Who I Am

There it is, that dang song. It comes on the radio and my heart sinks. My mind goes racing back in time to the year 2000. I’m instantly 11 years old again.

Fifth grade. The talent show. Could there be anything cooler? My sister, who was in Kindergarten at the time, was totally into singing. Like, she had plans for a life-long career as a pop-star. Her karaoke machine and full-blown professional mic stand in the living room were going to carry the Kistler name into stardom. All year we had planned and practiced this awesome duet. With her mad singing skills and my killer dance moves we would win the hearts of  thousands (okay, at least our parents and maybe a teacher or 2). The point is my sister was totally excited.

When it came time to submit a proposal for the show I backed out. I didn’t just back out, I ditched my sister for my BFF of the moment. It was fifth grade, my last chance to show Lea Hill Elementary what I was all about. So, I decided to do a little number with my friend instead.

I can’t remember what we did. I don’t even remember the girl’s name. Clearly, I didn’t sky rocket to fame. But I do remember the fifth grade talent show like it was yesterday. I feel it especially close when that song comes on. My heart stings. My stomach lurches into my throat. My hands sweat. I feel compelled to text my sister and tell her how much I love her and how sorry I am.

You see, my sister still performed. Without me. Alone on that stage stood a 6 year-old girl singing her heart out without her backup singer and dancer, without her big sissy who is supposed to teach her how to be a good person and stuff. She was also without fear, without regret.

My sister taught me something that day. She wasn’t even mad at me (my mom on the other hand…). She just wanted to sing. She taught me that family is family and promises are meant for keeping. She also taught me that the only things you regret are the things you don’t do.

I hate when that song comes on. It’s a stark reminder for me to be a good person, to do what I say. It reminds me to love the people I’m with. It reminds me of Who I Am. So thank you Jessica Andrews, thanks for coming on my radio this morning.

Sorry Rachie. I heart you forever.


  1. elsie · March 9, 2016

    Isn’t it amazing the power a song has. That one hurts and puts you in a place you don’t like. But what a powerful memory piece you’ve written. This was really good!


  2. Rachel · March 9, 2016

    Awwww. I still heart you too.


  3. Kim K · March 9, 2016

    Sniff sniff. I’m the little sister in my fam. You big sisters are the compass by which we set ourselves. You are too cute.


  4. rosecappelli · March 9, 2016

    “She also taught me that the only things you regret are the things you don’t do.” Very powerful message. My post today was also about how a song can evoke a memory.


  5. llsmiles · March 9, 2016

    When read that you were 11 in 2000, I thought… She’s so young. I’m glad to be in a profession that allows for mixing of the ages b/c I learn so much from our spectrum perspectives. You’re sister is so icky to have your devotion. Like you said, life teaches us lessons. You learned from yours and that is what matters.


    • llsmiles · March 11, 2016

      *lucky (darn auto-correct)


  6. Nina Anderson · March 10, 2016

    Your line “My heart stings” says it all. Beautiful post!


  7. Leigh Anne · March 11, 2016

    Songs have so many memories for me – funny how that works. Same way with smells for me too. There is nothing like the love of and for a sister.


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