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To my older brother...

Today, I want to tell you a little bit about my older brother Scott and the influence he had on me. I don't know if it's because I'm over 40, because I finally moved as far west as I could or if I've got a new outlook since my Dad died, but I'm appreciating some of the things he did for me more than ever. I'm especially grateful for Scott because he's the person who opened the door for me to question everything and fight like hell not to be like everyone else.

Mom and Dad tell the story that they brought me home from the hospital as Scott's little sister, not their new baby. When I was little, Mom took me to the doctor because I didn't speak until I was two. the doctor told her not to worry, Scott knew everything I needed before I could ask.

Because of Scott, my high school theater monologue was about a rat wanting to be a talk show host, not a rat by Henry Rollins. It was RAD.

Because of Scott, I chose art, music and photography. (I subsequently quit photography because I couldn't come close to his skills)

Because of Scott, I attached myself to philosophy and critical thinking classes instead of gossip.

When Mom put me in a smocked dress, Scott handed me a skateboard or my Ibanez bass guitar with a punk rock mixed tape.

When the world told me to be quiet and small, Scott encouraged me to write. Even when I didn't get accepted to the SC Governor's School for writing, I kept writing.

Scott showed me the dark side of things so I could appreciate the light side and see what courage looked like. Our Dad celebrated me and resisted Scott. I conformed and I got the gold star. Scott didn't budge and still continues to stay loyal to the artist he is.

School told Scott that he'd never amount to anything because of where we came from. Tell that to Epitonic, his brilliant photography skills and his successes in San Francisco.

I hope Scott is able to love himself for who he is and much as he loved me growing up. I also hope Scott is able to show himself some of the Grace he showed me along the way.