To my dearest little sister,
How I fucking hate you. The way you rummage through my room, taking the clothes that we assumably “share.” The way you use your “I’m the younger sister” card to weasle your way out of chores. The way you walk when you get irritated, stomping around as if to punch holes in the floorboards. The way demand to go to Target late at night and end up buying nothing. The way you talk back because you think you’re always right. But the thing is you’re not, and being a 22 months older and 22 months smarter, here’s my advice to you.
I know that by this point you’re probably pissed that I am writing about you for my English class, but just shut up and let me explain.
1. Take your time.
Remember when we were younger and we used to spend our summers at mom’s beauty salon. We would lay on an old mattress in the back room watching Enchanted, starring Amy Adams, on a 10 inch TV. The bed sheets were covered in headless Barbie’s, along with random strands of hair that drifted into the room. The air was heavy with the smell of nail polish and hairspray, and we would sit there for hours waiting for daddy to pick us up. Sometimes Grandma would come and give us a few dollars to get ice cream at the sketchy KMart next door. She wasn’t our real grandma. She was an old lady with thick white hair. We used to sing to her, and hold her hand while she sat under a dryer waiting for the chemicals to seep into scalp. In the evening when the customers were gone, you used to sit behind the counter and paint on plastic nails thinking that no one would notice. With your head hung over, concentrating, carefully with each stroke, only to miss and finish with nail polish all over your own fingers. Time passed by slowly when we were doing nothing, but that doesn’t make it any less precious. Even when in the moment it seem mediocre, take it in because everything is eventually going to change.
2. “Practice makes progress! Not perfect!”
Remember when our piano teacher used to say that all the time. His way of comforting a fifth grader was pretty discouraging, but it has some truth to it. Perfection is an utter lie, and same goes for that perfect SAT score that you so desperately strive for. Yes, there are those smarty pants that get a 1600, and end up going to Yale or Harvard. But that doesn’t have to be you, the number does not define who you are. So while you’re stressing, and strategizing about how to get a better score than I did, news flash it’s actually not that big of a deal. I know that in time, people are going to ask you what your score was. People are going to tell you that you are so smart if you get a better score than they do. They’ll praise you, and for a second their validation will make you feel good. But know that there are others that will think that you are stupid. They’ll suggest it casually, “Oh, you’re smart! I thought you would do better.” And then after a while you are going to start believing them. You are going to start looking at people that you just met and wondering their score was. Judging their self worth, and in turn questioning your own. This is how messed up our world is, where people become merely numbers ranging from 400 to 1600. So don’t worry about it, and just do your best because whatever happens no one is going to care in college and you’re not going to die. Trust me I know.
3. Keep going when the light is yellow.
I know you can’t drive yet, but when you do, when the light turns yellow keep going. Mostly because you're probably going to destroying my brakes over nothing. Anyways, it’ll probably be raining when you start driving, as it is everyday. The clouds will blanket over the blue sky, and everything will be filtered in grey. The windshield wipers will be dancing to their rhythm, “fwamp, fwamp,” back and forth across your view, blurring and unblurring, as it scrapes the water away. Ariana Grande will be blasting in the car, and you’ll be singing along at the top of your lungs because no one will care. And in that moment, as you drive up to an intersection the fluorescent green lights will turn yellow. In that split second, anxiety will boil in your stomach, and hesitation will wash over you, but instead of slowing down just go for it. No, I am not telling you to stupidly get into a car accident, I am using a metaphor to remind you that if there is an opportunity, just take it. Don’t doubt yourself because missing out is the only thing that you’ll regret. The same way stopping at that yellow light will make you late for school.
4. Don’t date in high school.
Just don’t. It’s not worth it.
5. Don’t listen to Mommy and Daddy.
I’m such a hypocrite for saying this, but just don’t listen to them. Growing up I was always the “guinea pig,” and looking back on it now I am pretty sure that they had no idea what they were doing. They are Vietnamese immigrants who came to America in their late 30’s. They don’t understand what it’s like to be American, let alone do they remember what it’s like to be a kid. They’re so embarrassing. Especially, when they would try to order at a restaurant or complain when the waiter serves the wrong dish because no one could understand what they wanted to order in the first place. I hate seeing them make a scene, but that doesn’t mean that you should hate them. That’s just the way they’ve learned to survive in America with their broken English. If they didn't speak up for themselves no one would. Anyways, if they tell you that you can’t do something because you are not good enough, it’s really because they don’t fully understand what you want to do. If you want to be a baker, pursue it. If you want to fly millions of miles away, hop on a plane and go.
Therefore, I hope that you take in everything that I’ve told you. I’m always here for you, and even though it’s really hard sometimes, just know that somewhere deep deep down I love you. Also you’re adopted. Just kidding.
Your prettiest, kindest, loveliest sister in the whole wide world,
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