I don't know when it happened. Maybe it happened in my sleep. Maybe it happened when I was at work. Or maybe it happened when I drank that whole bottle of mescal that night in Mexico and can't remember where I was for three hours, or how I got on that donkey.
But sometime, somewhere, somehow ... I became the good, proper and conservative sibling in my family. And I don't like it.
Prior to now my siblings and I had a pecking order that suited me just fine. My older brother, the middle of us three, was the black sheep. He plays rock 'n roll, has served time in jail, and has a history of dating skanky whores. Although he is 12 years my senior, he could still keep up with me when I took him to college parties. It was always a comfort to know that if I got arrested or woke up on a donkey in Mexico, he had my back. Nothing I did would make him disown me or judge me, because he'd done it all before.
Then there was my older sister, the responsible first-born in the family and by far the white sheep. So white, in fact, that bleached sunlight would pale in comparison. She never got drunk, never lost control, and had a house that Martha Stewart would envy. When my nieces and I would go to Pismo Beach and jump waves in the middle of the night, my sister would be standing on shore, wringing her hands and poised to call 911. We counted on her to do that actually. That was her job. It allowed us to not have to be serious or in control, since she was serious enough for all of us.
That put me firmly in the middle. I liked my tequila and strippers, but also managed to carve out a pretty respectable career for myself. I have even been asked to run for public office, although admittedly by people who don't know me very well. I can fit in at a biker bar or at a chamber dinner. I guess that makes the the gray sheep. Or at least, it did.
My sister recently got divorced from her low-life of a husband. He rarely worked, and depended on her for almost everything. After 20 years, she finally realized she didn't have to take care of him anymore and hired a lawyer. It was a rocky time, as she was left with a ton of bills and a house she couldn't afford. But she's worked through it, and is now looking at a life that has a lot less stress and a lot more fun.
Now that she doesn't have to worry about taking care of anyone else, she is taking care of herself. She's lost weight and bought some sexy new clothes. She goes out with her girlfriends and drinks a bottle of wine. She laughs a lot more, and worries less.
And did I mention, she's getting a tattoo?
My brother already has a tattoo ... a guitar with a skull that I felt privileged to watch him get after I got him drunk at a local bar. It seemed a normal thing for him to do, and it didn't bother me at all.
Now my sister has informed me she's getting one ... a horseshoe with a rose. She's doing it to mark a new chapter in her life. "I'm learning to give up some control and step outside my box," she told me. Woa! That's a big step!
I thought it was a fun idea and encouraged her, until I realized that this meant that I would be the only one of us three who wouldn't have one. Then it hit me. I have a mortgage, a husband and a step-son, not to mention a job where I have to cheer and wear the company color on Friday's. I rarely wake up on a donkey anymore. Hell, I rarely go to a bar. I think I may even voted for a Republican in the last election, although I'm not proud of it. I drink wine instead of mescal now. And I'm usually in bed by 11, even on weekends. When did I become the responsible, stuffy one?
Of course, I could always get a tattoo as well - a symbol that I am still the saucy bitch I like to believe I will always be. But I don't like them. I never really have. They're fine for other people ... but not for me. Only once in my life have I considered getting a tattoo, and that was when I was 22, drunk off my ass in Europe, and with a guy who looked like Jesus and made me think it was the best idea since Holy water. Thank Christ (or in this case, I think his name was Jim) there were no all-night tattoo parlors in Vienna. When I woke up the next morning and frantically searched my body for markings and came up pale and pristine, I swore off drinking with the son of God for the rest of my life.
I think I don't like tattoos because they are so permanent and I've always had issues with commitment. A tattoo that I can't peel off? I don't think so! I still can't get over the fact I've made a commitment to a man. The word "husband" still seems so foreign to me, even after two years. I don't think I can be committed to him AND colored ink at the same time. That would make my brain explode.
I guess I just have to get used to the idea that while my sister has changed, so have I. And not all those changes are bad. So what if I don't have a tattoo? So what if I've become a little more conservative, a little more refined? I had my time to be wild and crazy. My sister never did. She deserves to have some fun and break a few rules.
Still, I might have to try to do something to prove that I'm not the white sheep yet. I'd go out and party, but it takes me three days to recover from a hangover now. I'd jump out of an airplane, but I'm a big chicken. I'd buy a red sports car and flirt with younger men, but I don't have the time, money or the energy.
SIGH ... being the responsible one sucks.