Hand-me-ups and why they bruise the ego

Jillian and Amanda
My sister may be six years younger than me, but she definitely has me beat in the height department. Photo: Laurie Marino

If you read my post about Waka Flocka Flame, you are already aware that I am not the most intimidating in terms of stature. In fact, I have been lovingly referred to as “short,” “petite,” “itty bitty” and “fun-sized” as recently as this year. For this reason, while one might think that my old clothes would get passed down to my younger sister, the opposite happens.

Now, this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when my younger sister was receiving old sweaters and shirts from me, but some time during my high school career, she met and exceeded my height limit. The real pain is that I wasn’t giving her things I was outgrowing generally: I was giving her things I had had for too many years and decided not to wear anymore (I say this knowing that there are still clothes in drawers and closets from junior high school and that my confirmation dress is still being worn for a variety of events).

Please understand that I do not mind my size. In fact, I would say I stopped at a pretty good place. I do mind that my sister, six years younger than me, has about three inches, fifteen pounds and two shoe sizes on me. For the past few years, I have been receiving her hand-me-ups: clothes that she has outgrown as she continues to grow like a normal human that doesn’t explicitly look like it belongs to a young person. Hand-me-ups are Mother Nature’s way of saying, “you tried. You really did.”

This point is particularly potent because today, as my sister cleaned out her closet, she took the liberty of leaving a pile of clothes on my bed that I could look through at my leisure. Imagine my dismay when I saw the sweater I had worn for my senior portrait and had handed down to her shortly thereafter. That’s right, my sister had outgrown my hand-me-downs and tried to hand them back up to me.

As I look around at my own friends and their siblings, I notice that it is often the case that the younger sibling is bigger than the older sibling. Now, whether this is due to better nurturing, and extra role model, a healthier second offspring or something completely different, I do not know. I will leave that for you to contemplate. Whatever causes it, and no matter how good you look, nothing will make receiving your younger siblings old clothes any kind of dignified. So, younger siblings, whatever it is, don’t put your older sibling through the shame of sifting through your old clothes: send it to Goodwill (or let them go find it in your closet themselves. It feels more like borrowing clothes then).


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