Love + Sex, Love

My sister was there for me, even when I wasn’t

None of my friends had curfews, and none of them seemed to have concerned parents, either.

Ever since I can remember, my sister has looked out for me. My parents have always been there for me too, but it’s different with my sister.

When I was a senior in high school, I hung out with friends who drank and smoked. I ignored my 11 p.m. curfew, eventually persuaded my parents to push it to midnight, and ignored that too. Even more frequently than my parents, my sister would text me throughout the night asking where I was and when I would be home. None of my friends had curfews, and none of them seemed to have concerned parents, either. While she was wondering about my whereabouts, my friends were wondering what her deal was. Why was my sister so concerned?

She and I look alike, but we’re very different. She’s really preppy, loves shopping, and is a homebody. I’m the opposite; my style’s off, I avoid shopping centers, and I crave adventure. She is extremely caring and shows it by showering all of us with gifts when there’s no occasion, and she keeps constant contact through text and calls (she lives with her husband now). For some reason, I’m uncomfortable with being openly affectionate. I love my family members, but I just have a hard time showing it. Growing up, I followed my sister’s every move. I wanted to dress like her, talk like her, walk like her, the whole nine yards. I even selected my college major in her footsteps. She was perfect in my eyes.

My sister and I have always been extremely close. We each had our own room, but I would spend countless nights “sleeping over” in her room just so we could stay up late, talking and laughing, especially when I went away to college. Then, I only had summers at home, and I remember how much fun we would squeeze into the short summer breaks.

As my college relationships grew stronger, the relationships I had with my family members suffered. I was never very good at initiating conversation with them, but they always remembered to text and call daily. We were always in touch, but I wasn’t the one keeping it up.

After graduating, I dealt with a lot of guilt and anxiety about my relationship with my family. They had given so much to me, never wronged me, and I was barely hanging on to them. I just seemed angry all the time when I was home. I missed my privacy after having so much personal space at school, and I took any kind of negative emotion I felt out on them, because they were always right in front of me. I prayed for patience, but I found myself gritting my teeth and getting frustrated at really stupid things.

I felt my guilt from regrets eating away at me and finally decided to confide in my sister after suppressing the issue for so long. I was surprised by how receptive she was. Opening up to her helped me put the past in the past and reflect on the choices I’ve made. We talked about religion, family life, growing up, marriage, work, and everything in between. Before, I had been so hesitant out of fear of being judged. My family had never judged me in the past, so I was stupid to think that it would be different now. Talking about things really helped me break the ice that had formed while I was away at school and slipped away from our relationship.

My sister is one person who has always been there for me. She was there when I was in high school hanging out with the wrong crowd, and she was there throughout my college career, despite my not returning an ear, and she’s here now, regardless of any foolish decisions I’ve made. She’s the one who pushes me to realize my potential and rid myself of insecurities. She’s one of the strongest people I know. She shrugs her shoulders at things that most people would be preoccupied with, and she makes significant sacrifices for those she cares for.

Some nights ago, we finally watched Frozen together after having waited an agonizing few months since it’s release. (SPOILER ALERT) I had to hide my tears when the younger sister sacrificed herself to save her older sister. It was the act of true love that ended up saving the two of them. The whole movie reminded me of my sister and me, but with reversed roles. I am Elsa, the sister who had isolated herself to hide her shameful secrets. My sister is Anna, the younger one who risked her life time and time again to help her sister and bring her back home.

My sister is my very best friend. She is the person I trust over anyone else, and the only person who really understands me, sometimes even more than I understand myself. Thank you, Samirah, for always being here as my mentor and my friend.