Five Things I Learned From Alexis Johnson / by Sophie Johnson

My sister is this extraordinary person who I always fail to describe correctly. I start by telling people she has very blonde hair and very white teeth and very big boobs, and that all of this comes naturally to her. But then people picture this gum-chewing sorority-type, which my sister is not. I tell people that she is a wizard at video games (Nintendo variety only, for the most part), and that when she goes to settle Catan she always settles it. But then people see this nerdy Comic-Con chick with acne and see-through skin from staying in a basement too long, which is also not my sister.

The truth is that I have not met anyone like my sister in my life. I am pretty sure no one has. She is at once kind and cruel, brilliant and curious, beautiful and single. She's a walking contradiction in the way all the best things on earth seem to be. And tonight, she is coming to visit.

In celebration, I thought I would list the five biggest lessons I've learned from Alexis in the past several years. She's like Yoda, but hotter (difficult as that may be to imagine; I know no one who wouldn't go down on that little frog man). Without further ado:

  1. Be who you are. In order to be all the things Alexis is, she has necessarily had to learn how to be honest with herself about what she truly and actually likes. So maybe sometimes she fits into 30 different Venn Diagrams, but never all the way. She defies categorization. Alexis does not compromise to try to fit in. She is unapologetically herself, on her own terms. That means the people who love her love her for all the right reasons, and not because she pretends to like tennis. (She might have actually liked tennis at one time in her life, but that's beside the point.)
  2. Eat all the cookies if you want to eat all the cookies. Yesterday I got twelve cookies from the cookie bar at Whole Foods. I meant to eat one to two cookies per day. But then I got in my bed and I ate ALL THE COOKIES. I frantically texted Alexis about this: "OH MY GOD I have SO MUCH work to do and I just spent AN HOUR watching episodes of 'Adventure Time' and eating ALL THE COOKIES!!!!" And Alexis said, "That's so great! You are enjoying some of the best things about being alive."
  3. YOGA. Alexis is into yoga. She even teaches yoga. I can't stand taking yoga from anyone but her. She says during her classes, "The way your body is right now is exactly perfect. Let your breath anchor you and be with this incredible body you have." She is very strong and she practices yoga with patience and joy and laughter, and she lets it teach her all these very humbling, grounding things. Sometimes she sends me pictures of quotes she writes down from yoga books she reads. They're very heady. But the main point is usually, "You are where you are, and that is fine."
  4. Power, wisdom, courage. Alexis has what is fondly referred to in the tattoo community as a "tramp stamp" of the Zelda Triforce on her lower back. If you are unfamiliar (shame on you), the Triforce is a sacred golden triangular relic left behind by three Golden Goddesses, and it reappears throughout the Legend of Zelda video game series. It emphasizes the importance of an equal balance of power, wisdom, and courage in one's life. Personally, I don't really think power is ever actually important. But I think the Triforce can grant wishes. If you find one. And you have all three qualities. I don't really remember, I thought "Ocarena of Time" was really scary and I made Alexis play it for me while I watched. Maybe the lesson here is that it's hot when girls are good at video games. 
  5. Sometimes it's raining, and you don't think you want to go running. Go running anyway. If you don't go running anyway, that's OK. My sister just ran 12.5 miles. In a row. She couldn't have done that a year ago, when she started training for her first race. She trained diligently. Sometimes it would be raining, and she'd say, "I don't really want to go running," but then she would go running. Not because she felt she should, but because she knew deep down that she actually did want to go and the thing that was stopping her was fear. But sometimes you don't go running anyway. Alexis would say, "That's OK."

THIS GIRL IS A GENIUS. I AM SO LUCKY TO GET TO SPEND THE WEEK WITH HER. I apologize in advance if I get a little giddily distracted over the course of the next several days.