Dear Diary:

So we went to see that Julia Roberts movie yesterday, Erin Brockovich. The ads made me think it would be a light, funny, escapist chick movie with enough eye candy to keep my spousal unit from twitching too much in his seat. It was all of that, for sure, but ...

But it was also about that wonderful two-edged sword some women are given, beauty.

Now let me say right off, diary dear, that I was never a beauty. Beauty did run in my mother's family, but it ran *whoosh* right past me into the arms of my baby sister, Jan.

Jan doing the babe thing. From the time she was 13 Jan had it. IT. She was one of those women for whom men throw their coats over puddles, do stupid things that they hope will impress her ... she was an object of desire.

Watching that movie reminded me of that, about how Jan used her looks and sexuality. She enjoyed being young, beautiful and sexy and I doubt that she ever paid for a drink in any bar she chose to enter.

But women pay a price when they don't mask their sexuality. They are often ostracized by other women, and treated as meat by the men they exploit. The movie was glib and Hollywood about it, of course, using very blatant stereotypes.

Oh dear, I think I'm starting a feminist rant here. How embarrassing. Do forgive me. Now where was I? Oh yes, Jan ...

Sometimes, when I think about her, I think that if she had only been born slightly stupid she would probably still be alive. But unfortunately, she was also bright. So that meant she was always wrestling with the question, "Am I loved for me, or am I loved for the packaging?"

Some people can survive amazing hardships because in their core they *know* they matter. The movie was about a woman like that, a woman who was beautiful, wide open sexy, made some incredibly stupid life choices and yet believed in herself enough that eventually she overcame those choices.

Jan doing the lady thing. Somehow that sense of self-worth was never planted in Jan. Twenty-one years ago my smart and beautiful baby sister made the stupidest life choice of all and walked away from life itself, didn't even stick around long enough to see 24.

There are losses so big that you think to yourself, "I will never get over this, I never will." But eventually you do. Sort of.

I wish ... I wish she could have stuck around long enough to know my daughter. Jan would have been a very cool aunt, the kind that teaches you about nail polish, make-up and clothes, the stuff at which I've never been too good. But she didn't.

Mostly now I only think about Jan on the anniversary of her death, her birthday, and Christmas. I didn't expect to be thinking about her today.


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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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