating and the occasional binge), complaining about life in general and the miserable state of our budgets, it is the blessed state of a nurtured bare soul.
There is no need to enumerate you, for you know who you are. You may not all be in Berlin, but I know I have a soul sibling in several cities around the world that I can run to. Why the sudden sentimentality? Eight days from now I will age another year, so, yes, it is time to do some soul auditing and review my life, blessings and mistakes alike.