I’ve known Rhyn for a long time, but only recently did we start writing together at a cafe in our Eastlake neighborbood with a bunch of other writers. Her writing style, honesty, and sense of humor prompted me to invite her to be part of this series.
She is a talented, evocative artist, and you’ll be able to see that in her writing. You might want to have a tissue handy for this one. It made me cry.
BECAUSE I KNEW YOU – by Rhyn
When we were growing up you always
Looked like you were having such fun
You always were and you always
Will be the taller and the prettier one
People seem to love you
They gravitate towards you
That’s why I started to hate you so much
And I just completely ignored you
-Lily Allen (Back to The Start)
To the outsider’s eye, we were almost identical. Our coloring, our hair, body shape, blood in our veins, same bedroom… Ignoring the 7+ years difference between us, we were very close in so many ways.
But what if I didn’t want that?
She started off as my idol. I couldn’t imagine anything greater than being exactly who she was, I wanted my goals set the same as hers. I wanted all of my clothes to be perfect, just like hers. All the things she did I wanted to do just as well as her. She was brilliant, in my young child eyes all I could see was my parents’ praise for her. She had it all figured out, and I was going to as well. How can one compete with a sister seven years your senior? Here’s a hint.
As the years progressed, I changed from worshiping the ground she walked on, to leaving obstacles to get in her path. The more I grew up, I viewed our similar appearances as my own personal curse from God. How could he create me to look like someone I was so different from? Was this his sick sense of humor? I wanted to change everything. I wanted no relation to that girl. All she seemed to do was make my future more like purgatory. Every scholarship she got, every award, accomplishment, graduation, was one more thing to add to the heavy lead list of things I might not be. The thought of failing expectations came out in my nightmares, trapping me against a mirror that didn’t show me my reflection, but hers. Every morning I’d wake only to just to sleep in longer till she left, or run out to avoid anything that reminded me of who I wasn’t, or was.
Why did this have to happen to me?
Why did she have to be my sister? Why did she have to be so damn flawless? Why, why, why, why, why, why. The word was my own soundtrack, banging in my inner ear every time I looked at her. I don’t know when that soundtrack went away but something with age happened, something with her getting married to the perfect man and moving out of our childhood room, changed me. I started seeing my life painted completely differently.
The canvas was now open for only me to paint on it. My room was now no longer shared, and only full of my stuff. The feeling was exhilarating, and yet so lacking on many levels. I was suddenly free, and I had no idea where to start.
Searching through my memories, I tried to grasp what I knew of that girl who lived in a room with me for fifteen years of my life. The girl who raised me for a good portion of my life… She loved me, oh my goodness she loved me with all her heart. She showed it everyday she said good morning to me. She gave me my first nickname, the day I was born. She sang me lullabies when I was too scared to shut my eyes. She didn’t choose to be my perfect older sister, but she was. I ended up mistreating her for years, all due to how I perceived life.
The only person who put expectations on me was myself. My mind is my strongest ally and my most dangerous enemy, and it had me cornered for the majority of my life. She drove me to who I am now—whether that was my jealousy or her instruction, I still don’t know. She showed me how to be excellent, just as she was at my age. As painful as the years were growing up next to the most talented older sister, I sure picked up tips on how to excel. And that is all because of her.
So, this is what I would say to her today.
I love you. You taught me some of the most valuable lessons I could ask for. You taught me how to love you, and you taught me how to love myself.
I don’t know why I felt the need to keep it up for oh, so long
It’s all my fault, I’m sorry you did absolutely nothing wrong
I don’t know why I felt the need to drag it out for all these years
All the pain I’ve caused you, the constant flow of all the tears
Believe me when I say that I cannot apologize enough
When all you ever wanted from me was a token of my love
And if it’s not too late could you please find it deep within your heart
To try and go back, go back to the start?
-Lily Allen (Back to The Start)
Rhyn is a student at North Seattle Community College and will be continuing her education at Cornish College of the arts. She plans to expand on her knowledge of the arts and explore as many fields as possible. Her favorite medium currently is glassblowing, and she enjoys playing loud music in the workshop.