today i saw pictures of you on your myspace and suddenly you’re no longer my forever-three-year-old sister but this young woman. with a whole lot of style.
seeing you brightened up my day and almost instantly i was flooded with memories of you. i remembered sitting with roshan in that new york city hospital waiting room, hoping and praying that mum was okay…that YOU were okay. and luckily you both were. well, except for mum’s broken leg. and my paranoia of getting mugged again.
i remember the day you were born. i was at school and i got a call to the office. i left school early and came to the hospital to give you your first bath. maybe i did a bad job of it, since you are the only person i know that doesn’t really like taking showers. or hot water in general.
carrying you around was like having the best accessory. you were smiley and adorable. raven black hair, big expressive eyes, and a winning personality. i really don’t remember you crying or throwing tantrums…perhaps it was because you got so much attention you didn’t need to act out. on weekends mum would put you in bed next to me and i’d wake up to your huge batty eyelashes grazing my face. i felt like the luckiest big sister in the world.
i definitely remember the day i came home to the makeup massacre. you’d taken all my lip glosses and mashed them all up together. i was left with a sticky mess and i wasn’t allowed to be mad at you because you had no idea what you were doing. but i was still mad.
when you were three years old i went away for university and then to israel and then lived in maine. and while i was away you grew up. you started school, made friends, fell in love animals, became addicted to msn, began taking flute lessons, suffered the loss of numerous birds you had as pets, and i can’t help but feel dissapointed that i wasn’t there for all that growing. that i just got to experience you in bite size portions once a year…
the last few months in australia we probably spent the most time together. after all we were living in a shed. so it was natural that we would bond. i loved dragging you with me on walks with henry around the neighborhood. it was on those walks that we really talked to each other. and it felt amazing being able to confide in you. and have you do the same.
there are things i want to tell you. things that i hope you can learn from my experiences and not have to go through yourself. but i also know that we all have to forge our own paths and that involves making mistakes. but i’m still going to tell you some of the things that i wish someone had sat me down and told me at fourteen.
firstly, school does matter and before you stop reading this and switch to youtube hear me out…what matters the most about school is finding out what you are good at, and becoming excellent at it. whatever that is. i really wish that instead of following the crowd and doing the conventional thing by going to the same uni all my friends did, that i had gone to a film school. it was something i had always wanted and yet i picked the safer option, the reputable school, the generic bachelors degree. don’t get me wrong, i loved uni…but did i come out with any tangible skills? um. no. i did get to skim read a lot of books and write a lot of papers about things i didn’t care about. so. find out what it is you love. and find out what you need to do, in order to do what you love. and if that happens to be fashion design school in italy. then get yourself to italy. i’ll always back you up if you are doing things you are passionate about. don’t settle for mediocre.
the same goes for the people you let into your life…choose wisely and treat them well. i know that at fourteen you think that the friends you have now will be there forever. and some of them might. but the majority you will lose touch with. even in the days of myspace. because life goes on and you will always make more friends and the more friends you make, some of them drop off your radar…and one day you realize that you have no idea where that girl is that you talked to every day on the phone for three hours during highschool. on the other hand, there will be friends that you are making now that will be in your life, FOR life. those are the special few that you carve out a place for in your heart. don’t take them for granted. don’t let distance or different life paths come between you. some of my closest friends i have had since i was 8 years old. and to this day we still talk, and i’m so grateful to have them as constants in my life.
laugh. a lot. and surround yourself with people that make you laugh. and smile.
be kind. highschool involves so much drama. try and rise above it. don’t try to make anyone feel inferior to you. or leave someone out of your circle. don’t worry so much about being popular. if you are who i know you to be, you will always be a magnet for friends. you don’t need to cut anyone down. you’re not in competition with anyone else. you are unique and no one compares to you.
and as for boys. well all i can say about this is call me. whenever. i will always listen. i can’t promise that i won’t try to give you advice. or that i won’t hold you accountable to some pretty high standards…but i will listen.
hug mum and dad and tell them that you love them. at least as much as you do your friends.
drink lots of water.
trust your intuition. if you are in a situation that feels wrong, get out of it. there is always another option. there is nothing that you ever HAVE to do.
ask for what you need. but ask nicely.
don’t spend too many hours in front of a screen. there is a real world out there. interact with it. go for walks. do cartwheels down long empty hallways, experience how much better food tastes when you are outside, plant a tree, create art, stretch, find one author you love and read all of their books, sing along with the radio, be honest with others and yourself.
above all, know that i love you and i am. always. here. for. you.