I have always been a follower, especially because I’m the youngest in the family and looked up to my older brother for guidance and direction in life.

My brother was an ice hockey player and was the team captain.

I might have managed to get onto the junior varsity team in high school, but I rarely made it off the bench. In a lot of ways I felt like a pale comparison to him—almost like a diminished version of what he became. Thankfully my parents went out of their way to avoid comparing me to my brother or my other siblings. Despite my obvious insecurities, they tried to empower me as much as they possibly could when I was really young. I definitely feel like my parents weren’t out of their way to accommodate my siblings and I in what ways we needed it. My brother was the athlete in the family while I was a musician and my sister and other brother were both artists when we weren’t all going to school and earning good grades to get into college. I learned when I was 14 that my older brother was using marijuana, but it ended up being medical marijuana. He said that a back injury from playing football for so many years left him with chronic pain most days. To alleviate his physical back pain, he uses medical cannabis throughout the daytime and evening hours. My brother ended up teaching me everything there is to know about medical marijuana and the difference between using cannabis in this capacity and simply using it recreationally to get a buzz from it. Either way, I’m thankful for my brother’s role in my life all of these years.

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