A New Day

By Pamela Bennett

Quill, Inkwell, and Parchment July 31, 1991 the games began.

The incessant competition between my brother and I began the day I was born. For the past 17 years I have competed with him in everything he does. If he plays a sport, I must play one of equal caliber, and succeed. If he takes superior classes, I will take them, and work through sleepless nights until I get an A. Though I have fought to stay on top and improve, I can’t break free of his masking shadow. It troubles me to affirm that over the years he has been the more skilled competitor. Scholarly, he has always taken the cake. He has a peculiar way of studying--- he doesn’t. He merely wakes up to take a test and scores an A. It was this study technique that that landed him a four-year scholarship to a prominent college. Proud of him as I am, I cannot help but blush green with pure envy. I study for hours on end, just to score a C.

I’ve spent the majority of my life lost and bewildered as to who the real me is. It has come to my realization that I can never be better than him. I keep giving my best but it just isn’t good enough. I should be superior, stronger, smarter, wiser, but I am not. I’m humiliated, angry, gloomy, resentful, jealous, and forgotten. I am entangled in a wrathful tsunami. The daunting 50-foot waves batter my soul. The hostile waves of sorrow, the grief-stricken waves of worthlessness, the thunderous waves of jealousy, and disdainful waves of inadequateness drag me to life’s end. The abhorrent failures of my life breathe air into my lungs. My brother’s success looms over me, blacker than death. I’m sinking to the bottom of my uncertainties; like an ocean they pour over me. I am disappointed at wasting my life trying to be someone I am not. I look around at the world that I have prepared for myself; I see the good qualities in me, and yearn for a chance to find what it is that I can do.

I don’t know exactly what it was inside of me that pushed me to grab a pen. But I do know that when my pen met the serene white paper, magic happened. The wrathful tsunami let me go. I could breathe again, I could see the sky, I could live for me. I had finally found what it is that makes me unique. I found what it is that gives my life importance. I can write. Whenever I begin to write a symphony of words fills my thoughts. Whatever is bothering I can let go, and when I finish I am proud. Here it was, something that I was superior at. Something that I could do that no one else could do better than me or take away from me. Writing has become an outlet for me. Whenever I feel inadequate I can pick up and pen and write about what I’m feeling. Not a single soul can tell me what to write, how to write, or if I’m writing the right things. Only I am in charge of what I write.

For the first time in years I am proud of me, not for having beaten my brother, but for having elevated myself. I joined the school paper and found I had a knack for journalism. I won awards for my stories, and many opportunities have availed themselves to me. I stopped taking classes that required me to study all night I quickly learned that school wasn’t as bad as it seemed. It was love at first sight when I met American History, and English class was a breeze. I discovered that I am just as intelligent as my brother, just in different subjects. I have taken a vow to never forsake doing the things I am good at, because no one is good at everything; since I am not good at everything, I owe it to myself to do whatever it is that I can do to the best of my ability.

It saddens me that I had to first give up on myself, to find myself. But in the end what I’ve found has been worth the journey. I’ve discovered that I don’t have to compete with my brother, or anyone else in anything that I do. I am my own person, and therefore am good at the topics that best fit my needs. No longer am I humiliated, angry, gloomy, resentful, jealous, or forgotten. Every time I give my best I am superior, stronger, smarter, and wiser. But better than that, I am my own person.

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