An Open Letter to My Big Sister

An Open Letter to My Big Sister

We've fought, screamed, cried, and loved, but hey, it's what we do.

Dear Big Sister,

First of all, I need to thank you so much for everything you have done for me this far in my life. I am so proud of you. I don't give you a lot of credit for the things you did that pushed me to be a better person, but I am glad that you did. So thank you, sister.

Sometimes I wish we were little again. I wish we still shared a bathroom and screamed at each other for taking too much time in the mornings. I wish you still french-braided my hair, and sometimes, I even wish that you still picked out my clothes. Thank you for not letting me wear my hair in a ponytail every day. Thank you for teaching me about other clothing options. Thank you for being the loudest fan at my volleyball games. I'm sorry that I didn't fully appreciate you when we were younger. I'm sorry that I pushed your buttons and tattled on you frequently. I'm sorry that I stole your clothes and slept with you until the age of 12 (I swear your bed was more comfortable than mine). And ultimately, I'm sorry that I didn't realize how valuable your time was. I wish I would've spent more time with you.

I am so proud of you for following your heart, for doing what you love. You have always put people before yourself, and you never fail to be a consistent friend, sister, and daughter. I'm proud of you for being tough and for fighting for yourself. I'm proud of you for fighting for yourself and for the people you love. Your future still has a lot in store, and I am rooting for you every single day. I can't wait to stand beside you when you marry the man of your dreams and when I marry mine. I can't wait for our kids to play together, and I can't wait to be the fun Aunt. Most of all, I can't wait to live five minutes from you instead of 26 hours.

Thank you for wrestling with me when I wasn't being the person I needed to be. Thank you for calling me out on my crap and still loving me through it. Thank you for calling me even when I don't call back. Thank you for being there when I have nobody else to turn to. Thank you for being what a big sister should be, even if I never told you that I needed you.

The truth of the matter is that you've been my best friend through it all. You are the one who cares for me effortlessly, and I know that if we weren't family, it'd still feel like we were. We didn't always like each other growing up, and there are days that we will still gripe and complain at each other, but that's what sisters do. Thank you for being mine by chance. Thank you for loving me by choice. I love you so so so much, sister. Thank you for helping me become my best self!



Cover Image Credit: Julia Qualls

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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When You Give A Girl A Sister

She is my built-in best friend from the Lord.


She is my answered prayer, but I began as hers, literally. She prayed for me in the bathtub at the age of 7 years old, and she specifically asked God for a baby sister. A majority of our family thought that I was a boy, but the Lord and Rebekah had other plans. From the beginning, we were meant to be together.

She is 7 years older than me, but the average person cannot tell that by the way we act together. We laugh, scream, and talk a little (maybe a lot) too loud. She holds the key to my heart.

Today, we were on the phone and I cried to her. I did not cry tears of sadness, but of pure joy. I cried because we were talking about all of our plans for the weekend and a possible hike on Monday after my first final. It is conversations like those that remind me of where I came from and why I never want to forget my roots.

I grew up in a very close family, and my sister and I are the epitome of close. She knows exactly when to call me or just come over to cheer me up. She is the first person I call when anything happens, whether it is good or bad. She is my true bestie.

We no longer live in the same house as each other, but distance makes these hearts grow fonder. Each time we get to see each other is like the first time, but it always gets better.

We normally don't go a long time without each other, but if I'm being honest, sometimes it feels like FOREVER. We may grow up, move, get married, have nieces and nephews for each other, but we will always be sisters first (this is a reference to a book that she gave me a while back as a Christmas gift about our favorite set of sister).

Rebekah, I love you more than you could ever know. You have gotten married and left the nest, but my love for you as my sister will never leave, but instead, it will always grow. I cannot wait to see you soon (probably tomorrow, actually).

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