Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Younger Brother. Part One

No one in the world has the identical experience of anyone else in life. Even in regard to family and upbringing this is true. even if two people have the same parents, their parents were in most cases at differing points in thier own lives when they were raising each of their children, which would, in smoe ways, make the parents in some ways different people when they were raising each of their children. The only siblings who do not deal with their parents at different stages than fo their siblings are children born of multiple-birth pregnancies. While even twins, triplets, and those born in larger litters can have different experiences because parents relate differently to even to children conceived and born at more or less the same time, no one in a person's life will have as many shared experienced as children who shared womb space prior to birth.

I have a twin brother. No one who doesn't know us believes we're twins when they see the two of us together. My brother is about 6'1", weights about one-hundred-sixty pounds, and looks approximately the seventeen years of age that he is. He shaves every few days. I, on the other hand, am just over five feet and, due to a number of factors, am engaged in a battle to beef up to my former weight of eighty-seven pounds. (On a good day I tip the scales at just below eighty.) My brother is an athlete who is sought-afte by members of the opposite sex. Any boy --- even one a year or two younger than I -- who looks twice at me risks being labeled a pedophile.

My brother has had what most would considere to be the consummate high school experience. Most people like him. Every girl he ever asked to date probably went out with him; in many instances he didn't even have to do the asking. Girls have always liked him. While he's not as smart as either of our parents or even as I am, maintaining a GPA above 4.0 hasn't caused undue difficulty for him. He's spent more time playing his chosen sports (basketball and baseball; he would have liked to play football, but he's on the lanky side even for the leaner football positions) than he has spent on any bench in actual competition. He has friends of his own gender, and no one seems out to get him for any reason. One might say he's led a charmed life.

I, on the other hand, have struggled in some areas in which he coasted. The one advantage I have over him is in academic and cognitive skills. School and its related tasks have come more easily to me than to him.
In every other area that matters much, he has the edge. He's more popular with peers and teachers than I am. He's a more gifted athlete. I used to play tennis, but I had to work far too hard to keep pace with other players whose fundamentals were not even close to as solid as mine. I'm too small to be even a great high school player no matter how much I practice. Gymnastics -- the one sport where my small size would have been an advantage -- was taken from me one autumn afternoon when I engaged in an unsafe gymnastics-related activity. I hurdle and dive, but those are minor sports, to which less glory is affixed than to the more esteemed major sports of football, boys' basketball, and baseball. (More glory is associated with male sports in general. Males don't usually drool over the opportunaity to be seen with the captain of the girls' volleyball team or of any other girls' sport.)

I've never been as popular as my brother. I won't say that life has been terribly difficult for me in this regard, as I've always had friends whose company I've enjoyed, and for the most part I haven't been targeted by bullies or anything of the sort with one very noteable exception. Still, Matthew was the Homecoming King. I wasn't the Homecoming Queen, although that's not necessarily the distinction for which I'd care to be known, anyway.

On a few occasions my brother and I have been in the same section of a class at school. My parents have pulled strings to keep this from happening whenever they could, but there have been times when we had to be enrolled in the exact same class. My brother was always irritated when he had to be in the same class as I. He said it was because he did not want to be associated with me because it embarrassed him for others around him to realize what a complete dork his sister is, but in truth, that's not the total reason for his displeasure at being in classes with me. He really despises it because he has no chance of having the highest grade in any class in which I'm also enrolled. I'm sometimes lazy and willing to take the very lowest A+ I can get, but not if my brother is also in the class. If we're both in a class, I will outscore him. He knows that I'll pull out all the stops if he's in the class with me. It bothers him for his friends to see that I'm cognitively his superior. I can't honestly say that it bothers me that he is bothered.

to be continued

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