So, I’m starting out with a question. Do you have someone in your life from your childhood that completely changed how you turned out as a person? I’m going for more positive vibes, but negatively would work too. When I think about this question, I definitely have a few people that come to mind. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and luckily enough someone I knew as a child, who is my best friend today. However, I want to focus on one of those people. My brother. The only sibling I was ever graced with. Honestly, I always wanted a sister. No offense to my brother, it’s not like I didn’t want him. It's just that I’m the baby of the family and I always wanted another sibling who would just happen to be a sister. I begged my parents, who explained to me that even if they had another child they wouldn’t be able to control what gender it would be. So, eventually, I stopped begging. There are many reasons that I wanted a sister. I just wanted someone who I could talk about clothes with, we could fix each other’s hair, and it would be like a slumber party every night. Side note, from what I’ve heard having a sister goes a lot deeper than that. Anyways, what I got was totally different, and if you’re a female who grew up with a brother, especially an older brother, you will understand what I’m about to share. Growing up with a brother was very interesting, in many ways. We’re talking about the one person who loved to torture me, but hated to admit that he in fact enjoyed playing with me and may have actually even loved me. Gasp! By the time I was at least six, I could throw and catch a baseball, play basketball (I didn’t say well), and I knew just how to wrap my little fingers around a football appropriately, and exactly where I should be touching the laces in order to make it soar the most effective way. Also, I could’ve bought myself a new Skip-It, if you don’t know what that is it’s worth a Google, if I had a dollar for every wrestling move my brother had practiced on me. I was just waiting to get someone in a figure four.
However, having a brother wasn’t all daisies and roses. We were five years a part, which today at this point in our lives doesn’t make that much of a difference, but for a little girl who’s brother hit the teenage years really fast, it seemed like we were thirty years a part. I would get mad that he was allowed to do things like cross the street and go play with the neighbors when I had to ask permission just to play with my friend who lived next door. Not to mention the fact that we argued just like all siblings do. We aggravated each other just to do it, and tortured each other on the reg, but I must go back to my original point. Because this is about how growing up with a brother changed my life positively. He showed me how to be tough by making me tougher, how to be protective by being protective over me, and how to do things outside of what societal standards say little girls should do. So, I thank him. Without that toughness that he helped me develop, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I wouldn’t have been able to handle all of the many things that I have went through in life. I've noticed this just more recently, when I've had to stand up for myself and those I love instead of being "polite" and quiet. It made all the difference. So thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to like Barbies AND football, and how to beat the little boys when they challenged me to play Mercy.
Almost all photo creds go to the guy at Belk. Circa 1990-1995.