Older sister complains about rivalry with younger brother

Julia Rasor

Math is the torturous tutor of difficult equations and meaningless geometric shapes that no matter how hard I try, I still don’t understand to this very day. At the age of 16, I’m still stuck on how to find the cosine of a special right triangle. Geometry, science, or anything involving advanced technology remains a mystery to me. Yet how can my younger brother be two steps ahead of me every single time and do better in these areas than I ever could?

In comparison, my brother is a genius in the works. As a graduating eighth grader, he has excelled at double advanced math, which in simpler terms is pre-ap geometry. Not only this, but he has achieved an in-depth understanding for engineering robots and adapting computer software. And of course, like any sibling, I find it infuriating that for years it seems I’m always being left behind by my brother’s amazing academic skills. Many times when I’m home struggling on a math problem, he’s the one who comes over my shoulder and points out all of my mistakes. The worst part of it all is he doesn’t even try. It’s practically like he has a photographic memory. He can read a page or a book once and is able to remember what he read. He barely even studies, and he always manages to get high grades. I’m two years older than him, and I don’t feel half as smart.

To those high school students in Westlake who have a sibling: haven’t you guys at one point felt the same way? That your parents look up more to your sibling academically, and they treat their other children with lower expectations. Rivalry between siblings seems traditional. Every time it looks as if one sibling is going to fall behind, they jump back up and did better than they had before. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother. But sometimes I wish that all of those academic skills could have been shared with me. I would be able to share in the experience of having math as a second nature to me. I would feel assured that my mind wouldn’t blank on a problem I’ve looked at so many times before.

That’s when it hit me — I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m the older one in the family and my brother looks up to me. Here I am having a tantrum about a lack of academic skills when my brother wishes he could do more than just academics.

Here’s what sometimes feels hard to remember. We have all felt defeated at one point. So then, doesn’t that mean the sibling has felt this way as well? My brother has his own struggles in school — they’re just different than mine. Just as he has talents I’m jealous of, he is envious of the ones I possess. He is jealous of my creative skills and wishes that he could draw without taking an art class. He wishes that he could listen to a piece of music and play it on the piano the first time hearing it.

Of course, sibling rivalry doesn’t end at this realization. My family has battled over card games, over how popular we are in school, and even who can eat faster. We have all tried to one-up each other at some point. I believe it’s natural. In my mind, this is another way of loving each other. We try and beat each other at everything so we can prove ourselves to one another. Sibling rivalry can be the aggressive and hurtful. Yes, we have had our battles and brawls. What I keep in mind is that we both have things we are talented in.