Tyler is a 17-year-old from Denver, CO. She enjoys reading and traveling, one day she would like to pursue a career in Business Management.
My older sister graduated from high school valedictorian, was cheerleading captain, had the ultimate personality, and had an acceptance letter to Harvard. When I started high school that next fall, I was in the ultimate battle to live up to her.
I used to be ecstatic whenever I made honor roll with my 3.5 GPA, until my sister raised the bar to a grueling 4.0. When I started high school my parents began to expect straight A’s from me, a 3.5 was not going to cut it anymore. I began to slave for a 4.0 every semester in a battle to keep up with my sister. I felt like the world was going to come crashing down when I got my first B my sophomore year and my valedictorian expectancy went out the window. My parents looked crestfallen when they saw my report card, and I was really disappointed too.
The phrase living in the shadow makes perfect sense. Whatever my sister did, I would always feel like I had to follow close behind no matter what. I used to think that I could never step out of her backlight and do things on my own. Whenever I tried to try a new sport or take a new trip over the summer, my parents always responded with “Devon never did that. Do this instead. That’s what Devon did.” I thought the only way I could get out of the shadow was by beating her.
I always thought I had to strive to get the same astronomical test scores, be the loudest person in the room, and get an acceptance letter from Harvard too. But a couple of months ago after seeing my test scores and looking at my college choices, I finally decided it was time to start being my own person.
No one can stop you from stepping out of your sibling’s shadow except for yourself. Beating them is not the way out, it will only make things worse. Ask yourself if your parents are really going to give you a bright, gleaming trophy for being a more favorable child. Together, my parents and I realized that we really didn’t care who came in first as long as we were both happy. My sister is an amazing role model, but I do not need to be a replicate of her.
So I have decided to forfeit the competition. She doesn’t pick on me when I don’t do things flawlessly, and I have stopped lashing out at her for giving me such huge shoes to fill. Families should support one another, not compete in a contest to be the best. For any teens out there going through the same thing, sit down and talk with your parents if you cannot handle the pressure. That is what I did, and mine were surprisingly supportive. They told me I did not have to be my sister; I was just great being me. They stopped reminding me how perfect she is. Now, they constantly remind me that I am not her, nor do I need to be her. I can do great things too, just in my own way. Do not waste your life living in a sibling’s shadow, make sure you find a way to climb out of it.