Comparisons suck. I’ve come to believe that it is the direct source of unhappiness. Not comparing
oneself to others is difficult to achieve when one has three sisters. In such an ego driven
society, we’re constantly told who we’re supposed to be, thus it’s hard to
find out exactly who we truly are. Are we attractive enough? Smart enough? Courageous enough?
Assertive enough? Sympathetic enough? In order to find out how we measure up, we look to others
for validation that we are, in fact, “normal” or “ok.”
Having three sisters is tough, constantly trying to find your place amongst the group. So
many days, I longed for the confidence and glamour of my older sister, the womanly curves that
shaped my younger sister, and my youngest sister’s exotic-like diamond-shaped eyes, accessorized
with long silky eyelashes. I always felt too shy, too thin and big-eyed.
What helped me most, I believe, were stories. The novel Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
influenced me greatly as a child. The protagonist, a boy, is puzzled yet intrigued by his new
classmate, whom he refers to as “Stargirl.” She’s a girl who marches to the
beat of her own drum, and cheers for her school football team’s opponents because “someone
did well.” She can’t grasp the idea of formal competition.
That message has stayed with me all of these years. I love watching the Biography Channel.
Watching the stories of all of these fabulous actors, musicians, writers, etc., that we hold
up in such high esteem, and seeing where they came from, the pain endured, the progress in
their journey, has just been humbling and therapeutic. To see people who have been knocked-down
in the mud get back up and thrive has given me faith in the ability to survive the hurdles
in my own story.
What I now know for sure is that individual complexities and differences are what make us
unique and “perfectly” ourselves. At the core, we all want similar things out of
life: love, contentment, parents who are proud, and above all, an acknowledgement that we do
in fact matter.
But I truly believe comparing our individual stories sets us up for failure. How can we begin
to measure our individual success in comparison to others? It makes no sense! Everyone is brilliant
at something, even the most unrespected of things, and who the hell is to say that one quality
is so far superior to another. I own my flaws, and those I wish to improve I will work on,
if they can be improved. The universe is here to assist, and I’ve learned to be a viewer
of my life story. So when I get bored I go do something exciting/bold/out of the ordinary.
I cheer myself on as I would the subject from that Biography show and I continue to
have faith in its happy ending.
I’m most proud of being able to constantly be curious and in awe of other people’s
awesomeness, without relating it back to my own story or putting myself down. I am good
at many things and others may be different/better in other things. It’s how the world
works. It’s always best to have a sense of humor. I’m good at Lit classes, vulnerability
through writing, I’m a great listener, good at resolving conflicts, etc., but I’m
never going to be a doctor. I hate math, science and blood, yet I have a great respect for
people who do go into those sorts of fields. I have no problem being around people who have
stories that are drastically different than mine. I find an inner peace in knowing that I may not always agree with others in how they choose to live their lives, but I can acknowledge
their truth, and perhaps even get to a place of profound understanding.