Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill
I grew up with my grandmother’s little girl. At the time that I started living with my grandmother, she herself had a baby; therefore she raised us together, making her in my eyes my sister.
Growing up together wasn’t easy. We were so different in so many ways yet my grandmother ALWAYS dressed us the same. And trust me I HATED it. The photo albums are filled with pictures of my sister and me wearing the same dresses my grandmother made. We looked like identical twins if it weren’t for the fact that her complexion is more of a caramel tone.
We were almost always at odds and there were times we would actually ‘throw down’. My grandmother was so fed up at times that she would just let us ‘have it out’.
Today I live in peace with my sister and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her despite all of the heartache and tears. She has given me two nephews that I adore but of course when I was little, never did I stop and think of the future, so I gave in FULLY to sibling rivalry.
We competed at EVERYTHING. It was more like a race, who did what better and the added pressure of being the first ones to go to college in our family was torturous. My grandmother at the time wasn’t any help. I can still hear her say ‘Why can’t you be more like your sister?’ This just upset me even more. And what was worse is that she used to say the SAME thing to my sister. If it wasn’t our grades, it was how we kept tidy, or our eating habits or how we treated her, my grandmother somehow fed that sense of competition within us and today for me it has manifested into an overachieving teacher.
But before now, when I was younger and in middle school and high school, my competitiveness made me my worst critic. I felt as if it were the end of the world when I failed in school. The need to make my parents proud, not to mention outdo my sister and contradict every other family member that swore I would fail, was what made me work hard and every time I didn’t succeed made me want to give up.
There were no success stories in my family, just mediocre decisions made by the older generation and my grandmother would constantly point them out. ‘You don’t want to end up like your aunt with a lousy job and three kids, cause she didn’t finish school or your uncle that has seen the inside of a jail cell more times than I can count, runnin’ with the wrong type of people.’ This was the way she gave advice. And it burned in my mind, so deep that I made sure my grades were my priority, because I wanted to be different than them. I wanted a better future for myself.
And after a while I learned to WANT all of these things for me, not for my grandmothers sake or to surpass my sister’s achievements or to challenge my families predictions about my future but because I deserved to achieve anything I set my mind to have or be.
As long as I don’t give up, there is always tomorrow and I can do it.
Do: LEARN TO APPRECIATE YOUR SIBLING
Do: WANT BETTER FOR YOURSELF
Do: LEARN FROM YOUR FAILURES
DONT: GIVE UP