This post goes out to the younger siblings of the world. You know those bossy older siblings? Well this is a story of one of them (me) getting knocked down a few notches.
The God Complex
God Complex: The unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability, privilege, or infallibility.
I grew up the oldest and biggest in both my immediate and extended family and it showed.
My older sibling god complex played out in a particularly weird way with two of my girl cousins. They were sisters, one was a few years younger than me, and the other was a few years younger than her. We’d pretend we were witches riding around on dragons, casting spells and making potions. It was freaking awesome.
I felt like such a badass around them. It was just so clear I was the best one. Always.
But as fourteeth century poet, Geoffery Chauncer, once wrote, “All good things must come to an end.”
The Slumber Party
When I was in middle school, I was invited over for my oldest girl cousin’s birthday/slumber party. All her friends were going to be there.
Even though I didn’t know any of her friends and hadn’t hung out with my cousins in a while, I figured we’d just pick up right where we left off with me being the best and them groveling at how cool I was.
My cousin was older now. It didn’t take long for me to realize that in my absence, she had also gotten used to being the best. We were like two older sibling giants whose god complexes made no room for the other. I was determined to reclaim my identity at the top (no matter if it was her birthday).
Welp. Let me sum it up for you: all my attempts to come out on top totally bombed.
Whenever I answered a question, one of her minion friends corrected me. I lost to her at horseshoes in the yard (and not even on purpose). And when my aunt put on Space Cowboy by *NSYNC for us to dance to, I was no longer the best dancer in the room. Not even close.
By the end of the party I was left smiling on the outside while having an all consuming existential crisis on the inside. If I wasn’t the best (which I clearly wasn’t here) then what was I?
When it came time for sleep, I took my place in a sleeping bag on the floor and fell asleep early to all the other girls laughing and telling stories.
I woke up the next morning completely drenched.
My first thought was, “Wow, this must be one of those heavy duty, below freezing sleeping bags because I’ve never sweat so much in my sleep before.”
Only, sweat didn’t smell like that…omg I peed.
Seriously? After everything I went through the day before? I had to pee in my sleeping bag in a room full of much younger girls? I hadn’t peed the bed since Kindergarten!
When I finally came to grips with what I had to do, I moseyed downstairs to tell my aunt what happened and helped her clean it up just as the other girls started moving around. If they noticed or smelled anything weird, they didn’t let it show.
Ugh, they were better than me and nicer than me. How can I even compete with that?
What a surprise for me to eventually learn about the mystifying concept that life isn’t about competing with others, its about being able to accept and love yourself the way you are. I’m still working on integrating this virtue in the many facets of my adult life, but it helps to be reminded of how far I’ve come since I was that little girl in that moist sleeping bag.Life isn't about competing with others, its about being able to accept and love yourself the way you are. Click To Tweet
I think I called my mom to pick me up early that morning before facing the other girls at breakfast. I had some serious rumbling with my identity to deal with and I was in no mood for pigs in a blanket.
Wait, who am I kidding, I probably took a few piggies to go.
Do you remember a time when you had to learn a tough lesson as a child? I’m interested to hear about it in the comments below!