My family and I live in the heart of NYC. We have it all: Fifth Avenue, Central Park, and many great places to eat. While our apartment is small and the air can be smoky, we have to admit that the location is one of the best.
My family expects me and my sister to be very high achieving. My mom, who during her childhood and teenage years in Trinidad won many awards, received her PhD in engineering shortly after meeting my dad. My dad also fits in with the overachiever vibe in our household, his occupation being a computer programmer. And my twin sister now attends a highly competitive high school: the same one I had dreamed of getting into since kindergarten. The one I didn’t get into.
And then, of course, there is me. I would love to rattle off my long list of scholarly achievements, but unfortunately, I don’t have one, and I feel like I never will. I like to call myself “the different one,” but “weak link” feels more accurate. I am a die-hard The Lord of the Rings fan, a writer, a geek, and a girl. My number one personality trait is “obsessive.” I obsess about a variety of things. Movies. Alcatraz. How amazing my friends are. Currently, I’m in love with Chinatown and Rear Window, both of them are thrillers my dad convinced me to watch.
However, I take obsessing to a whole new level when I talk about The Lord of the Rings. I’ve read all three of Tolkien’s Middle Earth novels, watched all of the movies, memorized Tolkien’s life story, and devoured the The Lord of the Rings movie interviews whenever I had the time.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I’m not smart, but compared with my immediate family, I don’t think I’m one of the brightest people. One of the parents at my sister’s school described me and my sister this way:
“Twins...one of them got into a good school, the other one didn’t.”
It’s not my sister’s fault. Still, it’s challenging for me to try to be nice to her. My anger, resentment, and jealousy get stored away, simmering and bubbling until they explode. It sounds mean, but it’s not. Nice girls are the ones who always win—the lucky ones. They’ve always received whatever they wanted. But not me. I’ve tasted failure on my lips so many times that I’ve become accustomed to it. Sometimes I feel like I’m a battle-hardened warrior, and sometimes I feel like a monster. And those are the times when I feel most like myself.
It’s hard to be compared to her. I know I’m not the first person to go through this. To not feel smart enough or strong enough or extroverted enough. To feel defined by what school I got into. But I am not my weight, my race, my grades, or my looks. I am the choices I make, my dreams, my interests, and how I treat people. At the end of the day, I want to be okay with who I am.
This article originally appeared on QuietRev.com.
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