you see me by Liz Arenberg
Siblings share a life and parents and genes that create an intimacy of circumstance. When you add personalities, lifestyle choices and religion, the connection can grow deeper or strain to the point of a painful break.
My sister and I shared a childhood bed. We could not help but memorize each other’s bodies and have an awareness that only that kind of familiarity can foster. But as we grew older and sexuality became part of the equation, a gulf arose between us. The more I explored this new world of sexual awakening, the more she tried to stay innocent, static. I was curious. She was terrified. I wanted to know my body and desires. She wanted to suppress what she knew to be true.
My sister became a polarizing person in my life. I became a jezebel in hers.
We did not understand each other. Years later, she would come out as gay – shedding a lifetime of guilt and shame. It became clear that I was not the enemy. I had become an object of her self-loathing.
you see me is a project about reconnecting with my sister. It began as a way to make space to talk and see each other and developed into a study of her during a pivotal period of self-acceptance.
Liz Arenberg lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
To view more of Liz's work, please visit her website.