Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Miriam Christine Olson

To know me is to understand that I am the stereotypical first born child: an aggressive yet conscientious know-it-all. To love me is to fully and completely accept me despite this because otherwise I won't give you the time of day. (See.) In the spirit of progress and personal growth, I'm learning to (trying to) become less dominant and more open to the fact that not every thought, opinion, belief, idea, or action I have or take is the only right one. No one else in the world has had to deal with my growing pains as pointedly as my sister Mim.

Sally Renata (My CPK), That Baby, & Me
As a new two year old, I wasn't so sure about "that baby" when my parents brought her home. I can imagine life was pretty great for me pre-Mim; full of attention (my personal drug of choice) not only from my mom and dad but also my grandparents. Every day was a Julia-day, a luxury reserved for the first born. Poor Mim never got to experience life without her older sibling looking down on her every move with either disdain or jealousy-tinged pride. Luckily, I quickly took to loving "that baby". After all, without her, I couldn't be a big sister. She became my favorite companion.

As kids, we did everything together. Since we are only two years apart we had a built in friend in one another. We danced, played violin, sang in choir, and took gymnastics classes. At home we loved to play dress up and regularly turned our bunk beds and back yard apple tree into ships or rockets. We had a lot of fun and if you know me, imagine my laugh, double it, and you can hear the soundtrack of my childhood. Lovely, right? ;)
Mim looking a little PO'd.
War inducing soap.
It wasn't always so idyllic as I'm sure my mom would be the first to point out. From the moment Mim was able to talk, we were able to fight. Notorious fighting. We had mega brawls that usually ended in tears, sometimes blood, and often, time out in our room with (gasp!) the lights off. We'd fight about everything. One time we fought for days about who got a particularly cute seashell shaped soap our grandma sent us from Florida. My parents quickly learned everything had to be identical and fair in order to avoid a blow up fight. My primary weapon was my words and Mim's was her teeth. She was constantly biting me which always seemed to garner stricter parental consequences even though I will now admit to saying horribly mean things to her to push her over the edge and get her to chomp down on my arm. Mim, alone in time out, meant I had "won".

I really did a great job in my role as the bratty, obnoxious, bossy older sister. Mim had her 4 year old birthday party at our house with all of her friends, and my superior 6 year old self of course had to make my presence known as the way cooler Olson sister. As a first grader, I could not read. Instead, I had memorized the book Suzy Swoof. To impress Mim's party guests and focus all of the attention onto myself for her special day, I made the girls sit around and listen to me "read" to them. They were all awed and thought I was amazing: mission accomplished. Mim was infuriated because she knew I couldn't actually read one word. Her retaliation was to teach herself to read before the age of 5. I didn't learn to read until the age of 7 after a team of adults gave me special attention in remedial reading.

Sisters and 90's Fashion.
Even with the arguing and competition, we were often on the same side. We both sucked our thumbs (I taught her how) and my parents kept coming up with ways to trick us into quitting. They tried cutting our blankies into pieces and at one point bought bad tasting liquid to paint on our thumbs. We came together to concoct a plan to steal the bottle. They ended up bribing us with American Girl dolls which worked like a charm on Mim who quit a good year before me. While Mim had Molly to play with, I still had my thumb and my stubborn determination to never give it up. It wasn't until I became so sick that I was unable to breathe with my thumb in my mouth before I would get my coveted Felicity. I was NINE.

Our main difference lies in my contentment in perceived intelligence and Mim's pursuit of actual knowledge. I could always just get by in school, sports, whatever and be fine with myself even if I didn't do that well. Mim needs to be a master. And she is. Always at the top of her class she is now in her 4th year of med school. When I'm faced with difficulties, I usually quit. I like to tell myself this has made me really well rounded because growing up I did a little bit of everything (delusional, I know). Mim committed to activities and became a competitive gymnast. We would go to her meets and I'd always sit there imagining the announcer calling me up to do the floor exercise and dominating it, while Mim was actually out there winning ribbons. If I wasn't instantly good at something, I didn't see it through. To be honest, this is definitely how I still am. Just sitting around, waiting for things to happen. Mim understands that achievement requires effort; a trait I highly admire.
After Junior Miss!
(Cat and me experiencing life's awkward phases:
Post Freshman 15 and Tween )

Mim has accomplished a lot in her life. In high school, she was selected to be a contestant in our area's Junior Miss, a scholarship competition for Senior girls. In order to compete in the pageant, you had to be interviewed as well as have a high GPA and participate in various extra-curricular activities. Mim was an obvious choice for this type of event and I believe was 4th runner up. Unfortunately, I also auditioned for Junior Miss. I was not selected. Shocking, I know. Especially when you consider my enlightened response to the simple question "What is your favorite color and why?" Julia answer: "Hot pink because, you know, girls and boys can like it. Like, it's gender neutral!" Clearly, I was not a feminist prodigy as I'm sure I had no real idea what "gender neutral" meant at the time and am unable to explain to this day what the hell I was talking about.
Me (15) & Mim (13)

We had two years together as high school students. Two years as very different kids in the same place, dealing with the same things, in totally different ways. Sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, I could be mean to her. Nevertheless, Mim is so loyal to me even when I'm clearly off my rocker and dealing with my emotions in a completely misguided way. A good example of this was poor little Mimmy's first high school dance as a freshman. I was going through a phase, a moment of pure immaturity, (that I have of course surpassed), where I would get into verbal fights with "bitches". It was my way of getting my attention fix I suppose but at this dance, Mim watched in horror as I fought on the stairwell with a girl whose only grievance against me was that she had once made out with my ex-boyfriend after we had broken up. There were lots of "Fuck you, slut!"s lodged at one another resulting in a momentary halting of the dance. Mim was rightfully concerned with my behavior but stood by me and we laughed about it later on. She always knew if anyone was terrible to her, I would stand up for her too. Even when I knew I could be mean to her, the idea of anyone else mistreating her made my blood boil.  

We don't always see eye to eye, or fully understand each other's choices, but we support one another. She doesn't judge me when she doesn't agree with me. And that's what sisters are for. In so many ways she is the only person who totally understands me. We've grown up together. We've experienced life's highest highs and lowest lows as only sisters can. And as different as we are, we are very similar. We both have a fierce independent streak. She is also the only person in the world who knows what it is like to have Cat as a sister. Yes, guy friends, we know you think she is hot. ;)
Pretty Mimmy

Mim makes me so proud. She is one person who really knows what she wants in life. She knew she wanted to be a doctor way back when we were really little. She has worked so hard to make her dreams come true and I think that is amazing. She has the purest intentions to help people and use her talents to fix the broken health care system. And even though she is a super intelligent person, she is very humble and silly. Everyone loves her med school stories about dissections and labs. There seem to be a lot of smells in medicine.

I love Mim, not only because she made me a big sister, thus giving my bossiness a context, but because she makes me want to be better. She questions me when I most need it but also supports me through everything. She makes me want to be nicer, work harder, and gives me a drive to really figure myself out and what it is that I'm passionate about. As my younger sister, she has taught me a lot about having standards, setting personal goals, and that arrogance is not always a progressive trait. I can't imagine my life without her and even though we still have epic fights here and there, she is one of my best friends and favorite people. (Can't wait to get our sister tattoos! Hint hint :)
Sistah friends! (I wish we still had that heart bedding)


  1. Love reading your posts and commentary!

  2. What a lovely tribute to Mim, Julia. I think she would probably say though, that you are a bit hard on yourself. You too are one of the beautiful Olson sisters, both inside and out. And I thank God that I was blessed with an awesome sister myself. Your mother. Whom I am sure is the model for all three of you dear Olson women. I love you all, my supercalifragilistic expialidocious nieces!

  3. I'm also an oldest child! explains why we're both so right all the time.

  4. love the hot pink answer. what would your answer be today?

  5. oh dear! putting me on the spot! I like all the colors!