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The Little Sister

By , Tustin, MI
I am the youngest in my family, the baby girl and the little princess. There are two years between my sister Jackie* and I, but people often thought that we were twins. We had the same blonde hair and blue eyes; the same face and the same smile. Except for the dimple. My dimple was the only distinguishing feature between us when we were young.
We went through our lives as twins, though. Doing the same things. Wearing the same clothes. My elementary school teachers would smile and tell me how much I looked like Jackie. They’d tell me that I was smart, just like her. They’d call me by her name accidentally.
But I never thought that we looked the same. I didn’t think that we acted the same, either. Jackie was a daredevil. She was crazy and obnoxious. I was fun-loving, but gentle and sensitive. How could anyone think that we were the same? How could anyone confuse me with her?
Yet they did. Constantly.
It wasn’t that they called me by the wrong name. It was that they judged me by the actions of my sister. They looked at me without any desire to see me for who I was. Instead, they saw me and assumed that I must be just like her.
And I wasn’t. I didn’t want to be.
This has been a norm in my life for years. Everything good that I have ever accomplished has been credited to my family or to my sister.
“She’s just like Jackie: smart and creative.” they say.
“Those Smith* girls are all so talented.” they say.
Unless you have been there, you cannot imagine the pain that stabs through you when you realize that you can’t win. That no matter what you do, you will never be seen for the unique and talented person that you are.
The truth is that people are not limited by the accomplishments of their family. They are not fated to make mistakes because their family has made mistakes, nor are they destined for greatness because their family is great. Each person is different, with different strengths and different interests. And every person deserves to be seen for who they are, not for who they ‘ought to be’.

*Real name has been substituted for the sake of privacy





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