5 Reasons Why It's Better To Grow Up With Siblings Than Without

5 Reasons Why It's Better To Grow Up With Siblings Than Without

For my siblings Myranda and Cameron

If you grew up in a large family like I did, you’ve probably asked yourself at least a million times what it might have been like to be an only child. It’s hard to really appreciate the value of siblings when you’re young, and especially when you have more than one. I remember lots of times when I sat down and tried to imagine what it would have been like if it was just me, alone, with my parents all to myself. I pictured all the attention I would get, and all the toys I wouldn’t have to share. But in all that time plotting ways to force Santa to take away my siblings, instead of bringing me Christmas presents, I never thought about what I might be losing. Growing up with siblings has defined me in so many ways, here are just a few:

  • Having a sibling teaches you how to share
  • Having a sibling teaches you how to appreciate time alone
  • Having a sibling is its own type of war preparation
  • Having a sibling pushes you to find your own strengths
  • Having a sibling teaches you how to love

I was two years old when my little brother Cameron was born. I don’t remember much of the time when he came home to the time he could talk, but we were partners in crime for a while as toddlers. He played with me when I wanted to play dolls, and I played with him when he wanted to play video games. Having a little brother taught me to be patient. It taught me that playing with someone else was better than playing alone nine times out of ten.

Having my brother to play with was great; I didn’t have to go to school to find my friends because I had built in friend in the room next door. But sometimes being able to leave your friends at the end of the day is a good thing. Having a sibling taught me how to appreciate those quiet moments where I could reflect. I use to have a special spot where I could go and think, someplace I never shared with my brother. As an adult, I now realize how important is to give others their own space as well.

To put it frankly having siblings prepares you to both defend your honor, and attack to protect what’s yours. My older sister Myranda and I are three years apart and it was hard to get along sometimes. She would insist that things I knew to be mine were hers, and we had our fair share of fights defending the aforementioned items. One fight in particular, concerning a doll crib, can still create an argument. To keep the peace we have had to make such conversations our own private Switzerland. Having a sibling is like its own kind of warfare because it teaches you how to determine what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth being left unsaid.

My older sister Myranda is a strong, willful, confident person; and my younger brother Cameron is a social butterfly, the most liked in a crowd, and eager to put everyone at ease. Being caught between these two personality types growing up wasn’t always easy. Sometimes to be heard I have to be louder than both of them combined, which, believe me, was easier said than done. I like to think that I get most of my strength as a person today from them. In their own way, they made me become the kind of person who will fight to be heard.

People say a child’s first love is their parents, but I don’t think that’s true. I loved my parents, but it was my siblings who taught me the value of love to begin with. Loving someone is sharing a bathroom in the morning when you’re running late for school. It's helping get rid of the evidence together in the back yard when you smash your sister's artwork. Love is when your sister fights tooth and nail to defend you when your fingers broken at camp and the adults aren’t listening to you. Love is when your brother makes you feel beautiful even on your worst day and you feel ugly. Love is sharing a bunk bed with your sister who is glad you’re on the bottom because the monsters will eat you first. Love is anger, and love is tears, and most importantly love is forgiveness.

It was my siblings who taught me how to love, who taught me how to be strong. Because at the end of the day when Santa gave me rollerblades instead of making me an only child like I asked, I was thankful. I am so glad I was never an only child, because if there wasn’t a Myranda and a Cameron, there would be no Taylor.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Newton

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A Letter to the Girl I Was 3 Years Ago

"Strength grows in the moments when you think you can't go on but you keep going anyway."

  To the old me, 

The girl who worried too much about what other people thought of her, the girl who didn’t know what she was worth, the girl who was scared to be alone. 

I know it’s hard, you’re just starting out high school and what people think of you is SO important. You want to be accepted, you want to be liked. You alter the person you actually are, because you want to be the person everyone loves. Stop. It’s not worth it. In a couple years it won’t matter what everyone thought of you, because majority of those people wont stick around after you walk across that stage at graduation. They don’t care about you that much. Be yourself, because that is the best version you can be. You are beautiful just the way you are, you are special just the way you are. Be confident in who you are. Once you stop caring what others think, you will feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders and you will never want to go back.

And YOU, you are worth SO much, and that will be your biggest weapon one day knowing that and being confident in that. Stop letting people walk all over you and define who you are, and stop settling for less than you deserve. LOVE yourself first, CHOOSE yourself first, and everything else will fall into place. The most important relationship you can have is the one with yourself, and the one with the big Man upstairs. The mistakes you have made, and will continue to make, will never define your value as a person.  Once you discover your self value, you will know what you deserve and what you don’t deserve.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” –Psalm 139:13-14

I cant stress this enough: it is OK to be independent, it is OK to be alone. Honestly, you wont figure this one out for a while. You will go through relationship after relationship depending on guys for your happiness and that will be your source of self-validation, and that will get your heart broken at times. It happens, and its OK to learn from it. It is so important that you grow out of that, though. Work on yourself while you have the time, make yourself a better you for the right person that does come along, but most importantly, make yourself a better you for YOU. Be dependent on yourself and your faith for the happiness that you crave out of other people. Stop putting yourself through the heartbreaks, and just settling because you are afraid of being alone. Embrace it, and take advantage of it. 

To the girl that is the girl I used to be-

It’s never too late to realize things need to change. It’s never too late to rid yourself of the negativity, and all of the things holding you back. You got this, I believe in you. Take it from the one girl who never thought she had it in her to become stronger. 

To the old me-

I wish that I could go back and hug you and let you know that you are so loved. You are so worth it. You are so special. You CAN do this. Everything you are going through and will go through will be so worth it, and to never EVER give up no matter how much you want to at times. I wish that I could’ve told you in a few years, you will be mentally and emotionally stronger than you have ever been, and everything that you are going through is just a phase.                                                                                  Life isn't always perfect. Life isn't always easy. Life doesn't always make sense, but thats the beauty of it.

Love,

Me, today. 

  



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Walking Through Campus In The Dark Made Me Realize Girls Should Be Helping Other Girls Feel Safer

I'm forever grateful for the girls who helped me feel safe.

If you're a girl, chances are doing certain things, like walking alone in the dark, can be kind of scary.

I needed to walk from the dorms to the Greyhound station downtown to catch a 7 a.m. bus, and if you've ever lived in the Pacific Northwest in the fall, you know some mornings it isn't light until almost 8 a.m. or later. I am not a morning person and neither were any of my friends, so I knew I would probably be going alone.

There aren't a lot of people out and about that early in the morning and, being a girl in today's world, walking alone in the dark makes me nervous.

I planned on calling a cab, but when it didn't show after 20 minutes, I knew I was going to have to walk. As I started walking, I thought about all the horror stories I've heard on the news, all the times I've been harassed and followed by strangers on the street, all the places I was walking that weren't well light or were in commercial areas with businesses that weren't open. I didn't have pepper spray, I don't know a lot of self-defense, and I felt like all I could really do was keep my head down, walk fast, and hope nothing bad happened.

I was more worried than I care to admit but I didn't really have any other options.

I was walking past Gamma Phi Beta's house, with my phone flashlight on and silently counting the blocks until reached the bus station, and at about the same time, two girls were leaving the house in workout gear, like they were headed out for a run. What caught me off guard was when they asked if I was okay and why I was walking by myself. I explained that I was headed to the Greyhound station and no one else was awake, so I was on my own.

Without any hesitation, they offered to walk with me, so I wouldn't be alone.

I can't even put into words how relieved and grateful I was. If they asked if I wanted them to walk with me, I probably would have said no because I wouldn't want to mess up their plans or be a burden, but they offered.

When we were walking, it felt like walking with friends, not like two friends begrudgingly walking a stranger as a favor. We talked about majors, binge-worthy Netflix shows, classes, and when we reached the bus station downtown, we went our separate ways.

I don't remember their names and I don't know if they'll ever know how much that meant to me, but I still think about it, over a year later, and it reminds me how important it is to look out for and support other girls.

Since I feel like I never got to thank them properly, I do it the best way I know how: by paying it forward. When I have the opportunity to do something to make another girl feel safer, whether that's walking with her, checking in with her at a party, or otherwise, I think it's important to do it.

No one understands the struggles girls face just by existing in our f*cked up world quite like other girls. It is so important for all of us to do our part to support and protect our community.

If you have the opportunity to help out someone else in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation, do it. You have no idea the impact it will have.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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