Sometimes I think the zodiac is a completely made up hoax, with no evidence that it is even remotely true.
And then I remember that my cousin Karen and I were born on the same day, six years apart, and I am reminded that in fact, the zodiac is real. Because despite being born in different times and different places, being raised by very different people, and having very different life experiences, Karen and I are literally the exact same soul in two different bodies.
Post Two of Fifty: Who are you closest to in your family?
I went back and forth with this one for quite some time, because I am very close to most of my Stacey family. I would say Stacey is my best friend, and that Blake is my number one kid. I do believe my nephew Archer is my spirit animal, and I have a close relationship with all 13 of my cousins. My cousin's son Grant is my mini-me, I believe my cousin DeLaina will be the one we all grow old with because she's the caretaker, and my aunt Michelle is the one I like to text with when I'm curled up at the beach house.
That said, the question isn't who is my favorite, or who do I like best, nor is it who I spend the most quality time with. The question is, who am I closest to.
And I have to answer that one undoubtedly, my cousin Karen. Because Karen is my soulmate.
Karen and I are exactly the same.
The Leo woman in each of us is strong.
We handle love, heartache, disappointment, pride, and hurt the same.
We care passionately about the same things, and we're sensitive about the same things.
We are both unabashedly snarky and sarcastic, and neither of us is ever prepared for that to get us into trouble (even though it always does).
We have the same drive and determination, and the same self doubts and frustrations.
We both feel at home at the beach more than anywhere else, and we each keep a care bear with us to keep us happy all the time.
We also have the same toothy grin and the same Whitmore dark circles under our eyes.
We have the same narrow upper lip when we smile, and the same forehead and nose.
We have the same wild and unruly curly hair.
We make the same cheese face in every selfie.
We both have a favorite nephew who we love fiercely, more than anything.
We both love hard, we both hurt hard, and we both feel every emotion very loudly.
We're the same.
She is me, six years in the future.
I am her, six years later.
I was born on Karen's 6th birthday, in August of 1983. Whenever it's our birthday, she tells me that 34 years ago, she knew I was hers. "I felt like you were mine." She says it every year. And every year it makes my heart happy.
Karen is always the person I go to first, whether it be to laugh, cry, gush over a new boy, talk shit about other people, gossip, brag, or seek comfort. Whether she was living in Portland like me, freezing her face off living too far away in Minnesota, or now living in my paradise, Bend, she is - and always has been - a phone call away.
In fact, we call each other from the grocery store all the time, because that's the only time she can escape her children yelling for her attention just because she is on the phone, or her youngest chasing her through the kitchen with the "fuck it" button (which, while her husband finds appalling, she and I think is hilarious - yet another thing we have in common). She goes to Fred Meyer and wanders aimlessly up and down the aisles while we catch up, and then a week later I keep her on the phone in the parking lot at the gym while I wander around Target gushing to her about a boy.
Karen is always the first to tell me she's proud of me or happy for me, just like she's always the first one to empathize when I'm hurting. She's my soulmate, she feels my feelings with me. I always cry when she cries, and I get mad on her behalf - especially when I don't think she is mad enough. She always pushes and encourages me, gives me advice, and then doesn't judge me when I turn around and do the opposite.
I tell her she's too old when she wants to go to bed at 10:00 after we watch a scary movie, and she tells me I'm too young when I want to spend $30 on a mimosa breakfast we have to wait in line for while standing outside in the snow. But we both wholeheartedly agree on smoothies for breakfast sitting on the roof, and a weed-induced nap on the porch in a sunbeam. We also both agree with the scary movies and mimosa breakfasts, despite the lines and early bedtimes.
Because we're the same.
In the past couple years, there has definitely been a shift in Karen seeing me as her baby cousin, and I now get the street cred for being an adult she can discuss all adult topics with. My favorite is when she calls and vents about something for an hour and then as we're hanging up says, "oh and how are you?? Your life matters too!"
Because she's snarky.
Because we're the same.
I am close to all of my Stacey family. Karen is just about the only Whitmore I have (also, that's because we're the same...I'm pretty much the only Whitmore she has too). But she's the only one I need. She understands my feelings about our family better than anyone; she knows how much I love my grandma, and how long it took me to accept things as they are. She lets me vent, listens to me get mad and sad and raging mad and devastated - and then she tells me it'll be okay. Not because she doesn't want to listen, but because shes been there and because she knows me best. And she's always right - it always is okay. Because just like her grandma and grandpa loved her no matter what, my grandma loves me no matter what.
Because in spite of (and often because of) our sarcasm, our boldness, our chaos, our energy that other people don't understand, Karen and I are still incredibly lovable people. Just ask my mom; she loves us both.
When asked who in my family I am closest to, not much thought was required. I have a huge family, full of fun, loud, crazy, opinionated people who I love dearly. Full of cousins I call my best friends. Full of aunts who take care of me and uncle who pick on me. Full of toddlers I love to spoil rotten and laugh with. My family is amazing. And in the midst of all the amazing, I am lucky enough to have a twin, in all senses of the word.
She's my cousin.
And I bet you all a thousand dollars she started crying in paragraph two of this post. #twinning