Dear Older Sister,
You've never been one for overt sappiness and public emotions that are captivated by letters like these, like I have. In fact, you could say we are almost polar opposites. As kids in school, I found a knack in history and English, but couldn't grasp the quadratic equation. You, on the other hand, soared through math, science, and even art. When we found ourselves in a predicament, I would run to Mom. You preferred to keep to yourself in your room. Let's not also forget the divide when we started to experiment with clothing. Any family friend or guest woud walk in the house and instantly think the same thing we all do: I was me, and you were you - that's all there was to it. Not that there was ever anything wrong with it (and certainly not to say that we never clashed heads from time to time).
Being 'little brother' was a constant role, and never one I was happy to play. As an attention-grabber, it was too easy for me to become envious of the achievements and accolades you were receiving before me. On too many occasions I found myself in my room, that I always thought was smaller than yours, and stewed in my jealousy over the fact that you were never as sick as me. You were you, and I was me. We are both adults now, and the dynamic we have has changed rapidly. You still make jokes about me. You still pronounce my name "Will-yam". We still play trivial pursuit. But even with such constants, I'm blessed to realize and know things I never did before. As an adult, I now know that there are treasures that lie in the fact that we are so different. Along with that, I've come to see that we aren't as different as I think from time to time.
Growing up in the environment we did taught me about me and you, and the value of our relationship. You raised me when you had to, when I was straying off the right path, or when I just needed a good lesson to have with me. But you didn't raise me in those areas because you simply felt like it. You did it because you know how it feels. Being the one to live it all first gave you the edge to detect what I was going through, even if I didn't come to you about it.
When Dad would act up and take it out on us, you knew it first. When anxiety and depression started to become a setback in our lives, you knew it first. When money was tight, you knew it first. When we had to suck up our emotions for the peace of the household, you knew it first. I always thought that it didn't affect you as much because you kept to your room and your headphones. But I know that isn't true.
I don't thank you enough, older sister.
I don't thank you enough for the lessons I learned through you, especially the lessons I never realized I learned through you. I never thank you for going through it all first, because you had no choice. We may have manifested our influences differently, but the pain we felt is the same. It still is. Even to this day, when I roll my eyes at you for keeping a close watch over me, I'll remind you 100 times that I'm an adult. But I don't tell you that I already know it won't change a thing.
The differences in you and I taught me more than I could ask for. You taught me to not worry about defining myself so much. You taught me to focus less on situations I had no control over. You reminded me that the best relationships were the ones that occurred naturally, and didn't require force. Most importantly, you never failed to remind me that everything was going to turn out just fine.
To this day, I carry the lessons you taught me on respecting women. You always sharply reminded me that women were not to be referred to as a "chick," but to say "young lady" or "girl". You were hasty to put me in my place when I called a girl "mine", citing that she was her own woman, and not to think possessively. I am a better person because of you.
Thank you for refusing to go to Jumpin' Jacks with me until I put on some jeans. Thank you for dealing with me putting you on the spot when I call in a crying panic. Thank you for keeping me from feeling awkward at your sorority parties. Thank you for always playing Trivial Pursuit with me.
Thank you for everything, Olivia. I love you.
Always your Doofkind,