Dear Big Sister,
You make up my foundations. I always feel stronger and more self-assured in your presence (which is largely now via FaceTime video).
Since we were little, I thought the highest of you. I would totter around, following all orders you sent my way. When it was time to “play school”, I would eagerly make sure to do my homework ready for you to get out your glitter gel pens to sensibly mark it. You were Ashley, I was Mary-Kate. You were the pink powderpuff girl, I was the green one (despite pink being the one I also liked best). I wouldn’t change any of the mornings I woke up two hours earlier to watch you play Sims. Never allowed to play myself, I would still be so excited to get to hang out with you before school and cherished the moments I got to instruct you to do something - “Can you make them “woo”?”
Fast forward a couple of years, it was time to act in your films. Thank you for forever casting me as the mean girl in your romantic comedies, I think I adopted the jealous characters to an Oscar-worthy level of talent. On the other hand, I was not such a fan of modelling nude for your A-level art project to be honest. It was a bit odd of you, to try to make a commentary on female domesticity while I posed naked holding pots and pans in place of my limbs. At least all the Queensgate girls that saw my naked body were very complimentary.
Sorry I went through a bit of an intolerant patch in our sisterhood. When you went off to USC and came back during Freshman year, I suddenly wanted to rebel against whatever you wanted to do and argue against everything you said. I put what I wanted to do first. I ran off to all my eighteenth birthday parties, hung out at every opportunity with my first boyfriend, and making you a second priority. I remember the breaking point: I didn’t want to watch old episodes of One Tree Hill. You were sitting on the couch, the night before heading back to college, and I said “I don’t like watching our old TV shows anymore, it’s a waste of time” and went up to bed. Mumma told me you cried. I thought you were being ridiculous and felt proud of myself for defending my corner.
When it was time for me to apply to college, I made sure USC was on the list. When I didn’t get in, I won’t forget how broken you sounded on the phone. It was so hard knowing that despite already being so far from home, we would still be far away from each other in the US - a five hour flight to be exact.
The semester you were in London while I was at Duke made me realise how hard it must’ve been your first two years. Always too early or too late, the FaceTimes would never go through. I would avoid looking at your snapchats to escape how left out I would feel seeing Pappa making an off-Swedish joke, Mumma falling asleep at dinner, or you snuggling Tiffany on the couch. Thankfully, you came back to USC and the time difference of 3 hours seemed blissful. We were back in the same country again, despite being on opposite sides.
Every time I get into one of my moods you always know how to snap me out of it. You make me realise how ludicrous I’m being, and make me laugh even when I thought I was really sad. You’re my biggest advocate, and make me feel like I’m gorgeous and talented.
You’re the only person in this world that’s grown up just like me. I would be so lonely without you, so please never leave my side.
Hopefully I will get to LA soon, or if I’m defending my little corner, you’ll move to wherever I end up.
Art by Natalia Mesa