She was perfect and I absolutely hated the way I looked…. We were both skinny, spoiled brats, but when it came time to “grow up” her legs got longer and her chest got bigger and I didn’t change at all. High school junior… still without a period, 98lbs, flat chested, with an overbite my braces did not cure. And, it was all I thought about. Constantly, I had to ensure my legs and arms were covered (I reluctantly gave in to my Dad buying a uniform skirt my senior year of high school, I preferred to hide behind the other school uniform options of khaki or black pants), I always crossed my legs when standing to try to hide their size, and most importantly I always needed a new way to make my chest appear larger. I was so unhappy.
Luckily, she was my best friend.
It was a weird dichotomy of feelings to have. She was asked to school dances, I wasn’t. She needed to go shopping for bras and tampons, I didn’t. Her self-esteem was always through the roof, mine wasn’t. She still had her mom… I didn’t… I wanted to hate her for being given the life she had, but I just loved her so much.
Now, since we’ve graduated high school and college, she constantly reminds me how proud she is of me and how much she has always looked up to me. It was something at the time I never would have understood. She had everything I wanted and all the while she saw things in me that she wanted as well. I always thank her and tell her that she doesn’t need to look up to me and that she’s doing just fine, but I’ve always been too ashamed to tell her that she was someone I wanted to be just like all my life. After all, I was the older cousin, I was supposed to be helping her through life. But, it just didn’t go that way in my mind.
Talking to you yesterday briefly on snapchat brought me here.
In your early teenage years you became beautiful, yes, but you were confident even before that. Confident during the braces and the baggy jeans that you always had to take in at the waist. I looked up to you for that.
You were an extrovert with ease. You did solos at dance recitals, talked to anyone without being awkward seconds after meeting them, and never had to force a smile. I looked up to you for that.
Boys were crazy for you! But… you paid them no attention if they didn’t know your worth. If you only knew how much I looked up to you for that.
You weren’t afraid of anything. You lived life to the fullest everyday, you accepted things that happened to us with grace, and you could see the beauty in all situations… I needed to look up to you for that.
Truth is, Monie… you had your life together hours and days and weeks and months and years before I could even stand to look in the mirror and like anything that I saw. You’re not just my sister-cousin and PIC, but my confidence and a shoulder to cry on when I didn’t have any “good things” inside to have for my own… The role model I always needed.
So, thank you.