One of my favorite driving songs is “Regulate” by Warren G and Nate Dogg. My brother and I often include this on our aimless driving playlists; switching singing parts depending on our mood. As I often joke he’s my ride or die it only made sense to title this post with our song.
Throughout the evolution of this blog there have been a few series that have emerged, organically. California conversations, monthly goals and of course, features on the core of Team *Sam – the people who motivate me, inspire me and support me in all my endeavors. So far you’ve heard about my mom, dad, Jewels, Danielle and now it’s certainly time for you to hear about my one and only brother, Derek.
We’re four years apart, he being younger but a foot taller so I always joke he’s my little big brother. We were close enough as kids, playing Nintendo or watching cartoons one minute then bickering the next – typical siblings. However we always had each others back. That was never more evident than in November of 2009. I had quit my job months early and by Thanksgiving it was clear my dream of being in L.A. wasn’t going to happen. I cried, a lot. I was devastated and felt like such a failure. I took a lot of aimless drives to clear my head.
One night Derek offered to join me for an aimless drive and the resulting conversation elevated us from siblings to friends. I shared how lost I was feeling and how much of a failure I was and with wisdom far beyond his 23 years Derek helped put me back together. He said how proud he was of me just to TRY and he told me I’m so much braver than I realized (citing dozens of examples I had forgotten in my self-loathing state). We drove until the wee hours of the morning, returning home exhausted but grateful for the bond that was just formed.
That was the first of probably hundreds of life conversations we’ve shared during aimless drives. Our vehicles have changed, our soundtracks have changed (though Regulate is almost always in the lineup!), our ideals have changed but the friendship we now share has not changed – if anything it’s gotten better. It’s funny, we don’t seem like we’d be friends. I’m emotional, dramatic, bossy, sometimes naive and almost always sunshiney. Derek is quiet, reserved but insanely smart and witty. He’s a realist, never an optimist. However, he also elicits the most laughs in our family, by far, because he’s hilarious. He is the OG of not giving a fuck, he says what he wants and never sugarcoats things, long before it was trendy. He keeps me in check, brings me back to reality and is someone I can always count on 100% (whether I need to cry about a boy or quote The Town, he’s my guy).
In the last few years he’s helped break down some of my walls- getting me to loosen up, laugh more and not get so wound up about things outside of my control. He’s someone I can trust with anything (from the mundane to the insane) and will support anyone with any goal they have – something I’m lucky enough to know first hand as I’ve tackled so many challenges personally and professionally.
He’s been conquering his own weight loss battle and I’m so proud of him and how strong he’s become (physically and mentally). Once we both reach our ultimate goal we’re going to celebrate with a sibling trip to California. I can’t wait to share my favorite place with one of my favorite people. Love you, D! Thank you for being the best brother and a core member of Team *Sam! ❤