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words to live by: my second self


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"In my cousin, I find a second self." 

Isabel Norton 



Today's "Words To Live By" (a Sunday segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week) is dedicated to my favorite cousin Stephanie, who is celebrating her 28th birthday today. Steph and I grew up an hour away from each other but always remained close friends, writing each other and staying connected even when, as we grew older, we found ourselves thousands of miles apart. Yesterday I went searching for a good quote about cousins and when I found the one above by Isabel Norton, I was incredibly moved by it. Anyone who has a close relationship with a cousin knows that it is an amazing and intricate thing, much like the relationship sisters have but, in many ways, it is better because it is not tarnished with the smudges of being raised by the exact same people in the exact same circumstances. Cousins, if they are close with one another, share the closeness and shared memories of siblings, but also have the unbreakable bond of having chosen one another as friends. While my cousin and I are close in age and, therefore, made suitable playmates as children, there was no guarantee that we would grow up to be so alike (and still so different!) -- our noses still always in books, our childhood obsessions still close to our hearts, still clinging tightly to our endless fascinations with words and the way they impact the human mind. We are, and have always been, almost unbearably different in so many ways and, yet, there is something about the bond we share that links us for life, making an distance inconsequential when it comes to connecting with one another and still feeling as close as ever. Today I'm grateful to have a connection that few seem to have the privilege of experiencing in their lifetimes -- the bond with someone who is both your relative and one of your best friends, someone who knows all of your past and yet still remains such a strong force in your present. I am extremely lucky to have a close cousin in my life and I wish her nothing but the happiest of birthdays and a year filled with every positive thing she can imagine. 

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