A letter to my big sister

for my sister.

Amber,

I know that you're not expecting this coming from me. Someone who is standoffish and rarely ever expresses their feelings. But, I felt it in my heart to write this to you. The moment that I was born, you weren't really interested in having a little sister. In fact, you asked mom if there was any way that I could be returned to the hospital. You also made sure to ask her, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO OUR LIVES?!" I honestly don't think it was because I cried too much or that you didn't love me, I more so think that it was hard for you to face the fact that all of the attention wasn't on you anymore. You've always been spoiled. As I sit back and think about our childhood, I start to remember that we are 8 years a part. It isn't easy having a sibling with that much of an age gap. I wanted to be with you all the time and you wanted to do your own thing. Sometimes it was seemingly impossible to find common ground. We argued over small things, and fought over smaller things. No matter where we were, you always found a way to leave me out. Even though you pretended to be too "cool" for me, you still had a soft spot for me. You would wake up extra early to do my hair for school, you kept Santa a secret, and even watched my Disney Christmas DVD with me every year on Christmas Eve night. There was no denying that you secretly loved me even if you didn't want to admit it at the time. Although you did many things with me when you didn't necessarily have to, the one thing you were not very fond of was letting me go anywhere with you after you got your license. I can remember being so upset when you would leave without me. All I would ever hear is "you'll be old enough to do that one day." Then, I got old enough and smart enough to get on Mom's good side so that she would make you take
me or you wouldn't be allowed to go at all.


Our childhood memories are truly unforgettable. Eventually as I got older, the age gap started to fade. We endured a few rough times together based on some of the things that we were faced with. I knew I always had you though. Unfortunately for me, I had to be the sibling that took a different route. The sister that made a few too many mistakes that I refuse to relive. The sister that at one point you weren't too proud to claim. Out of all the mistakes that I made, you accepted me. You never used anything against me or threw any of it in my face. Instead, you tried to lead me and guide me to a better path. Thankfully, you've always had a way of getting things through my head to make me understand where I'm going wrong. For all of that, I am so grateful. We are truly night and day. Complete total opposites. Sometimes it is almost painful to see how you react to situations versus how I react to situations. I hope you know that I have you FOREVER! There are very few people that I would risk it all for, and you are one of them. You are my twin, my rock, my best friend, and my support system. You look just like Mom, but you're super dramatic like Dad. I truly appreciate you in every way, Amber. I could never thank you enough for accepting me despite our major differences. Thank you for always hooking me up with shoes, clothes, phone cases, and make up. Also, for understanding that sometimes I am just too cheap to buy any of those things. My favorite thing about you is that you will believe anything that I say. You're so extremely gullible. Amber, you are beautiful, intelligent, fearless, precious, annoying, frustrating, passionate, and incredible. You are a living Angel, a sneaky Scorpio, but most of all you are my SISTER! I know that you're going through some major tests of faith right now, but NEVER give up! I pray for you every single day and God listens to every word I say. Everything is in His hands, so you will never come up empty handed. I love you with everything that I have in me. I can't wait to hear your sweet voice tell me that you're pregnant! Please always remember that I'm your biggest fan and that even though we are physically separated, our bond will never be.

Love Always,
Amy

A letter to my big sister

the best.

Allison,

Oh my gosh.. where do I even begin? In Piedmont, SC with us running around barefoot in red dirt with our matching barbie dresses on, or at the part where I was the annoying little sister who just couldn't handle not being able to hang out with you and your friends? There's SO many places I could begin – but I want to begin by saying thank you so much.


Thank you for making the mistakes that you did – and I don't mean it that way. But thank you for making them first, and learning from them. Thank you for learning from them so much that you were able to guide my hard headed self through this life just a bit easier. I know plenty of people who are so resentful towards their past – that they'd never use their own experiences to try and make someone else's life better – thank you for not being that person. Thank you for going through what you've been through, and using it to always give me the best advice.. because I just don't think that you'd be the same amazing person today if you hadn't.

Lord bless, thank you so much for your honesty. Whether its an outfit, a guy, a job, or something totally random.. You've always let me know your honest opinion on every situation. I've never came to you, or picked up the phone to call you for advice not expecting the realist possible. When I was younger, I could say we probably fought more than less over your honesty.. But the truth hurts sometimes. Now I know, you were always just looking out for me. You're my big sister, and that's the only thing I could ever expect from you.

Thank you for accepting me. I've never been the easiest to deal with. You'll be the first to laugh until you cry about something embarrassing I've done.. But you've also been the one to never stop loving me, even after my most awkward stages in life, my most embarrassing moments – and who could ever do that?

Thank you for standing up for me. There's been times where we've yelled and yelled at each other about complete nonsense, literally. But at the end of every single one of those days – I know if anyone has my back its you, and vice versa. If everybody in this world knew the type of big sister that I had and how crazy she was over me – I guarantee no one would mess with me. Ever.

Thank you for inspiring me. You've been through more than I've ever seen one human go through personally. You've gotten up so many times when you've been knocked completely down, and God.. I won't lie, there's been times I even asked myself how you did it. I know I was usually the annoying little sister you couldn't stand, I always wanted to be just like you, dress just like you, and do everything you were doing, and I promise that would've never been done if I didn't want to be JUST like you. Could you blame me? Thank you for always encouraging me through the best and the worst parts of any situation. If anyone could teach me that there's always light at the end of every tunnel with me actually believing that – then it's you.

Thank you so much for being my best friend. My built in best friend. Like, the best friend that could never stop being your friend or never stop loving you. The one whose always been there through every up and down. The one who will always be. I never tell you enough how much I actually appreciate you, and how much I actually look up to you. But I could never thank you enough for those things.

Last, but obviously not least. Thank you for my sweet babies that I feel I could never love too much. They love you more than anything, and looking at them has always given me a different thought of you.. A thought that makes me semi more protective over you than I already was – this is Hunter and Kinley's mama. Thank you for becoming the best mother known to man kind.

Thank you for everything, I could never perfectly describe our relationship in words. But..

I love you so much. No matter what.

• November

you.

N O V E M B E R :


  • What I always refer to as the worst time of my life.
  • The peak of my anxiety and depression.
  • The time I thought my life fell apart for good and there was absolutely no getting back up.

I'm not writing this for anyone to feel sympathy, I'm not writing this for YOU to read, I'm not writing this for your family to read. I'm writing this because it was literally the worst, and I want people to hear my story.

I don't hate you, I don't despise you, I don't miss you, and I don't worry anymore.

But in November – I did. I worried all the time. I worried like a kid worries about Santa Claus coming on Christmas morning. I worried if you were coming back, I wondered why a month before my life was changing for every "better reason" – it was ripped apart from me in front of my eyes. I wondered why I spent so much time planning, I wondered why I spent so much time on you. I wondered why God didn't remove me before. I was so angry, I was so hurt, & I was so mad. All I could think to myself over and over was – you ruined me. I would get up, go to work somedays, and other days I'd find every excuse not to.. Just to sit in my room, stare at a blank ceiling and wonder. Wonder about everything possible, the good and the bad. Forever, I swore to myself that the good out weighed the bad. Forever I swore you'd come back, forever I told myself everyday God put you in my life for a reason, and it was gonna be nothing but us spending forever together like we had planned. I wanted it more than I wanted anything for many years of my life, and I'm honestly not trying to step on any toes with this one.

I prayed months leading up to when we were planning to begin our lives together. I prayed everyday to God that He keep us sane together, even if we were meant to be together or not. I prayed He would remove you in the most graceful way if you weren't what was meant for me. And He did just that, God knew our relationship was nothing but love & rockiness from the jump. I could never sit and lie about the good times, and my honesty on you probably gets me in trouble more than less. But God knew that the rockiness wasn't healthy for either of us. God knew that it was our time, God knew that we were meant for one another seasonally – but not eternally.

God knew, but I didn't. I lost my faith completely, I would sit every second of every day wondering what I'd done so wrong. I knew our relationship had a past, as did you.. But I would question what I did before I ever even knew you to deserve something like this after giving my all. I questioned everything. I wasn't open to knowing new people anymore, I didn't want to be in a new relationship or have to get to know someone all over again. I was comfortable where I was, and the thoughts sucked. The thoughts took over all of me, and did almost ruin me..

But, one day when my panic attacks got worse and worse – having 3 to 4 a day – God randomly told me to go to my Apple Music, go to Christian Radio and listen to the first song. It was one of my favorite worship songs "Mighty To Save" as a preteen. I remember sitting on my bed, an overflow of music coming through my headphones and an overflow of some type of joy I hadn't felt in what had been a few months at this point. The craziest feeling, I remember crying, and being so happy that I wasn't crying out for help anymore, I wasn't crying out for you, I wasn't crying out because i was sad anymore..


I was simply crying out because God came to me, and He told me exactly what to do – at the most amazing time – and it blew my mind. Those past few months I had been awful, losing my job, falling into bad habits, hanging around people I knew I shouldn't be with, and completely lost my faith in God. He still cared, He still listened to my cries for help even when they weren't directed towards him, He still held and wrapped His arms around me when I needed Him the most. He opened my eyes to bigger and better. Im not here to call you awful, I'm here to say that not everyone you meet will stay. Some people teach you great things, others stay, and others become lifelong friends you have to hold and cherish. Moral of the story is – never let one setback make you think that it isn't all for an amazing reason. Never think that God isn't still listening even when you're a stray, never think that when one thing falls apart, that it isn't God opening many more doors for you.

• Better Friends

ever evolving friendships.

A better friend.


Something you probably have thought you needed more than once in your lifetime, something you may have even noticed in your friends, something you may have prayed and asked for God to send you.

But have you ever sat back and actually asked yourself if you are being the best friend that you can be? Are you being the type of friend you would want to have? Do you want to change the type of friend you're being, or are you content with where you are?

Now,
I know this is a blog shared between two friends, so this particular blog will have to a lot to do with us, and also some of our own personal situations.


I remember sitting in a group of our friends one day, and the subject of something that we totally didn't agree on came up. The both of us – were always the type to kind of just sit back, listen, and watch it all unfold.. instead of speaking up and giving our opinions.

Well, this specific day led us to having a serious conversation about how we didn't want to be the ones who sat around and encouraged negativity anymore – especially by not telling our friends (or each other) when they're doing wrong. God put this heavy on our hearts, and was probably one of the first huge changes we really were able to notice in ourselves that was followed by many many more..

We can clearly remember conversations with each other, and other friends where the other would be talking about future endeavors, a dream, a situation, etc.. sometimes we would find ourself, not necessarily saying anything negative, but not saying the most positive things to each other or to our friends. That's not the way to be. You always have to speak realness into your friends! IF you ever feel you could talk to your friend, give them some advice or opinions on how to do something better, you learn how to address your friends. Instead of saying off top "Oh, no. I definitely don't think that's a good idea, I don't think you should do that." You should actually sit, and think through your friends situation just as you would your own. Try and absorb every understanding of whatever the situation may be that you're able to and THEN give them the best advice possible. Thinking before you speak goes a long way, not even in just friendships, but in everyday life.

We began to notice how much we had changed, we began to notice that we were no longer the ones encouraging things that weren't good for each other, or our friends. We began speaking so much positivity into each other – for example – instead of texting each other "i HOPE you have a good day!" we would send –
"Your day IS a good day! Let's make it happen."

Everyday we checked on each other and the friends we cared about, everyday we made sure we talked about where we wanted to be in the future including in our friendship. Actually becoming a better friend took so much more than just talking about it, and then waking up the next morning and everything being totally different. Like every situation in life, this one took lots of patience, prayer, and working on our friendship to get exactly where God wanted us to be.

Everything literally changed. We changed, every friendship changed, relationships with our family members changed. There were times before we changed where we wouldn't talk to our family members for weeks at time. Then we became better friends, which led us to be better people period. Now, we always want to hear about each others days, talk to our family as much as possible, we always want to hear each others opinions, and have learned so well how to take constructive criticism from one another. This is something big that still requires so much work every single day. You cannot lack in the friend department and wonder where your friends are when you need them. You have to be a good friend everyday, not just one day out of the week or month. You have to love your friends, support your friends to the fullest, always think of what's best for them, always try to keep them motivated when they get down.. and for God's sake, when your friend slips up and there is a mishap.. Don't leave her/him hanging.. But especially don't continue to encourage them to slip up. Yeah, there's people who will almost despise you for your opinion on what they're doing, people who will leave your life, and you might even get called hypocritical a few times.. you know why? You speak what you know, you live what you know. And everyone walking know's that mistakes are normal to be made, and that none of us are perfect. It's not being hypocritical – its slipping up – making a mistake, and having a good friend behind you to tell you that you're messing up if you haven't figured it out already. Someone to help and guide you through learning from your mistakes.

I personally would never say that neither me or Amy were ever bad friends to each other, I just don't think we were the best we could be. We had gotten stuck in a comfort zone in our friendship for so many years. To the point that when we started to really grow, when she moved away, and when we started adulting to extents – we JUST HAD to learn to become a "better friend" for our own sake, and for each others sake. To listen to each other all the time, to make time for our friendship, to be in each others corner even when the other isn't around, not being scared to tell each other the truth, trying to improve each others lives, being forgiving, accepting one another for who we are completely, masterminding how to support one another, but also being real enough to learn how to not support ones situations if we didn't feel they were best -with out being a Ms. Negative Nancy, and being able to stand firm on our yes' and no's. Realizing your friend is going to grow and change, and maybe at a different pace than you will, but you never flee. Most importantly – learning your friends weaknesses, learning the good and bad parts of them and still loving and supporting them through that. And you never think that you will be as much rewarded personally as your friends will be, but you are.


I think Amy and I can both agree that positivity began flowing through our veins. Positivity became normal. When something bad happened/happens, it became normal to not think of everything as being negative (even IF it seemed it could never turn to positive.) It became normal to realize the positives and the negatives are all meant for you, and meant for us, regardless of who, what, when, where, or why. It made us feel great, it still makes us feel amazing. To know that when our friends come to us, or we come to one another everyone understands that they're going to get the realist advice possible, and to know that either of us will not be the ones to encourage or speak negativity around them or around one another. There were of course a few arguments here and there, about nonsense usually, and they always ended in a make-up and a full understanding of what the other meant.. and there's still very slight disagreements, but the difference now is that we can actually take AND give constructive criticism in a more positive way than before. If your friends aren't telling you when you mess up, if they aren't there to pick you up always, if they're still encouraging you to do bad things that YOU know aren't good for you.. It isn't a friend and it isn't a healthy friendship..


And this world could use a few better friends.

• 95 Miles

when distance enters a friendship.

The one leaving :

It happened.

Imagine leaving everything you have ever known after 19 years of life. I suspected it for a while. Heard about it over and over again. I NEVER thought that it would actually happen. Was I financially stable enough yet and capable of making it on my own so that I would be able to stay? Absolutely NOT. Did I have people who would've opened their doors wide open for me to live with them? YES. But, I didn't. I knew deep down there was a reason that I was making such a drastic move, even though I couldn't bear to think of it that way. God told me to go, so I had to listen to him and trust in him.


Besides, finding out a month in advance would give me plenty of time to say goodbye to everyone, right? Wrong! Prior to moving, I had made the mistake of lying, disrespecting, and going against my mother's word. It resulted in major punishment, so I had to take responsibility for my unforgivable behavior.

I had my car taken away, no access to Anna for weeks. I was so angry because I was already having to move away from her, so how dare my mother take my privilages away RIGHT before it was time to relocate! I didn't get to see Anna until about 4 hours before it was time to be on the way to my new town. I was sad. Hurt. Down. Depressed. Heartbroken. And speechless.

How was I going to move forward with my life in a new city without my only friend? MY friend, MY person, MY second brain. MY OTHER HALF! Who was going to be my right hand and go everywhere that I go? Who was I going to live like I was in a reality tv show with? Who was going to honk the horn as I walked by her car, and watched the pleasure she got from scaring me? Who was going to fill the void of leaving the only friend that I had? How would I find happiness when I was so miserable?

Being and staying strong was almost nearly impossible. I was so anxious about everything. Mind constantly racing. Wondering if she would replace me and find new friends and we start to drift away from each other? I worried myself to death for the longest time. I worried and worried until God woke me up one day and told me to STOP worrying. I knew that everything happens for a reason and that he wouldn't put more on me that I could handle.

It still just wasn't enough to put my mind and heart at ease.

So as always, I continued to worry and stress and hold on to major depression over something that wasn't going to change. I literally felt sick inside. I cried out to God daily. I gave Him all of my worries, problems, and battles to fight for me. I couldn't fight that battle going on inside of me, so giving it to God was the best thing that I ever could've done.

Not only did he fight the battle, he made our friendship stronger than it had ever been. After prayer and more and more prayer, and having total faith in him, he opened our eyes to what is really important. He changed our mindset, and how we speak positivity in each other. Basically changed our whole life. He even blessed us enough that every word he spoke to us, we were able to speak them to other people to help motivate, and inspire them. We have ended up helping multiple people get through the toughest times. He took us from bitter to better in little under a year. He put us through major tests of faith, but he NEVER tested our friendship. He never broke the bond down. Instead, it is now stronger than it has ever been. People often wonder how we can stay on FaceTime for hours without even talking, failing to realize that we can sit in a room together for hours and also not say a word to each other. It is the comfort of feeling like she is right there with me. Needless to say, it HASN'T been as bad as we imagined. 5 miles or 95 miles away, we still remain inseparable.


NEVER question God's plan!

The one staying :

Saddened. The person I spent everyday with, every second possible with. The person who would stop everything to go on random adventures, the one who would pick up the phone anytime and go on random shopping trips whenever, the one who come over at anytime – to get whatever little anxiety thought that might've been bothering me that day out of my head, the one I would stay with for weeks at a time, literally doing nothing but enjoying my second families company.


I remember when I was first told you were moving – 95 miles away. It's only an hour and a half drive, seems like nothing. But when you've only had ONE consistent friend since you were 14, ONE consistent person whose always there, ONE consistent person who you ALWAYS had to hang out with, ONE person you have literally experienced almost everything with since middle school….

You eventually get the thoughts of "are we gonna have to make NEW friends?" For someone with anxiety and depression, that's not the easiest thought to EVER have. It's never easy to approach new people, or to even find a circle of people where you feel you actually "fit in."

But, God never makes mistakes. I KNEW my best friend wasn't being placed anywhere that she wouldn't be able to excel, anywhere she wouldn't be able to continue growing, or that she wouldn't enjoy to the fullest extent. I knew God would keep our friendship going exactly how it was left off in Simpsonville – just continuing on an hour and a half away, and I knew no matter how far – I could still always pick up and call my best friend at anytime necessary. Which eventually gave me a peace of mind through the whole situation.

Through many of text, many 95 mile drives, many FaceTime calls (everyday), God actually strengthened our friendship. He showed me just how strong a friendship could be, how a friendship could handle the miles between.. because in this day and age not everyone sticks around. He's brought many blessings, and also many trials and tribulations. But one thing He's never done – is removed either of us from one another's life, 95 miles away or 1,000 miles away.


This is a bond you could never break.

• Discouraged

Living with anxiety and depression, you learn the definition of "discouraged" and you learn it quick.

Living with anxiety can be what you make it. You can make it painful, or you can make it beautiful in its own way.

There were times when we wouldn't get out of our beds, due to our depression caused by our crippling anxiety.


 

 

There's times you're screaming at the top of your lungs in your head at yourself for being so dumb.

Just to calm down seconds later & realize that you're not dumb. That you didn't ask to be born with a mental illness, that you didn't ask to go through the things you did to cause you to suffer from anxiety.

It can be like sitting in a tiny little seashell on the ocean, all alone.. sounds amazing tho, right? No, all of the sounds around you, the waves crashing, the people walking by – staring, the tide rising and potentially washing you away.. all the thoughts that run through your head on a daily basis.

It's sitting in class, or at work and having 30 things on your mind at a time. Things that don't matter anymore, things that hurt, things that used to hurt but not as much anymore, anything wrong that's ever happened running through your mind.. how a midnight train runs on its tracks. Loud & never ending.

Almost like it's become normal to have to be this way.

It's crying, it's breaking down, it's having awful days, it's having rough days, it's not even knowing what's wrong sometimes. It's throwing a fit for no reason and not knowing why, it's overthinking and overreacting to every situation and not knowing why – nor being able to explain it to anyone.

It's having the worst fears, the unthinkable run through your mind at 3 a.m. unable to sleep because some random, insane thought is on your mind.. like "what if I never make it?"


And then one day, you wake up. You wake up and everything seems happier, you wake up and you tell yourself IT IS a good day today. You wake up, and you enjoy the morning, the afternoon, the evening, the night, the whole day. You no longer have panic attacks as often when one thing goes wrong because you finally realize that all change is good change. You realize that if whatever is happening to you – wasn't happening – then it wouldn't be YOU, it wouldn't be YOUR life, it wouldn't be for YOUR purpose.

Granted – there's still sucky days, there's still times that stuff seems to be falling apart, there's time the road rage kicks in, etc..

But when you trust in changing your mindset for the better, when you realize that you can only change you, that only YOU can control your thoughts and how you feel day to day..

LIFE BECOMES AMAZING – EVEN WITH ANXIETY & WITH DEPRESSION!

The Beginning – 2010

  • Anna and Amy. Always together. Never one without the other. Right hands. Best friends. Thick and thin.

It all started 8 years ago, as we never thought making plans one time would turn into a lifetime friendship.

We started going everywhere together, to the point we were asked many times if we were gay, lol.
If you see one of us without the other there's always that question of where the missing piece is.


There was an instant click, and an instant appreciation and understanding of what each had been through, since everything in our lives up until we met had been SO similar.

But, at the same time of course there were always differences, and that never stopped our friendship.


Many people have told us that they envy our friendship, many people have wondered in this day & age, how two people could stay so close through so much.

We could sit and lie, and say it's always been easy..
But as we've gotten older, and miles have separated us, God has never tested our friendship but he has opened up so many opportunities and so many more ways of thinking for the both of us that – learning how to take constructive criticism was one of the only options.


Our friendship is one of those where – if a mishap comes up, or something great happens – the first we call is each other, and its always been that way.

Since we both suffer from anxiety and depression, there's been times where the both of us had to pull each other all the way up, and keep the other going.


There's been times in our lives where we were down and out, thought we would never get back up, and by the grace of God the both of us have changed not only our mindsets, but our lifestyles, the way we talk to each other, the way we support each other, the way we speak positivity into each others lives, and pray consistently for one another..


We sat down, we prayed, and we talked one day.. and God put it on our minds to start a blog, to write about our experiences – not only together – but even sometimes separate.

We've been through hell and back, and honestly just want to start by telling our story.


So, welcome to our blog!