I was completely unoriginal. I was just a copycat. Really, I was nothing like him, but I wanted to be. A wanna-be is all I really was. I tried so hard to be like him, but it was never enough. It didn’t matter how much I practiced, studied, or wished. I was never going to be as good as him. But that phrase is what messed me up. I thought that because I wasn’t as good as him meant that I wasn’t good at all. I felt worthless, hollow. Nobody liked me anyways, so I just started to cut people off from my life.
I didn’t see any reason why people would want to hang out with me, so why even bother trying? I let my insecurities and pride get in the way. I backed off from some of my closest friends so they wouldn’t see what a faker I really was. I didn’t want them to see my weaknesses and how disappointing I really was. I had become so distant that people just began to stop trying. What was the point in trying to be my friend if I was just going to push them away?
I didn’t care as much about school anymore. What’s the point of trying if you’re just gonna fail? My grades went down-hill. Teachers I had once loved who had cared about me looked at me with such confusion and disappointment. I thought they’d expected this, just like I did. I wasn’t built for success like my brother was. Not everyone is destined for greatness in life. Some people just get to fade out while they watch everyone else succeed.
I’d cry to him sometimes. Why am I like this? Why doesn’t anybody like me? The only reason people even talk to me is because of you. I always feel so alone. Why can’t I just be like you? He’d listen, then tell me that he wasn’t perfect and that he too felt alone at times. He said he made mistakes and let people down just like everyone does at one point or another. He’d comfort me by saying I really was better than I thought and I did have friends who liked me for me and nothing else. Lastly, he said I wasn’t dumb. Although my grades weren’t the best, I was doing well. But I didn’t believe him.
I was constantly discouraged, stressed, and angry. I always felt so ashamed of myself because I was never able to reach the goals that in reality, were unreachable. Sometimes I felt like God had set me up in this family just to fail.
I made up my mind. There was no way I was going to stay somewhere where I constantly felt pressured to be something I’m wasn’t. Where so much was expected of me, that I couldn’t possibly be happy. So I left. I left the school that I knew so well. The school that I’d gone to for six years. The school I had grown up in with my siblings. The school where my reputation had been set. It was hard, but I had to. I couldn’t bare letting people down anymore. I needed to be my own person. I needed to be okay with the fact that I wasn’t as smart, loving, talented, or incredible as my brother was-but that I could be me.
I came to my new school with low expectations. I didn’t expect to make any more friends than the ones I already had and I was okay with that. I didn’t mind being lost in the crowds with no one knowing who I was. I liked only having a few friends. The fewer friends, the fewer people to disappoint, right? I stuck closely with the few people I knew, tried harder in school, and just went on with the flow of life. But after the first few weeks of school, I changed. I stepped out of my comfort zone and started talking to more people, going to more school activities, and hanging out with new people. I was shocked. I was shocked because these people liked me. These people who didn’t even know I had a brother wanted to be my friend. It was mind blowing. It had never occurred to me that people could genuinely like me for who I was and not for who I was related to.
If people who didn’t even know my brother existed wanted to be my friend, then maybe I really was worth something. Maybe I was more than what I put myself out to be. Maybe my brother was right and all this time I really did have friends who liked me for who I was. Unfortunately, I had been stupid enough to push them away, but at least now I had learned my lesson. Now I knew I was worth something-something worth knowing, loving, and caring about.
I’m not valedictorian, but that’s okay. My GPA isn’t above a 4.0 but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I probably won’t be Prom Queen, but that doesn’t matter. I never get casted as lead roles in anything, but I still have fun. I’m not going to go to any Ivy Leagues, but really, how many kids do? I’ve learned to stop comparing myself to others because it will only bring disappointment and self-doubt. I can’t constantly be focusing on everything I’m not or else I’ll never be happy! Everyday I need to remind myself that I’m not alone and that I do matter. Even though I will never be my brother, I can still be myself, and that’s enough.