But unlike my mom, I am the least confrontational person I know. I can debate the facts of the matter with absolute confidence, but when the issues are personal, and about other people, I always try and keep the peace.
And yet, while my mom did not manage to share that trait with me and my brother, she gave it in spades to my little sister, Savanna. And it is the most incredible thing in the world to watch. To see her stand up for herself with unrestrained fury and confidence against the junior high brats that bring her down is stunning. It is like watching a tiny version of my mother, and they are absolutely horrifying when working together. Savanna is one of the most genuine people I know, and it is heartwarming how mature she is even when she's three years younger than me. She is so much better about that than I was when I was her age, and she's growing up to be an incredible young woman.
So yesterday when I saw her come home from school in tears, I was devastated. Petty people craving drama to make their boring lives more interesting had been talking about Savanna behind her back when she had been nothing but nice to them. The little girls had finally gotten to her, and even though I knew Savanna was not going to let them win, it hurt to see her confidence broken for even a second. She was curled up in a little ball on the couch. She now only shrugged softly, and I realized that she must have gotten more of her crying out when mom picked her up from school. She had put on a brave face for her two older brothers, and I was even more sad for and proud of her at that moment. No one hurts my sister's feelings and gets away with it. And that isn't me being a protective older brother; that's her not tolerating disrespect. She fights her own battles and she fights them well.
Her confidence and genuine behavior are both something I have always admired, but she's also inspired me to be better myself. Throughout junior high and into my freshman year, I was one of the petty people my sister is constantly at odds with. I used to gossip, and I used to constantly be in drama, and wouldn't mind my own business.
But after experiencing first hand the harms that can come from that, I had to sit back and examine myself. And that self-awareness was what made me realize how pathetic and pointless my actions were. This all sounds pretty juvenile, but that self-awareness really opened my eyes in other areas. It made me realize that I never wanted to be a source of negativity, and the way to do that was to get rid of the negative habits that made bring about more negativity.
It is my strong belief that both positivity and negativity diffuse. Negativity inside will spread outward, but so will positivity. Self-awareness and self reflection helped me understand how negative I was and how I had to remove that in order to have a better life. Since then, I've worked hard to cultivate a positive idea of myself, as well a positive view of everyone else. Negative people that contribute to a cycle like the one that made my sister cry are probably dealing with the same lack of contentment and poor self esteem that I had when I was in their position, and so I try to empathize with and be patient with them on their journey toward becoming a better person.
Seeing that Savanna never had to deal with those same problems that I did makes me so proud of her, but also guilty for everything I had done at that time. I'm not perfect. There are times even now that I will still fail miserably and get involved in the childish habits I've worked so hard to avoid, but I know that I'll always have my little sister to look up to. Now I've just got to teach her how to debate...