The biggest mistake I’ve ever made is definitely start comparing myself to others; especially to my siblings.
I’m the eldest of three and by default, I have to always do everything perfect and act correctly. Or at least that’s what parents tell us – the eldests – to be. At one point, I guess my parents taught me that. For so many years, I believed I was the perfect child; my parent’s golden star. I was very responsible, had excellents grades, I participated in so many extra curriculum activities, well behave and so on. Later on, I started noticing that not only my parents where the ones that thought I was the perfect kid but also other members of my family. I loved the feeling of making so many people proud of me. I was addicted to that feeling and that went on for so many years, until I got to high school.
I was fourteen when I reached freshman year. At first, I tried to hold on to my honorable student pedestal my parents and teachers built me over the years. I tried, I really did. But life happens and teenagers stop caring about anything parents say. I met new people, made new friends and of course – as cliché as it sounds – I started hanging out with the cool kids. You know, the typical teens that don’t give a F about what parents say, love to party, break the rules, etc. Back then, my innocent little self thought I reached my peak in life. What can be better than be popular? For me, because clearly I was not a visionary whatsoever, popularity was the only thing that could give me the perfect life. Oh boy, I was SO wrong!
Friends became more important than grades, so I started lacking in school. I did not become the worst student but I definitely was not the best. On the other hand, my two younger siblings became my parent’s new golden starts – At least, that’s what I thought. I have to say though, they have always been good with anything numerical or social related and since my old school was more focused on that (obviously, what school is not?), Their grades were always A +. My grades though, changed from A + to B- or sometimes even C’s. Back then, my parents – lowkey – compared our grades to see our growth and which one of us needed reinforcement. That’s when all started.
At the end of sophomore year, I decided to change schools. I remember being so happy that I wasn’t going to keep learning anything numerical or social related (I hated that; I still do). My new school was specifically an art school. So I learned stuff like drawing, design, construction, arquitecture, photography and so on. I felt so effin’ proud of myself because – finally – I was starting to be good at something and it was even better because they were stuff I love! I graduated and then choose fashion design as my major. Everything felt fine for me for a couple of years until my brother graduated. That feeling of proudness faded as quickly as it appeared.
He choose an ‘incredible and great career’ – everyone told him that. Every relative of ours felt so proud of him and congratulated him to no end. Which didn’t exactly happened to me. They were just happy, but that was it. I started feeling that I hadn’t picked the right career; that I wasn’t as good as my brother. The comparing game started; I choose to played it and it ended bad for me. Later on, I decided to be a film student. I changed my major to cinematography; which is what I truly love. Then my sister graduated and of course she picked an ‘incredible and great career’. Once again, relatives of ours – relatives that I looked up to – congratulated her to no end. The comparison kept going and I felt that I had to work extra hard – and more – to prove everyone I am as good as my siblings.
To this day, I still struggle with this. I’m changing this horrible habit of mine little by little. I’m taking baby steps. I know we are all different and of course we’re not going to be good at everything. I was so used to be perfect at everything that, when I started seeing that a truly wasn’t, comparing myself seemed like the only way I could justify that I am not super Gaby. The comparison game has affected me in some awful ways, but like everything in life, I learned my lesson.
What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?