Sibling Rivalry

December 10, 2008
By Anonymous

I worshipped and hated my brother all in the same breath. I desperately wanted his approval and attention, and I hated him for it.

No one could really blame me for wanting some approval, my parents had just gotten divorced, and my mom moved us to a different city, new school, and new friends. I was trying my hardest to cling to my past. A life in which my parents were happily married, I had many friends, and it was acceptable for my brother to hang out with me. I can’t say that my behavior got completely out of control, but being desperate, I tried everything to win him over. Yet, I don’t think my brother has ever realized the profound effect he had on me.

As children, my brother, Sean, and I always had a competitive relationship. He excelled in sports and academics, and being two years older than me, he did everything first. I tried following in his footsteps, but it didn’t work out for me. I didn’t seem to excel in anything and always seemed to come up second best to Sean. Sean wasn’t aware of how much I envied him and his ability to do whatever he put his mind to. By the age of ten, I was so used to hearing from every member of my family what amazing potential my brother had; he had the whole world at his fingertips. At this point, I learned that sarcasm was my best weapon, because then I could be bitter and pretend it was a joke. My self- confidence also started to fade as my formative years past. All I ever knew was that I could never be as good as my brother, especially in school. In school, Sean had many friends, and all the little girls in love with him; I craved that kind of attention, I wanted to be popular. However, through all of this I was always proud of my brother, and would defend him.

I just assumed that because I craved this attention so much that Sean loved it. Because of this assumption, we didn’t have that friendly brother-sister relationship. Our only encounters in the hallway or at the dinner table often led to explosive arguments. I think Sean was mostly confused as to why I picked fights with him. Unable to see my reasons, he had no clue that I fought to get his attention and some notice from him. Even though we were constantly fighting or arguing, I still thought my brother was a person to look up to.

The move to the new school was, like everything else, easier on my brother, who walked into a room exuding confidence and control over the situation, while I kind of slinked into the back of the room, afraid to look at people. I wanted more confidence like my brother had, and I begged him to teach me how to have this quality. Laughing, he told me that confidence couldn’t be taught. So, like everything else, my brother had got confidence from the gene pool, while I was still wading in the shallow end, waiting for my talents and gifts.

This sibling rivalry lasted all through elementary school and progressed into high school. Then Katrina hit and everything changed. I was a freshman at my all girls academy and Sean was a junior at the all boy's academy, when our lives were turned upside down by that horrible catastrophe. After things settled down a little bit, Sean decided to stay in Baton Rouge with family and finish out his junior year and senior year at Redemptorist, a local Catholic high school in Baton Rouge. All of a sudden I didn’t have a big brother to fight with and compete with. Then a revelation dawned on me. Even though that competition had seemed like it was hurting my self-confidence, it was actually urging me to do my best and strive for the top. I tried so many different sports because I wanted to beat Sean in something, and through those experiences I realized that I am decent in some sports, just different ones from Sean. My grades also improved. Since Sean was older, I had a benchmark to pass up every year and that was my goal I strived for.

In the end, I realized that because of my big brother I became the person I am today. I would have never tried so many different sports or extra curricular activities if it hadn’t been for him encouraging me. For me, Sean is the person that I will always admire and look up to. Because of him, I tried new things and took risks; he inspired me to come out of my shell and experience life.

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