“Comparison is the death of joy” – Mark Twain. I came across this quote in Jenny Lawson’s book “Furiously Happy.” Her book chronicles her struggles with mental illness and I HIGHLY recommend. It had me laughing out loud and reading excerpts to anyone who would listen. I wrote this on my mirror to remind myself not to compare myself to others. Most days it’s very helpful. I look at my body and am starting to be happy with my curves. I try not to envy to my peers who are having babies, getting married and excelling at their careers. But there is one person I can’t quite seem to stop comparing myself to – my sister, Tara.
My sister is one of the closest people I have in my life. We tell each other everything, talk almost everyday and I’m excited to say I will be her Maid of Honour. However, she is extremely successful. Like, annoyingly so. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (in Psychology) and by chance found a job at a non-profit organization. Being her amazing self she quickly excelled in this job and soon became second in charge. She was even being groomed to take over the top position. She has won numerous awards including Young Humanitarian of the Year (NB) and is a leading public speaker and representative for her area of work. Did I mention her work is as an advocate for people with disabilities? She writes policy and has even been to the supreme court to represent these people. This was all with just a BA! Due to circumstances she moved and took on a new job as National Director of Policy and Program Operations. That’s right, director. In addition, she received her Master’s Degree while working full-time. And she has an amazing fiancee and is very well-off and travels the world.
While I am extremely proud of my sister it is a hard act to follow. I have two degrees and work at a grocery store in the evenings and supply teach during the day. I would love to have a full-time job as a teacher but sadly there are not many jobs in this field right now. I think about what she was doing at my age. I’m sure she was working her way up the ladder at one of her jobs.
Is it second child syndrome? Is the first child always the one that is more successful? Will I get there some day? I can’t help but think I will never live up to her success and that my parents are comparing.
I can’t help but think of when I was in high school and my sister thought I was so cool. I would tell her all the latest music to listen to and all the trends. Now I feel like she looks at me with pity. I know because of my mental illness she feels like she has to tiptoe around me at times. I even get the feeling she doesn’t think I’m smart, as if there couldn’t possibly be something I would know that she doesn’t.
I’m not really sure how to conclude this post. I will say that I am getting better at not comparing myself to other people (their bodies, their clothes, their happiness) but this is one comparison I can’t shake. I hope that some day I can look back and say I beat it. I hope I can say I am successful in my own right. Most of all I hope my sister will be proud of me, what I accomplish and even look to me for answers.