My older sister, Noemi, was born a year and two weeks before me. Growing up, my mom insisted on dressing us in the same outfits, with the same haircuts and calling us twins. I didn’t want to be her twin. I wanted to be my own person. Eventually, we grew too old for our mom to have control over our wardrobe and we started drifting apart.

Throughout middle school, Noemi and I weren’t close. We acted like usual teenagers: bickering about stolen clothes, starting fights for no real reason, etc. It wasn’t until the middle of high school that Noemi and I became actual friends, not just sisters.

Despite our many phases, Noemi has always acted like she’s younger than me. Noemi recently turned 22 and I’ll be turning 21 soon. She has always been the one to act impulsively. Even though she’s a young woman, she still loves like a teenager. She enjoys silly videos, having a collection of stuffed penguins and has her mind in the clouds.

I have always been the one helping her with homework, being a mentor with my parents when she gets in trouble and have even shown her tough love. Noemi may not always be in the loop of politics, the economy and such, but she definitely has her life figured out. She’s just a child at heart.

Noemi is an extrovert who likes to go out to parties, have a good time and come home late. I am the complete opposite. A good night for me would be watching a great movie, reading a good book, pampering myself and eating ice cream. We don’t discriminate against each other’s past times and that’s what I love about our relationship. We can be our own persons.

Being so close in age has helped us grow up together. We haven’t taken the same choices, but have ended up in similar situations. We lean on each other in times of stress and celebrate with one another in joyous occasions. She is my twin at heart. She’s dealt with the countless times I’ve been too hard on myself over schoolwork and relationships. I’ve been the person she comes to for venting about work and her fears about the future.

When our two younger sisters act out, we join forces and tell them stories about when we were growing up. Our parents were stricter with Noemi and I. We share memories and even fill in gaps when one of us can’t remember a particular moment.

Noemi is what I’m not. She’s a constant reminder not to take life so seriously. She’s taught me that a person can be a mess and still have a grip on their life. Noemi may think she’s still 16 but there’s nothing wrong with that. I know she’s going to be a great mother in the future. She’s a strong woman who has dealt with more than she likes to admit. Despite all the bumps in the road, Noemi continues on without caring what anyone else thinks.

With Noemi I don’t feel like her younger sister because we’ve been together since day one.