I am a sister.

I remember back in the 7th grade, riding on my way to a track meet in a Wylie ISD bus. I know it was 7th grade because my brother, Caleb, was on the bus with me - I realized I hated running not long after junior high. I was sitting just away from the cool kids crowd, but not quite in the loser section. My brother, as usual, was sitting directly in the middle of the coolest of the cool. Seeing my brother there, surrounded by girls I would never be as pretty as, and boys that would never consider me as a viable crush - I decided I wanted to do something to even the score. I used the one thing I did have over my brother - words. I told the entire bus my brother came out of the womb as a hermaphrodite (big word for a 7th grader, but like I said - words have always been my gift) and we named her/him Kayla/Caleb and let him decide when he was 10 whether he wanted to be a boy or girl.

Instant coolness. I joined in with everyone on the track bus laughing at my brother. I had the power - through a lie and a joke I was in, he was out. It is stories like this that defined my relationship with my brother. I tended to hang with the less cool, smart kids - while my brother became captain of the football, track and wrestling teams. I tried not to not let our lives overlap too much - but when they did I found myself to be petty, vindictive and downright nasty. I felt like Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde.

Thankfully my brother and I are now much better friends, in large part to a significant realization on my part. I am jealous of other people, and my coping mechanism for this is sabotage. I want to be the most liked, the favorite and if I'm not - I'll do almost anything to change the stakes. I have a hard time lifting people up in their own accomplishments without throwing a "me too" in there for good measure. I don't mind if people are getting praise - I just want it too, at the expense of whoever is around. It makes me sick to think about how many times my brother was on the receiving end of this fault - it's no wonder we didn't talk a majority of our college years...I would be glad to be rid of that kind of toxicity too.

Thankfully, a good dose of humility and time heals most things. My brother is now one of my favorite people - and I have on good authority I am one of his. I have found joy in his accomplishments and feel no need to stick a 'me too' anywhere in our conversations - just praise, love and some sisterly prodding for good measure.

I am a sister. I am learning to love without jealousy. I am looking forward to my brother's visit this fall.

Picture: The picture that sums it all up - him, a little higher and better; me, making it look good.

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