Second Best | Teen Ink

Second Best

December 30, 2010
By SophiaCross SILVER, Plattsburgh, New York
SophiaCross SILVER, Plattsburgh, New York
7 articles 3 photos 89 comments

Favorite Quote:
To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

What is second best? To some it means finishing second in a race that you have trained all year for. To others, it’s studying until you literally can’t see straight for the SAT in hopes of getting the highest score in your class, only to be beat out by that genius who has done nothing but use his god-given intelligence. To me, being second best is a way of life and sibling rivalry is to blame.
It happened at around age fourteen when I realized I was no match for my sister when it came to looks. She is older than me and had what I thought every guy wanted: beautiful blonde hair and ice blue eyes. How could I compete with that when my eyes are a gloomy grey and my hair is a horrid shade of mouse brown? All the men flocked to her, not even noticing me in the background. She flaunts her beauty and they swarm, while I watch from the sidelines knowing all well she will break the hearts of boys I never even had a chance with.
That wasn’t the only aspect of life that second best got the better of me. It was nearly everything. My grades were never as good, my teachers never spoke quite as highly of me, and I don’t even have as good of a job. For years, I have kept this dirty little secret to myself, never hinting towards feeling inferior to my own sister.
When my parents used to get our school report cards, they would always congratulate her, and their faces changed when they saw mine. ‘Gotta get your grades up,’ they would say ‘or you won’t get into a very good college.’ Then I would sit through a long lecture about stuff I already knew- good grades now lead to more money later. My grades weren’t even that bad: they were ‘A’ minuses. But don’t get me wrong, my sister worked hard for her grades. She managed studying, a social life, a harem of men, a part-time job and still have a few hours at the end of the day to do what she wanted. Nobody like me could stay sane while competing against (and winning) a battle with her based on success. It’s just not possible.
I let this bother me for years until I realized something: I subconsciously choose to be second. I don’t dress up and wear make up to the extent my sister does. I don’t party and have the social network she does. I also don’t attract that many men for one reason: it’s not me. Being second best is a mind set that makes people feel inferior. You have to realize that you are the best at being you, and others who see you as that are the only ones that matter.

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