I Was Nervous They Picked My Brother as a Joke. I Didn’t Have to Be.


Growing up, I was always “Chris’s older sister.”  It’s not common to be someone’s “older sister,” especially when you’re three years ahead of your brother in school.

I was the shy, timid kid who would hide behind her mom’s legs to avoid meeting new people. On the other hand, Chris is outgoing, loud, and friendly. He’s well-known on my college campus, even though it’s 3.5 hours away from home. I often joke that college is the first place that I could really be “just Lindsey,” rather than “Chris’s sister,” but he still managed to sneak his way in there, too.

One thing I’ve learned about Chris over the years is that he doesn’t care what other people think. Now, I’m not saying this is always a fantastic thing, but it is something that I deeply envy at times.

Last year, my family was surprised to learn that Chris (completely independently) auditioned and was accepted into the high school talent show. Chris loves to sing. I hear him sing when I’m driving him in the car, at 6 a.m. when he wakes up and starts blasting his music, and even in audio messages he texts to me when I’m at school.

Unfortunately, he (very much like myself) does not really have any sense of pitch or tone, though he has been working hard to become a better singer. So you can imagine how surprised my mom and I were when we found out that Chris sang a One Direction song as his audition for the school talent show and was accepted.

After surprise, the next thing I felt was pure, unadulterated fear. What if they only selected him so that everyone could make fun of him? What if this was all some big joke, and when he got up on the stage during the performance he would be booed? Why did they pick him to sing over other students?

While I was freaking out and pondering this, my mom was doing a similar thing. Her thoughts were probably a little more rational, but again this was Chris, the kid who is sometimes so off-pitch while singing that I have to turn off the radio while driving because it’s distracting (sorry, buddy!).

Despite our fears, Chris was cool, calm, collected and REALLY excited. He wouldn’t let us watch him practice (which just added to our own fears), and planned his whole outfit for the performance by himself. When the day finally came, and his act was up, I almost had to leave the auditorium because I was too nervous about what was about to happen. However, to my surprise and joy, the people loved Chris, even if they didn’t love his singing! He had people smiling, laughing, singing and clapping along with him, and got just as much applause (if not more) as all of the other acts.

Over the years, I’ve realized that I’ve been a little overprotective, but isn’t that what a big sister is supposed to do? While Chris is out on stage singing his heart out, not realizing or caring what other people think about him, I’m going to be in the background worrying about the reactions of others. I’m learning that the great majority of the time, the anxiety I feel about other people accepting Chris is unnecessary, but part of my role as “Chris’s older sister” is always going to be protecting him, and that is a job that I’m prepared for.

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