September 19 2016

An Open Letter to My Sister/Best Friend Carol

Today, instead of putting up a typical blog post about art or photography, I thought I’d write an open letter to my sister, Carol. I’m not the gushy type, outside of Sam and my two boys, I’m not particularly warm (though I wish I was), but I feel that it’s important to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you. Sure, I could have done this privately, over email, but I feel compelled to share this.

You see, back when I was first diagnosed with bipolar, it was Sam and Carol who were there for me. Carol and I attended UCLA together and so we developed a close relationship during those formative years. I call her the better version of me, she’s smart, funny and compassionate. She’s the one I call when I’m feeling too stressed out or when I’m on the verge of another manic episode. She drops everything for me. She’s taught me that you can trust people but that the feelings of happiness and confidence come not from the validation from others but from within.

So here goes. (Carol’s nickname is Jae. It’s derived from her Korean name Jihae, which means “wisdom”.)

Dear Jae,

This letter is a long time coming. I’m not good with words, like you, but I didn’t want another moment to pass by without telling you how much you mean to me. Back when I was first diagnosed with bipolar, and I had to go the UCLA psych ward, where I spent six weeks locked up and away from my children, it was you who talked me down from the ledge. In the darkest moments of my life, you remained steady and strong. And for that, I thank you.

While in mania, I know I was difficult to deal with. I remember crying on the phone to you because I had just gotten into a big fight with Sam. You let me stay at your place but, more than that, you didn’t make me feel like something was wrong with me. You were patient and understanding, you knew that the storm would eventually pass and that things would return back to normal.

I admire you for the mother that you are to your three children and I’m thankful to have such a great role model. When you take Parker aside and reprimand him in a stern but caring way, you show me that you can love a child while still teaching him hard life lessons.

Thank you for always opening up your house to us. Sam and I see your place as our second home, you make it so comfortable. Also, thanks for always making me fresh guacamole. It never goes unnoticed.

Finally, thanks for the boost of confidence. Making the switch from running My Modern Met to becoming a real photographer is daunting and scary, but you give me the peps talks that I need.

From the bottom of my heart, I love you.

Your little sis,


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