To The Woman Who Taught Me The Strength Of Vulnerability

I knew I wanted you as a sibling, but I never dreamed that you would become my forever friend.

two sisters laughing GLRL / Shutterstock

By Nicole Garbanzos

Before you were born, I was a lost little girl who did not know how to express what I was feeling in a pleasant or productive way. My pain turned into rage, verbal abuse, and reckless behaviors that are still painful to think about.

Somehow, you changed me for the better by showing me what true strength is, and I can’t repay you enough for everything I’ve learned.

Hopefully, though, you’ll accept this letter of gratitude straight from me to you.


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Thank you for teaching me how to admit mistakes without excessive attitude, episodes of denial, or “cold shoulder” moments. You taught me that actions that I once thought showed weakness actually demonstrate my strength.

Thank you for listening to everything I feel without judging me.

Thank you for introducing me to your world of charity and immense kindness. You’ve taught me to become a better person.

Thank you for every lesson you’ve taught me about embracing my sensitive side. You’ve shown me that it’s OK to admit that I’m hurt or offended.


Thank you for showing me how beautiful vulnerability can really be. You taught me how to embrace every single emotion that runs through my body instead of trying to hide.

Thank you for your transparency, your honesty, and emotional intelligence. You have are truly the foundation of where true strength lies.

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Thank you for correcting my constant desire to be “the strong one” and instead showing me what true strength looks like. You taught me how qualities that the world labels as “weaknesses” are actually great strengths.

You showed me that having a compassionate, caring heart is stronger than I ever could have possibly imagined. I will always wonder how you see the best in everyone around you rather than preparing yourself for the worst.


You are the absolute definition of a queen in the making. The way you confront problems and diplomatically handle arguments inspires me.

You may be shy about performing in front of our family and meeting new people, but you show no mercy when it comes to social injustice.

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You are the perfect example for girls of our generation. You’re the hope in humanity we all search for, the flicker of light for teenage girls to know that they have a voice, too.

Society may underestimate your survival intelligence, but I know it’s there.

I knew I never wanted to be the only child in our parents’ lives. I knew I wanted you as a sibling, but I never dreamed that you would become a friend... my forever friend. So, thank you, sister.


Thank you for teaching me lessons I never knew I even needed to learn. Thanks for showing me the life’s most powerful secrets.

Most of all, though, thank you for being mine.

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Nicole Garbanzos is a journalist and freelance writer with bylines in ELLE Canada, Goalcast, Unwritten, Thought Catalog, and HOLR Magazine. Follow her on Twitter for more.