Naïve or Stupid: You Decide

May 22, 2008
By Kathryn Wiley, Matthews, NC

Sibling Rivalry. Anyone who grew up with a brother or sister knows that tension builds throughout the years. I suffered from sibling rivalry and because of that, I lived through some of my most painful and humiliating moments.

My sister. Everybody loves Jennifer. They look at her and fawn over her keen sense of style and her sense of propriety. She received the best marks in school. Beat me at games. Gave me hand-me-down clothes. I resented her for all those things. I hated that she created these unbelievably high standards that I only in dreams lived up to. My parents forced me to dwell in my sister’s shadow. They perceived that she embodied their strongest desires of what a child should be. I felt trapped and unable to express myself. So one summer I grabbed my life by the reins and attempted to turn things to the way I wanted.

This summer easily became my most infamous summer to date. I landed myself twice in the emergency room that summer and both times link back to my sister. My first bike accident. In our neighborhood, the amenities included a pool, tennis courts, and a playground. Right in front of all of this sat a wide open parking lot. One day my sister grabbed a stopwatch from home and we rode our bikes down to the pool. We decided to ride laps around the parking lot and determine who rode faster. My sister beat me every single lap. Therefore, the last lap I pushed extremely hard. I made the first turn and them “WHAM!”. I flew over the front of my bike. I face planted into the curb. I busted my chin open and need ten stitches. That marked the beginning of my bike blunders.

Two months later, I fell off my bike again, but with more serious results. It happened on a on a warm summer day in the beginning of August. My family and I left our house to go on a bike ride. The neighborhood situated itself on a very hilly and steep plot of land. Quite often you need to use your brakes. My sister rode her bike extremely fast. I worked exceptionally hard to keep up to her. But, when we arrived at a hill, my sister glided down the hills so effortlessly that I believed that you rode down hills without effort. My sister not only glided but she flew. Due to living off the coattails of my sister, I attempted to go at her speed. I chose not to use my brakes in order to catch up and beat my sister down the hill. I sped up remarkably fast, losing all sense of reality. What happened, I still question but I found myself flat on my back. Apparently I flipped over the handle bar, damaging the bike indefinitely. I laid there in excruciating pain like I never desire to feel again. I received the biggest burn on my right arm. I also broke my right leg in two places.
This whole event started when I felt alone, unimportant, and overlooked. I guess I wanted to claim victory over my sister, hence I would feel important. I never realized that I my plan, seemingly foolproof, possessed the ability to land me in the ER. I just wanted someone to view me as a separate entity. I love my sister, but I strongly sought to find my own way in life. I hated paths that appeared laid out; they held no spontaneity for me. I needed to make my own mistakes and to brake out of that mold.
Now I look back at a younger me and see an idiot. Everybody knows that on large hills or sharp turns you should use brakes.
I enraptured myself with beating my sister, and therefore that I lost all sense of reality. When a person of larger proportions and using a larger bike rides down a hill, physics proves that the larger person holds the ability to reach the bottom faster than a smaller person does. I believed that everyone rode at the same velocity.
Due to this unfortunate mistake, I possess a memory that I hate. I hate my ignorance in not using brakes. I hate my wrong conclusions about my plan. I hate my desperate state for acceptance. Most of all though, I hate my competitive nature.

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