Anyone who has known me and my sister for an extended period of time can tell you we haven't exactly been the best of friends. Between the ages of about eleven and seventeen, my sister and I fought frequently, bickered even more frequently, and generally caused each other a lot of pain. This knowledge is something I not only constantly carry, but something that I am persistently haunted by. I was not the friend my sister deserved, and neither was she.
But she was also still my sister, and for that I always loved her. Today is national sibling day, and I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a good sister. Though I know I wasn't always that to my sister, I do believe the past year has taught me a lot about what it means to be a good sister, or a good sibling in general.
In high school, many of my sister's and my fights revolved around wanting what was best for the other. While I always wanted my sister to be able to see more in herself, I believe she wanted me to pull myself out of an often self-inflicted misery that I was prone to getting caught up in. What I interpreted as scorn and scolding was always in the interest of helping me grow and feel better. I may not have known it at the time, but just like all I wanted was for my sister to be happy, that was all I imagine she wanted for me.
This year I've only seen Corinne once since going to college, and I can honestly and proudly say that I immensely enjoyed every second we spent together during that time. After a long phase of fights, misunderstandings, and difference, I finally feel like my sister and I are standing on common ground and are capable of being positive influences in each other's life.
Though I wish I could redo and take back many of the things that happened between me and my sister in high school, I also believe this growth and transformation in our relationship has been critical in deepening my understanding of how much I truly value my sister.
For those of you who don't know her, Corinne is a total badass. She's wicked intelligent, driven, clever, ridiculously uplifting when in a good mood, and the most conscientious person I know. If you'll allow me the privilege of bragging for a second (somewhere at Princeton my sister is cringing knowing that I am publicly praising her and god forbid drawing attention to her accomplishments), Corinne not only is pursuing an incredibly difficult and meaningful degree in chemical engineering at Princeton University, but also doing so while simultaneously making a huge commitment to her school paper, her love of service, and her friends. In high school Corinne raised tens of thousands of dollars for an incredible nonprofit, was our class salutatorian, and also somehow tolerated chauffeuring her permitted but not licensed sister to school every day. She's funny, compassionate, and committed to putting others before herself. I'll stop, because I could do this forever. My sister is a rock star.
But I've always known that. What I didn't realize until this year was how profoundly my sister and my relationship with her has impacted me. My sister's dedication to honesty, hard work, and humility has guided me to not only to value but also to seek out those qualities in others. Her ability to empathize with those she has nothing in common with has embedded in me a deep respect for others, that I attribute largely if not entirely to seeing her emotional reaction to others' pain. But mostly, her love and support, though often given implicitly rather than explicitly, has reminded me that I always have someone to turn to, and a place where I will always belong. Though being a twin has been awful and frustrating at many times, it is a blessing I would never ever trade, because it has given me another half, a person to whom I will always be important.
Rin, if you read this, I love you with all my heart. And my toes, and my spleen, and whatever other parts of my body can contain love for you because we share a ton of DNA and whatnot. While I may have failed at cherishing you enough in high school, know that I miss you and think of you every day.
That's what I think it means to be a sister. Not always to like each other, be good to each other, and help each other, but to always love each other deeply and know that you are never without your sister because you can never be without the impact they've made in your life.
Much love to you, Corinne. Happy national sibling day.
PS: Sorry for writing about you on the internet.