My sister, Stephanie, and I are as polar opposite as you can imagine. She is athletic, beautiful, introverted, and street-smart. I am artistic, awkward, extroverted, and book-smart. Growing up, we clashed daily and gave our parents a run for their money. However, through everything we did to each other (including multiple death threats, stealing each others’ everything, and constantly beating each other up) we always, ALWAYS loved each other. She is both my foil and my soulmate.
Which made it incredibly hard to ever share with her that I was struggling to make it through each day. I wanted to be her strong big sister- the person she could always rely on, the person she could look up to. If anything was ever to take that away, I was worried that I would lose prestige in her eyes. I wouldn’t be as important. She would forget about me. Ever since I moved away for college, then graduate school, and now for my first job, I have feared that we would end up like so many siblings- distant and unconnected. She was my first and my best friend. What if my mental illness scared her away?
“The should haves and what ifs will eat your soul.”
After being a part of ‘This Is My Brave’, I knew it was just a matter of time before she found out that I had been hiding such a big secret from her. So, like any terrified adult, I made the grown-up decision to send her a link to this blog and then run away, anxiously awaiting her response. A response that would actually have me laughing, instead of crying like I had anticipated…
“You ain’t gotta hide yourself. People got shit going on in their lives and no one should be ashamed to hide anything. In a world full of Bruce Jenners, be a Caitlyn.” -Stephanie
That’s my sister, y’all. Accepting, loving, and a little weird. 23 years of putting up with one another and I should have expected nothing less from her. I think she always had an understanding that something was not quite right, but that wasn’t necessarily important to her. Our relationship is stronger than anything that life may throw at us- mental illness, distance, whatever. I will always be Stephanie’s big sister; however, it seems like I still have a lot to learn from her. Thank you, Nan.