My sister Nina came out of the closet this summer.  She dropped the bomb via text message: “BTW, I’m gay.”  After Nina sent the texts, she stonewalled us for two days (no pun intended).  She turned her phone off.  Smart girl.  None of us had suspected, and we had two days to process.  She didn’t hear any of our immediate reactions.

 Let me tell you a little bit about the person Nina is.  Nina wants to save the planet.  When Nina was 15, she bought boxes of energy-saving lightbulbs and put them out on the street.  She wrote “Free Lightbulbs” on the boxes, hoping people would take them and make their homes more energy efficient.


Bean’s guitar case

She wants nothing for Christmas.  For years, it’s been a problem.  Christmas comes around, Nina has no list, my Mom freaks out.  My Mom vented about it the other day, “You can tell your sister, that when she says she wants nothing for Christmas, she is withholding her love.  I get joy from validating her as my child and when she says she wants nothing for Christmas, she is depriving me of that joy.  You can tell her her mother said that.”  So what do we get Neen for Christmas?  We donate to charities and tell her that we did so.  “I don’t want anything!  Buy some trees.”

For my birthday, she sent me $40 worth of Sprinkles Cupcakes even though she definitely couldn’t afford to.  She bought my Dad vintage harmonicas for his birthday.  She’s an entirely selfless person.


Nina refuses to buy clothes from department stores.  “Do you know how much water is required to make a single T-shirt?”  She buys most things used, but she waits a hell of a long time to buy anything at all.  She wears her shoes until there are holes in them.  She shops at thrift stores because buying something second-hand is much better for the environment.

She forces us to sit down in front of the computer and watch YouTube videos about consumerism and mass production.  When she comes home from college, she turns the water heater down to save energy.  This means colder baths and showers for us.  Nina changed all of our bulbs out and the light is not the same, no matter what she says.

She’s a great artist.  I don’t have a lot of her art, but some of her art is pictured.

She flies on a longboard.

Nina’s beautiful.  She’s got a smile to die for, and she’s the spitting image of my Mom, a very pretty lady.  My sister is sunshine.  She’s hope.  She’s inspiration embodied.  And she’s fucking resilient.  She is a gentle soul.

I’m the oldest, and a bit more of a mother-figure than a sister-figure.  Nina and Kimmy will mock me, “Okay, Mom.”  “Whatever you say, Mom.”  But that’s how it is with the eldest.  I’ve always been protective of my sisters.  Worrying about their safety, wary of their choices.  When Nina came out, I didn’t suspect it.  I cried, but not why you’d think.  I cried thinking about hate she would be confronted with.  I thought of her being in put in harm’s way.  I thought of the inequality she’d face.


When you think your sister is a better person than pretty much anyone you know, it’s hard to listen to the bigotry.  I understand that those people just don’t understand.  That they have their viewpoint and I have mine.  But for someone to say that they can’t live in the same apartment complex as someone like my sister, because of who she is, the person she was born to be, that’s not easy to understand.  Nina wouldn’t be upset at this person though.  I’m the one who is upset.

We tend to think we all have more differences than we really do.  Differences in age, race, skin color, gender, sexuality, economic status, and so on, serve to create this illusion that we’re all very different.  But in fact, we are all very similar.

24 thoughts on “Bean

  1. One day because of people like you and Bean there will be a celebration of differences, diversity, choice and individual values. For now you will continue being the pioneers that the suffragettes, the bra burners of the 60’s, the women CEO’s of today are being. You will continue to make a difference, and rather than to be fearful of small minded, controlling and fearful people, you will discover that there are more adult minds and open minds that will surround you because they are fearless and powerful and many.
    Your work is inspiring. Bean is inspiring. You are the powerful women of today and the future. I am honored to know you.

  2. Your post really touch me. My stepsister went through the same (she is bisexual). Despite the harm that comes her way at times, she believes she should had done it sooner because the moment she told us all who she really was, she liberated herself. You are a very skilled writer, keep up the good work. I will be following your blog. Oh and thanks for coming by MyFarAwayPlaces ^^

  3. Wow, hell of an introduction to your blog!
    Thank you for introducing me to your sister – she sounds incredibly cool.

    I hope she keeps going on living her life, and either opens the minds of those who have a problem with her sexuality, or just tunes them out completely.

    As far as the guitar case, well….to each their own, I guess…
    (And I dug the tune.)

  4. She is a very cool kid. She’s a lot wiser than her 19 years would let you think. My hopes are your hopes too, but I think she’ll do just what you said. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

  5. Pingback: Friday Foolishness – Get The Goods Edition | Guapola

  6. Nina is Nina. Nothing more… nothing less. What you see is what you get. She has no need to try and impress anyone because her natural goodness shines through touching all of those she comes into contact with. Her environmental awareness reflects my own, but she takes it to the next level. I feel connected to her no matter how far we are apart. I live vicariously through her “nature” experiences wishing for earlier days. I love and accept Nina unconditionally. I am very proud of the young woman that Nina has become and honored to be her aunt.

  7. Natalie, you are a very good big sister, and Nina is the same sweet girl that she always was. I still remember how beautiful she was in 7th grade! Tell her that people who judge anyone for giving another human being love are small minded. I’m so glad that you H. girls are still close! Love to all of the Playgroup baby girls.

  8. Gosh text message that is hard. I did phone calls. I wanted the know the immediate reaction so I would know what I was dealing with. But, I am pushy person to begin with.
    My sister has been like a rock when it comes to me being gay. You have no idea how much that means.

  9. Your love for your sister shines through in every word of this post and it’s beautiful. At least things seem to be getting better in society. But I understand how you feel, I would feel the same way.

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