Sibling rivalry is a foreign concept to me.
I do have a sibling, an older sister, but we’ve never been rivals. Psh, we’ve been the opposite of rivals.
She’s my best friend. No contest.
Her name is Alya (pronounced uh-LEE-uh), and she is about two years older than me. She doesn’t look it, and she sure doesn’t always act like it. She’s more carefree than me. Where I’m the slow, methodical, and stodgy one, she’s the buoyant, spirited, and adventurous one.
Despite our difference, we’ve always been close. We never really had friends when we were little kids, so our go-to person for fun and excitement was each other. Alya was always the “idea” person. She still is, come to think of it. I’m never bored when I’m hanging out with her because she’s always ready with a potential plan for the day. It’s as if her default setting is to be as enthusiastic as possible.
We went to San Francisco about a year ago in order to see Hamilton. It was hella awesome. (You can strike me down for using the word “hella,” if you want to.) But even though this trip involved seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece of a musical, my favorite part out of the week-long trip was the drizzling morning I spent exploring the city with my sister.
We had breakfast at a diner that served fairly adequate breakfast food, and then we made our way to a coffee shop for some darkly-brewed goodness. (Alya would have gotten herself lost if it hadn’t been for me and my impeccable sense of direction.) Then we went to a furniture store and ogled at all the modern concepts for home decorating. After that, we pranced our way through the misting rain to the Disney Store, where I shamefully got suckered in to buying two Star Wars action figures (K-2SO and Poe Dameron). No matter where we went, we had a blast simply because we were in each other’s company.
From a very young age, Alya was an artistic soul. Her preschool drawings put my current attempts at sketching to shame. (I stick to adult coloring books now.) Her creativity knows no bounds. She’s an artist in her thoughts and in her actions.
Because of this, I think, she can be wonderfully messy at times. I know this is an artist stereotype, but hey, these things become stereotypes for a reason. Back when we shared a room together, I’d have to slog through piles of her dirty clothing to reach the closet. Now that we’re no longer living together, I kind of miss the mess.
When Alya was in middle school, she suffered the cruel abuses that stupid classmates decided to shoot her way. These prepubescent girls thought it was the height of cool to make fun of my sister for her roller backpack or for the baggy shorts our mother would sometimes make us wear. (Alya and I distastefully called these shorts that reached to our knees and bulged out at the hips the “Puffy Shorts.”) They would laugh at Alya as she passed them by and they would kick her backpack, leaving dusty footprints on the surface.
Girls can be utter dicks sometimes.
She never told me what she went through until we were both out of high school. I don’t think she wanted to appear weak to me. Or unhappy.
But trust my sister to turn the situation around. Almost as soon as she entered high school, she just…blossomed. There’s no other word for it. Her self-confidence skyrocketed. With some amazing inner strength, she bolstered her spirits and disdained to even think about the kind of girls who would make fun of someone else because of their clothes or their backpack.
Honestly, because of this, my sister became the most beautiful girl at school. Seriously. She was/is gorgeous. She grew into the envy of all because she became this pillar of self-esteem.
Alya is the one person who I entrust with the entirety of my being. I can be a flawed human being around her, and she can be her messed-up self as well. We can be goofy, serious, sad, relaxed, excited, scared, enraged, or content around each other, and it will always be a blast.
She’s the one person I miss constantly when she’s not near me. I can tell her anything and expect absolutely no judgment (okay, well, maybe some judgment, but it’s an acceptable level). Plus, it’s impossible to lie to her because she knows me so well.
Her happiness gives me happiness, and I’m certain she feels the same way about me. There’s so much comfort knowing that someone cares about you that much, knowing that someone will always believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.
So sibling rivalry? Impossible for me and Alya. How can I be rivals with someone who only wants the best for me?