Sunday, 6 March 2016

an open letter to my sister

My baby sister –
My little, innocent, gorgeous, talented baby sister.

Where do I begin?

There’s so much to say.

I suppose most importantly I need and I want to tell you [again, and perhaps not for the last time, either] that you are a truly beautiful person.

Physically – you are you. And I wish you could accept that.
Perhaps it’s ironic of me to ask you to do something that I myself cannot manage – but I suppose I'm just trying to spare you the years and years of self-criticism and feelings of being less-than that I’ve felt, and continue to feel.
I know that you wish you could change some things about the way you look, so I wont tell you to stop wishing these things. But I will tell you that everyone wishes that they could change some aspects of themselves. Everyone. The way you see me is not nearly the way I see myself – and if anything, this should simply prove to you that nobody sees you in such an exposing and critical light as the one in which you see yourself.
When I look at you, I see a remarkable sixteen-year-old girl with wonderfully unique and gorgeous hair, and the single most contagious smile I’ve encountered.
I cannot ask you to see these things within yourself – but I can ask you to challenge yourself into recognizing them.

Nobody worth your while will ever notice how you look before how you act.
And neither should you.

Soon you will be older, and you will look back on memories and photographs and wonder “why didn’t I see it then?”

Open your eyes.

But, you are MORE than the way you look – your external beauty [and yes, it IS beautiful] is a mere stroke of luck upon the genuine beauty of who you are; a young girl who loves music, and poems, and lyrics. A young girl who makes art more than mere doodles on the corners of her notebook. A young girl who loves people and animals and strangers and nature. A young girl who challenges norms and promotes what she believes in. A young girl who is quick-witted and humorous and appreciates authenticity. A young girl who would do and does everything for the people she loves. A young girl who is FULL of potential [and will be even more so, when she realizes it].

You are young.
You are a young girl because you’ve still got so much to learn. You’ve got so far to climb and so much wonder to encounter. You have years and years of experiences and challenges and success ahead of you – and it will not always be easy. It will be really shitty, a lot of the time.
But things are only ever as amazing as you let them become.

It’s easy for me to wish I wasn’t your older sister.
To wish that I wasn’t this destructive image that you grew up constantly comparing yourself to. But the blessing of being your older sister ironically enough, is that I can help you. At least – I hope I can.

Because you shouldn’t compare yourself to me [or anyone] – ever. Who said I was anywhere near perfect? Or even closer to perfection, for that matter? Who defined perfection?
We are entirely different people, and my place in your life is not as a benchmark for expectations or a court of speculation – my place is to guide you and help you and try to eliminate some of the bumps I’ve encountered on my own path, for you.
And, I swear, I try.

So I want you to know that I understand. More than you perhaps may think. More than I may have told. But I do.

Those times that you simply have to cry, just because – I understand.

Those times that you’re irrationally angry and can’t explain why – I understand.

Those times that you miss everything and nothing all at once – I understand.

Those times when you’re content, but not quite happy, either – I understand.

Those times that you feel an oncoming wave of criticism – I understand.

When you feel these things coming, please just try [and I mean really try, because take it from me, it’s not easy] to take a breath – leave a room if you must. But think about this – think about this letter, and all the other unwritten letters that everyone who loves you wishes they would write. Think about the dances we choreographed to stupid songs in random hotel rooms. Think about the times we ate brownies in bed together at 3am, bonding over our insomnia. Think about the past and realize that those things you remember are those things that were good – today’s struggle is not what stands out tomorrow, it’s the reward of fighting through that you will cherish and recall for years to come.

Despite the enormous waves of loneliness I know you sometimes feel [not because you’ve told me, but because I know – I'm your sister] – remember that you are not alone.

Finally, I want to apologize for my own inadequacy at being able to say these things to you in person. I'm almost ashamed that I require some distance and time to collect my thoughts enough to be able to write this letter to you. But, I figured it was more important that you know, than for me to never find the strength to do my duty as an older sister.

I hope, somehow, that I can help you.
Not because you need help, but because you deserve it.

Thank you for being you.

The day that you can entirely embrace yourself as everything that matters, you will find yourself in a whole new world of wonder.
But, until then, we are all here.

I'm so very proud of you.


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