In a really big way, I’m a selfish person—no doubt in my mind. I’ve found that over the course of my life, I’ve hated doing the whole sharing thing. And I know what you’re thinking, because everybody says it: sharing is caring. It’s not that I don’t care; I actually care a lot. I’ve shared my whole life, so ask me why it would matter so much if I stopped. It’s not that I hate sharing everything; I just hate sharing some things. And as I’ve grown older, I’ve started to get a little greedy. I’ve found myself to hate sharing more and more. But you know what? It’s not so much as things that I hate to share.
That probably comes off as weird. I don’t know if it does, but it definitely feels like it does. Let me just break it down for you: I have five siblings, but I mostly grew up with my three younger ones. And as a part of being Big Sister, you share and give up a bunch of things for them. You share toys and clothes and makeup. You give up time in the bathroom. You share knowledge to help them with school. You give up time with your parents.
And don’t get me wrong, being Big Sister has a lot of perks; it’s just the fact that you learn that you have to share with others early on in life. And for the most part, I didn’t mind the sharing of things and time. It was the watching my parents make more time for them: because I didn’t need them as much as my siblings did, and because I wasn’t one of their shiny little sport stars. And even worse, it was the sharing of my friends.
I’ve said time and again that I was a quiet kid, so I had a hard time making friends. I don’t have a bad attitude or anything, but it was hard for me to communicate with kids. I had a much easier time befriending teachers and staff than I did with other students, so when I made real friends, I became invested.
I wanted to know everything I could about them, and I wanted to learn the way they thought. I wanted them to trust me, and I wanted to trust them. I didn’t make a whole lot of friends growing up, but those that I did, I was really close to. I had no interest in making hundreds of acquaintances (which I did, but that’s all that they were to me—unless I found something more than that in them). I wanted to have real friends that I connected with, further than the random things we had in common.
I didn’t have much of any territorial issues until high school. You would think it was the moving up into a new school, and losing shared classes with your friends, that would scare me into losing those people as friends. But It wasn’t like that for me. It wasn’t really until I was in tenth or eleventh grade when I noticed something was weird with me.
My sister, Brianna, is very different from the person I am. She’s more like my dad, who could have an entire conversation with a wall, and end up being friends with it. She always had a ton of friends, and I guess she was considered popular. She’d befriend anybody and everybody.
And that happened to include some of my friends…which I didn’t like.
You know, it’s hard growing up with someone who is the polar opposite of you. I was quiet, had good grades, and a good upstanding with teachers and staff in every school I went to. Brianna had popularity. Teachers compared her to me throughout the years, and I compared myself to her. I never had the athleticism, openness, and charisma that she does, and she didn’t have the brains, interest, and attention span that I do.
We were always hot and cold growing up.
And when she moved in on befriending my two best friends, I didn’t mind it at first. It was actually nice to not always be fighting with her.
But that didn’t last very long, because I started to get annoyed very quickly. My friends found her more exciting and open to new ideas, and she liked the idea of having older friends. She even had a crush on one of them, which made me even more mad.
I basically drove myself insane, and a part of me really hated her for being the person I wasn’t. I hated that nobody liked me the way they liked her, they way they clearly preferred her over me.
That was one of the first times I drove myself into a depression. I felt like my own friends weren’t really mine anymore, that I was just there as an excuse for Brianna to be there. I didn’t talk to them about anything anymore, because my issue was them. So I was just…there. And I hated every second of it.
I think what really threw me over the edge was how my sister went to them first before talking to me. It wasn’t even like she talked to us as a group, or even just talking to them before telling me. It was that she kept secrets with them, from me. And that they didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.
Hearing my sister and best friends whisper to each other or even text each other when I was right there was literally the most aggravating thing to me—I was an angst-y teenager in the first place, but then thinking that they were so slick because I apparently didn’t notice anything made me even more resentful towards them.
Didn’t anyone teach them that the quiet kids were the most observant?
Clearly not, because when my sister finally told me what she was hiding from me, I was furious. Furious that she told
my our friends first, and furious that she felt like she had to hide a part of herself from me. You know, you’re supposed to be supportive and loving when someone comes out to you, but that whole experience was so jaded for me, because of my annoyance with my relationship with my friends, and my sister’s relationship with them. I couldn’t be the loving, supportive sister that I should have been.
So a lot of things were ruined, including my relationship with Brianna. And it really didn’t help that I outed her to not one, both both of our parents. I never did that on purpose, just to be cruel, but I could definitely see why she doesn’t like to tell me literally anything ever. Hell, I wouldn’t tell myself anything ever, after doing something so disrespectful like that. But I digress.
So having that experience with my best friends in high school and my sister definitely heightened this selfishness in me. It’s a reason why I started buying my own things as a teenager, and why I keep my friends and family separated.
I don’t like sharing people with other people, and I prefer one-on-one interactions over group outings. I can’t say that I’m an extremely selfish person when it comes to objects, but I can’t lie and say that I’m not selfish when it comes to people. Because I most definitely am. Somehow, and at some point, I thought that growing an emotional attachment to a certain person also meant that I had some sort of claim on them.
It’s something that I have to add onto my list of Things I Have To Work On.
Prompt: In what way are you selfish?