Dissimilarities in Similarities: Gay and Wendy

Dissimilarities in Similarities: Gay and Wendy

It is often said that in a person’s life, certain people come along who will play a vital role in changing one’s perspective of life, love, family and relationships.  I am lucky to have two such people in mine…and the hatred they feel for each other is absolutely insane.

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When I say that my sister Gay and my best friend Wendy are two of the most similar yet dissimilar people I have ever know, I mean just that.

On the outside, they are both petite married women who love dressing down in shirts and jeans and sing along to songs by Nickleback while their husbands looked on indulgently - Dissimilarities in Similarities: Gay and Wendy introduction. They both have issues with weight, which they continually moan about yet have neither the inclination nor “energy” to do anything about it.

Both admit to having problems with spending but it’s either “The car was so nice I just couldn’t resist!” or “The travel agent assured me the cruise was an absolute steal at that price!”

They have also suffered through the pain of parental divorces and failed marriages.  Gay has three sons while Wendy has two kids, a boy and a girl.  All kids are of different paternity.

One would think that with all these similarities, they could become the best of friends. Nothing could be further from the truth for these women who I simply love to death and whom I value so much simply hates each other’s guts.

You never could put them together in a room without snipes, vitriol and snide comments against the other flying back and forth.  Did I mention how loud and brutally frank they both can be? One time I remember Gay tossing a barb at Wendy regarding her being married four times and how she “shouldn’t shoplift at Wal-mart.” Wendy, ever the fighter retorted “At least I have money to buy my stuff.”

Sometimes I wonder if it’s their personal insecurities that make them act that way. They both seem to me strong and independent women yet I also see a vulnerability in both of them that makes them so defensive to point of being abrasive towards other people.

Gay, for instance, once sent a note to our other sister Pat and myself.  In it she groused about how we “were better than her” because we lived in houses and had professional jobs while she lived in a doublewide trailer and worked as a mere cashier at the Petro Express Service Station.  She and her sons would shy away from family events saying how her sons felt uncomfortable with us seeing as we lived in houses while all they had was their trailer.  My family and I have tried so hard to get Gay to try for her GED but I suppose the prospect of failure just scares her so much especially since she had tremendous difficulty coping with school and the learning disorder ADD when she was younger.

Wendy on the other hand is, I can honestly say, one of the more intelligent people I know. She works as a dispatcher for 9-1-1 at Davidson County and has two beautiful children with her daughter Britney now in college.  The thing is she has the temper of a volcano and has a habit of speaking her mind to the point of being hurtful and this has caused tension with co-workers and neighbors. She also tends to be too over-protective of her children.  She has refined snooping to such an art that she even manages to check Britney’s mail and e-mail while she’s away at college. How she does it never ceases to amaze me.

For all their faults though, I have seen a side to these women that makes me thankful to call them “sister” and “best friend.”

A few years back, I was diagnosed with cancer and thus had to undergo surgery.  While I already knew Wendy, being my best friend for almost 21 years, would drop everything if I needed her, it touched me the way she and her mother stayed with my husband and daughters while I was in surgery.  They never left until they know I was okay.

Gay also showed me a side of her that surprised me.  For the first time, she told me she loved me. This, for me, was special because while Gay is completely protective of her sons to the point of fighting their battles for them, she always projected the attitude that the rest of us can go take care of ourselves.  To have her visit me and tell me how she felt…that was a moment I will forever remember and cherish.

It bewilders me how these two women who share so many common experiences and traits could despise each other so whole-heartedly yet become two of the people I most love and treasure so much. They each have their faults as all people do but I cannot help but admire and hope that I can emulate their strength, courage and fortitude particularly when it comes to protecting their children and standing up for themselves.

            Maybe the hard façade that they show to the world are just products of painful experiences or unresolved personal issues that they have. Nevertheless, I personally am grateful to be privy to their more vulnerable sides that has taught me one can be hard and soft at the same time.  Now if I can only get them stop ripping into each other long enough to sing to Nickleback together, I’d be a very happy woman.


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