I’m so glad my little sister is on Tumblr.
That sentence reads sarcastically, but it’s not meant to. I’m totally genuine here.
The girl had been telling me to get on Tumblr and create a “blog” for about a year, and I resisted. I wasn’t into it because A. that is not a blog, kiddo. B. because I waste my time all the time with other things. I finally relented because if you’re not going to compromise for your family, who are you going to compromise for?? <insert Breaking Bad gif>
Anyway, I got on Tumblr and followed my little sister, and immediately renounced the whole thing as “the worst ever”, a waste of time and totally dumb. She was offended at my insistence that her virtual friends were not her friends, and that all this tumblr stuff was inferior to real life. She whatever-ed me and carried on, and I checked in on her “blog” every couple of days.
Here’s the thing, my sister and I are totally different people. When I was a kid my hair was straight and blonde. Hers was curly and brunette. When she was thirteen she was collecting Schleich pieces. When I was fourteen I was lying about my age to a nineteen-year-old cowboy at the ranch next door.
I am a fairly morose bastard, but my baby sister takes introversion to another level. Maybe the seven years I’ve got on her just had me in a different culture, and allowed me to express myself a little louder than she was able to. (Our upbringing is a bit skewed in my favor, in that I had all my siblings and both parents at home, and she’s been toted around without her brothers and I since our parents split up. The ground’s always been shifting under her.)
She’s a trip to get to know as she gets older, as she’s the most perceptive person I’ve ever met. Nothing gets passed her.
She’s also one of the most non-judgmental, understanding people I’ve ever met, at least when it comes to her inner circle. (I’m in that inner circle.) I remember once crawling into bed beside her after a, erm, pg 13 evening with a boy, and her wrapping her little arms around me. She smiled at my alcohol breath when I whispered, “I’m sorry I’m not a good role model right now,” and then she said, “that’s ok. You’re young.”
She’s quietly watched my family unravel. She was playing with her toys in the corner while our mother raged at our father, while our father became a shell of the hero he’d been. She’s watched my little brother abuse drugs, watched our older brother go haywire and hitch-hike around the country, saw me get all skeletal in high school. She’s curled up beside me and my alcohol breath when she’s come to visit me.
Most importantly, she has her own demons.<circa 2007, AKA shittiest year of life.
These days the fifteen-year-old attends a performing arts school in downtown Los Angeles and she’s got this little Tumblr blog going. The more I started watching what she’s reblogged, the more insight I get into the things she cares about.
You know what she’s into? The underdog. She loves the misunderstood, the mis-represented. Between the fandoms and memes my baby sister reblogs suicide prevention posts. She advocates for equal marriage rights and against rape culture. In the virtual world, my baby sister can be vulnerable about her loneliness and her social anxiety. She can speak up for those who’ve been shut up, and people can speak up for her when she’s too nervous to defend herself. She’s got allies in her followers and a sense of camaraderie with those who share the same Sherlock fantasies. Those friends are real friends.
I write a lot about seeking community, and I’m learning that everyone is grasping for it in different places and in different ways. I shamble into Lost Leaf and she turns on her computer. We’ve got imperfect ways of finding these communities, sure, but we’re finding them.
I admire that girl/woman for her resilience. Kid’s been through some shit. I’m more than proud of her; I’m learning from her. She’s naturally compassionate and I’m naturally an asshole.
You’ll never see my sister mock someone for their beliefs, for their sadness, for their lifestyle. She wants people to love and be loved and derive humor from our shared experience of being human. She’s a badass.
So yeah girl. Express yourself. Reblog the shit out of every Supernatural gif. Flip the bird at body-shaming, slut-shaming, gender roles and being cool. Promote marriage equality, hilarious ANYTHING, Disney weirdness and suicide prevention. I love seeing what you’re into. I love learning about your heart through what you post. You’re so friggin’ cool.
Definitely the best of all four of us.
(*brb getting emotional in a coffee shop)