When I was three, I learned to talk. At age 3, my brother could walk, but he couldn’t talk. At age 5, he still couldn’t communicate, he’d always grunts and point at what he wants. At age 9, he finally learned to say, “No, mom, and dad”. At age 11, he still isn’t verbal; he still can’t communicate or hold conversations. My brother has severe autism. Through the years, he grew in appearance but his mind processes like a baby. I always wondered, why? Of all families, why us? We could never understand what he wants, sometimes he’d just cry and we wouldn’t know what was bothering him.

            When my friends and complain about how annoying their brother is, I’d think, at least your brother is able to talk to you. People tend to forget that their voice is a blessing. Being able to talk freely about how we feel or what we want is incredible. My brother smiles brightly at me, with his sincere eyes. His smile is so precious; it motivates me to keep smiling because if he can smile, how can I not. He never experienced friendship, sang a song, told a story, read a book, drew a picture, or held a conversation with anyone, yet he smiles every day. Even though, he is younger than me, he showed me happiness is your option, to make the best out of everything you have. He has our family’s love and care.

            Through the years, I still pray and dream of my brother to have a conversation with me. Maybe one day he will finally say, “I love you, Anna sister”. Even though he may not be able to experience what normal boys experience, he still smiles because he wakes up every morning under the sun.

            It is significant for us to look on the bright side of everything, cherish life even when it’s not perfect. My brother, age 11, non-verbal, smiles as if he has discovered the key to world peace, he is my inspiration to inspire others. Don’t focus on what you don’t have; focus on what you do have. At least I have a brother, even if we can’t talk to each other, his smile and eyes speak to me. He’s telling me, “Anna, use your voice, use everything you have to make a change, the world a better place, through your words, actions, and smiles. Always remember to smile.”

            “You’re still my biggest inspiration”, one of my followers on Tumblr messaged me. I have more than 2,000 followers, people who read my stuff. I’d post inspirational pictures and quotes, motivating others to be a better person, and chase their dreams, and most importantly, to never give up. “Dream it, believe it, achieve it!” “Be the type of person you’d want to meet.” I try to inspire through everything I can, Tumblr, Facebook, Youtube. I want everyone to feel like they are worthy, and they have so many reasons to smile. Why smile? Because you’re alive, you have a bed to sleep at night; you have friends who care for you.

            I spoke at age 3, but at age 16 I learned from my brother to use my voice to motivate and inspire in every way I can. Thank God for voice to speak, eyes to see, and lips to smile, and heart to feel happiness, and for each moment we’re breathing. Smile, someone uses your smile as a reason to smile. Anthony Lin, my brother is the reason for mine.