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Dear fourteen year old sis,

I know this might be awkward  for you to discuss with your much older sister. I know you don’t like to bring personal subjects up because it makes you feel violated or maybe like I’m just going to tell you what to do and judge you for thinking different. My 14-year-old sis, I just want you to realize that is not my intention at all. I want to be as open with you as I possibly can. And more than anything being open means that I have to be honest with you. I will lay out my opinion about the matter and I will suggest what I feel would be the best decision for you based on my own experiences. But at the end of the day it will always be your choice. People can nag you, judge you, tell you what to do, tell you what not to do, criticize you, point fingers and make you feel small, or slutty, or make you feel like something you are not, but at the end of the day the decision is always yours. People are going to say what they want or what they think is right, but you’ll figure out someday that none of that matters. It is all gibberish really. The only person with control over your body is ultimately, you.

I know you feel alone. Probably more so than ever since I’m in New York living my grown up/city life and our brother is in West Virginia finishing up his degree and getting ready for law school. It is funny, cause even though I had my brother there all the time to hang out, fight, and talk to, and even though I had the little six-year-old you to play with and look after I have felt alone. I have felt like I was the only one in the house trap in a corner of webs with nowhere to go and the only way to break out of it was to rebel my way out. I remember what it was like to be in High school, to not feel pretty enough, to not feel good enough, to not feel smart enough. I remember not trying out for cheerleading freshman year because I felt too small and everyone would make fun of my skinny legs in that short red skirt and think I wasn’t cheerleader “worthy”. I’m happy you had the guts to try out and make it yourself. I already see a much better version in you than I did in myself. I was simply a teenager with a very low self-esteem. I was a teenager without balls to say, “eff what you think I should look like!!!”. As you know I eventually did join sports, volleyball to be exact, JROTC, yearbook committee, and other school clubs. The confidence to do it all didn’t come till later in high school when I finally made the decision that I needed to go to college, and in order to do so I needed to be more active. And that is actually what I regret the most about high school, not giving my all-ALL THROUGH out high school. I didn’t get to show people who I really was. I was too TIMID to break out of the circle of popularity and “fitting in”. You live and you learn right? Once I finally built some courage in my bones, I was never the same.

I am, as I hope you are aware, a much better person being exactly who I am and embracing it to the world. I hope you have more than bite size courage, I hope you have enough BOLDNESS in you to do what is right for you and you only. I hope you have the guts to start your own path instead of following the girls who talk too much, who do too much, who go out too much, and barely have parental supervision, or even goals in life. I hope more than anything you pull an invisible middle finger to whoever dares not to see how worthy you are. If you haven’t grown some courage to do so yet, that is what I am here for. Let’s just say, I’ve been there done that and can now run a little gutsy encouragement down your tracks of life. This is really an introduction to what I hope would become a better way to communicate our frustrations from sister to sister, from teenager to woman, or even from woman to teenager. I may be a better person than I was in high school but I still have a lot to figure out. We are all a work in process, and that is okay. 

I love you forever,

your big sister.