I’ve been comparing myself to my brother my entire life. I’ve never felt like I could possibly measure up to whatever it is that my parents see in him. In fact, it is so bad that over the past few years I’ve taken to calling him the Golden Child. Like he can’t do anything wrong no matter what he does or says that is so clearly screwed up.
The bad part in all of this is that I really love my brother. Having grown up in a military family environment, moving on a fairly regular basis, we became great friends. I guess it is safe to say that we were each other’s constant. But we were very different people and as we got older those differences started to show.
But our differences aren’t really the big deal here. The big deal is how I perceived my parents treated us, and still treat us.
Golden Child got screwed up royally in his high school years. He was strung out on drugs, dropped out of school, left home, and basically told all the family to shove it.
But eventually, like the Prodigal Son, back he came.
And life has been me trying to get attention ever since.
Golden Child cleaned up his act. Finished high school. Went to college. Joined the military. Earned for himself not one, but two master’s degrees. Goes on great trips all the time (unrelated to work). Buys all the fancy things he can with the ridiculous amounts of money he makes. Got married. Had a kid. Planned out his retirement at an early age, started a fund to get his kid’s Ivy League education paid for before the kid even hit five years-old… He has his shit together.
And then there’s me.
If I had a dollar for every time I heard about the greatness of the Golden Child, I’d be rich. My college degree doesn’t measure up. I really don’t give a crap if my kids go to college – that’s their choice – so I didn’t plan out their educational careers in advance. I don’t have a ton of money and have to meticulously plan out every purchase I make. I haven’t traveled since 2014, and that was just cross country to visit the famous mouse.
I know this isn’t nearly enough detail to even begin to let anyone reading know just why I’m bothered. It’s all incredibly superficial. But it’s something I am trying to deal with.
I’m trying to come to terms with why my parents couldn’t bother to come to my college graduation, yet they traveled across the country for my brother’s. I don’t understand why I have to hear how amazing his life is, but not once have I heard them say that they are proud of me. I just want to hear that they are proud of me for once.
I love my parents, but I’m angry with them. Every time I see them and tell them about what’s new with me, they proceed to one up it with whatever my brother is doing.
They aren’t bad parents or bad people. I’m just angry.
Deep down, I know that a lot of how they treat him stems from his having been so screwed up and them worrying so much and his finally getting to a good place and then succeeding so freaking much in life. I never really made them worry like that. I never wanted to. I kept a lot of my life and my feelings to myself because I didn’t – and still don’t – want them to know. If they really knew what went on in my mind…