Rachel was in seventh grade when she called me into her room to reveal her latest project. Big, bold cutout letters lined the top of her wall: a border that read, “This Is Me — Nobody Said You Had to Like It.” I said the words aloud, taking in her message. My sister and I had been inseparable since the day she was born, when I got to visit the hospital and cradle her on a pillow on my lap. She was three years younger, but age was of no importance.
By the time she was in seventh grade, I knew Rachel well — and I knew she understood the phrase she’d just plastered on her wall. I knew that she meant it, but I couldn’t fully grasp the concept myself. That’s because I had always cared an awful lot what people thought of me. I shaped myself to fit standards and strived hard to impress. I was a worrier, while Rachel just didn’t give a damn.
Though I’ll never be able to own that same mantra as my sister, growing up with Rachel has taught me to at least embrace the idea. My sister has taught me many things, but above all else, she’s showed me how to be OK with the person that I am. She’s dared me to flaunt my most unique qualities, not hide them. She’s challenged me to take responsibility for my vices, and work to change my behavior. The crazy thing is, Rachel’s done all this just by being herself.
Some would say Rachel and I have opposite personalities. But there are eight key differences between us that strengthen our relationship. More importantly, these differences have shaped me into who I am — they’ve defined me. Read on to see why my sister, who’s nothing like me, turned out to be my best friend.