Yes, I'm writing this like I'm 12 years old, but that's because I revert to a pure, child-like love state when I think about her wonderful influence on my life. Belinda has been the best older sibling anyone could want. Despite the fact that she was bigger than me during my vulnerable early years, she didn't abuse her power by beating me. She chaperoned me and my hooligan friends on bike rides, taught me how to fish and planted the seeds for my own Michael Jackson obsession, all key survival skills for a kid from DC.
At some point late in my college career, she recognized that my wardrobe of Dickies, camouflage pants, Timbs and bandannas wasn't really helping me and took me on an actual stylish shopping trip. Now I get down like this when I go out, but it was Belinda that planted the seed. After I graduated from college, she inspired my first solo cooking expeditions.
Only years after the fact, have I realized how I've unconsciously followed in my big sister's footsteps. She's the Digital News Director for the Lansing State Journal. I'm the Director of Digital for The Onion. She played oboe in the DC Youth Orchestra Program as a teenager. I played bass years later in that same program. She can use a combination of tai chi and yoga to kill you with thoughts emanating from her pinky. I have her phone number.
And on the subject of yoga, Belinda was the one to introduce me to this valuable practice. I used to live in Somerville, Mass. near a Baptiste yoga studio, and Belinda insisted I try it out. After our mother passed in 2005, one of the first things we did together was a very healing session of hot yoga, and now she has founded her own donation-based yoga studio in Lansing, Michigan. It's called Just B Yoga.
Yes, I love my sister. She reminds me of the best traits of our mother and has a unique flavor all her own. Happy birthday sis. May your feed be overwhelmed with adoration on this first day of February in the year 2011.