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This is my open letter of apology to my sister

Growing up, I had only a few friends. From the ages of twelve to sixteen, I had a grand total of three people I would talk to and even then, I only felt comfortable messaging one out of these three friends. But, the one consistent person in my life has always been my older sister, someone I owe a big apology to. 

When we were younger, my older sister and I were often called twins – we were so in-sync all the time whether it was sentences, responses, or even emotions. My sister is in fact just under two years older than I am and although she can be a bit up herself for being the older sibling at times, I can’t say I’ve never connected with her even though my sister was always a little more sympathetic to things than I was or even still am; if I shed a tear, she shed a waterfall. 

Exhibit A; I slipped headfirst into the side of the building and got a concussion at school one time in year three and she cried more than I did as she went off to get a teacher who basically told her to calm down because not a single coherent word was coming out of her mouth. Though I had to stay home battling a throbbing headache for the upcoming weeks, my sister would spend her time at school making get well soon cards for me and coming home to just sit with me. 

I remember when she was leaving primary school and on her last day, I was filled with dread because I realized that if I now had a spat with my friends, I couldn’t run off to my sister. She was now going to be somewhere that would require me to climb out of the school gates undetected, crossroads safely and not get kidnapped by the white van that appears to be everywhere. Far too much effort for the kid who barely got off the sofa once she sat down.

I got through that year anyhow and remember my sister giving me a pep talk before my first day of secondary school with the same sentence over and over: “I’m there if you need me.” It got really sour, really fast. 

Although undiagnosed at the time, social anxiety has always been a lifelong struggle of mine and I always took comfort in familiarity in my surroundings. I expressed to my sister how nervous I was about starting school on our walk there and she agreed for both of us to meet during break time in the school canteen. The first day had already been awful for me with the highlight of it realizing that I would be picked on by this one girl for the next five years. Her reason? She thought I was ugly. 

As I sat at a table waiting for my sister, a group of girls from my class walked past me making comments about how ‘ugly’ I was. I became the focal point of their laughter when my sister walked up to me and gave me a hug asking how my first few lessons were. I was suddenly torn between being in my safe space and fitting in – would I have been spared the embarrassment if I didn’t talk to my sister? I didn’t know it wouldn’t matter either way; the class bullies ran with it, teasing me relentlessly for the next five years. 

I got teased for a myriad of things during my time at secondary school, but it was all largely in comparison to me and my sister. She was tall, fairer-skinned (colorism at its finest), pretty, and above all, skinny. It didn’t help that she was also smart so whenever we had the same teachers, I would have to face comparisons by the teachers which would just become more ammunition for the class bullies. One girl in my class spread the rumor that I was adopted because there was no way one sister could be so beautiful and the other one so ugly. Another girl told me that my sister should be embarrassed to have such a fat sibling. The comments only got more demeaning from there.

I took it all out on my sister. I started arguing with her every morning so she would leave for school without me and purposefully get out of class really late so I wouldn’t have to walk home with her. Everything anyone has ever bought me down for, I would blame on her and I made sure she knew it. I bullied my own sister for my insecurities and that is a regret that will haunt me for the rest of my life. I regret my actions especially because my sister is a kind soul who has only ever encouraged me and waited patiently for me to work through any issues I was having.

It wasn’t until I got out of secondary school that I realized how awful I had been to someone who had never been mean to me – we came out of school with an overwrought relationship on my behalf. The road to healing has been long but my sister deserves to know that none of it was her fault and if I could undo it, I would.

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BRB Gone Viral Pop Culture

Serena Williams wrote a letter to her mom, and we love every word of it

In case you don’t have access to Facebook or any way to view the news, Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, in early September 2017.

It’s her first child with fiancé Alexis Ohanian.  Serena recently wrote an open letter to her own mother, Oracene Price, in which she thanks her and marvels at how her mom dealt with all the ignorant (read: racist and sexist) bullshit Serena faced when she was a young tennis player.  Serena also affirms and celebrates black womanhood and beauty and lets readers know in no uncertain terms that she loves her own body.  Her open letter is a tribute to motherhood, black women, body positivity, and female strength.

Serena and her sister, Venus Williams, started playing tennis at the age of 3.  By entering and then dominating the world of tennis, the sisters disrupted a traditionally “white space,” and fans, announcers, parents, and players weren’t happy about it.  They faced racism and extreme degradation  throughout their careers; they were made acutely aware, from the beginning, that black bodies had no place on a tennis court.

Over the years, the media has brought attention to Serena’s body, critiquing her muscles, complaining that she “doesn’t look like a woman,” and generally shaming her because of her strong build.  She’s a high-performing athlete and the best tennis player in the world. Do people not expect her to have the body of such?

More recently, John McEnroe stated that while Serena Williams may be the best female player, she would be ranked significantly lower if she played against men.  Serena shut his ass down and then went back to focusing on her pregnancy.

These are the reasons why her letter to her mother is so poignant.

She starts out the letter by reveling in the fact that her newborn daughter has the “same strong, muscular, powerful, sensational arms and body” as she does.  After almost 3 decades of hearing misogynistic insults and accusations of being too muscular, she hasn’t wavered in her love and acceptance of her own body.  She celebrates it in its entirety.

She goes on to wonder how her mom didn’t “go off” on every bigoted asshole who disrespected and dismissed Serena and didn’t understand “the power of a black woman.”


Powerful black women in America have always been feared, hated, and degraded.  They have to work 4 times as hard as white women and still get ridiculed.  John McEnroe’s disgusting comment solidifies this reality.  It doesn’t matter that Serena is the most decorated tennis player of her time and probably even in the history of tennis.  She’s black and she’s female, so she still isn’t good enough.

She goes on to thank her mom for being such a great role model and expresses that she hopes she can have the same fortitude as her.  Throughout the letter, but at this point in particular, she reveals the strength in mother-daughter relationships.  Serena clearly admires Oracene for her unwavering support and guidance, and it’s obvious that her mother has served as a major support system for Serena throughout her life.

Alexis Olympia comes from a long line of strong, talented, no bullshit-taking women.  Much like Oracene’s positive influence on Serena, I’m sure Serena will inspire, guide, and teach Alexis.  I don’t think Alexis could ask for a more grounded mother.
Tech Now + Beyond

My Playstation 3 saw me through love and heartbreak – and it healed my life

Dear Playstation 3,

Hello, it’s me. I know this is kind of awkward considering how long it’s been, but I want you to know that I’m still here thinking about you. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t remember the fun times we’ve had together and how much they meant to me.

I wanted to write to you to tell you how much I appreciate everything we’ve been through. You’ve given me so much and I never really took the time to tell you that I am grateful.

I know we got off to a rocky start. I didn’t want you at first, I would have rather received an iPhone that Christmas. It was selfish, really. My mom was just trying to give us all a good year, a different year. We’d been struggling for so long and all she wanted was to see us happy.

But when I opened you I felt hesitant. How could I, a quiet Indian girl, ever be comfortable with something like you?

So I gave it a few days, you remember. We glared at each other across the room, knowing that the time had to come where I’d plug you in and discover what you had to offer. Do you remember the first game we played? It was God of War III, right? Damn, that feels like so long ago. Do you remember how I couldn’t get past the first boss? I’m sure you were cringing, wondering exactly what you were in for.

You know, it took us a while but I think I got the hang of it pretty fast. I’d never even played a Playstation before that, but there was something about it that felt so natural. I remember leaning back and forth on the couch, moving my head in the direction of the camera. I must have looked so ridiculous; not much has changed.

I remember the first time I introduced you to Wade.

You remember him, right? Well, we’re getting married now and it’s pretty surreal. I’m only 21 years old, Playstation 3, but I know I’ve found the right person for me. They’re beautiful in every way possible, and I think I owe a lot of our relationship to you.

I never told you but the first presents we ever bought one another were Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time. It’s six years later and we still talk about how much that game meant to us. In between turns, we’d sneak kisses (sorry), hoping it would lead to something more (sorry, again).

And you were there when things weren’t so perfect.

I remember crying, putting you on and watching the blue screen flicker on the wall. I was just coming to terms with my sexuality at the same time that I thought I would lose Wade forever. We were both so young, I don’t think we knew what we were doing.

And you remember her, don’t you? The girl I fell in love with. She was everything to me and when it was over I felt broken. I’d only introduced you to her once or twice, but I know you liked her just as much as I did.

But through all the confusion and heartbreak you were always there. It sounds so dramatic but when I had no one I always knew that I could come home to you. There were days when I would sit in a bathroom stall in school and cry till my eyes felt raw, but I kept the thought of you in mind. I knew that when I got home we could laugh together. I knew you could take me somewhere other than here.

Then university came and, well, so did the Playstation 4.

I know we don’t talk anymore. We don’t go on adventures like we used to. I know you might feel like I just tossed you out but I never forgot what it was like when it was just you and me.

I remember the way it felt playing my first game. I remember showing my mom and dad how to play The Last of Us. I remember looking up articles written by white, cis-heterosexual men and smiling because I knew they could never understand what it was like to be someone like me with something like you.

The truth is you taught me how to love myself. You gave me that sweet childlike innocence and fun that I can only remember experiencing before that man touched me.

You taught me to forget about the world and just be me.

I’ll always appreciate you, Playstation 3. Thank you for showing me that a girl like me with skin like mine and experiences like those can still be happy.