Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

Remember that entry yesterday about these revelations I’ve been having about the 1980s, stemming from The Little Mermaid?  Ha. “Remember.” It was a freaking day ago.  And, I like how I say that like I’m speaking to all … none of you readers.  Whatever.  That entry got me thinking (gotta love when stuff does that to you, makes ya think) about who I am as an individual.  I’m not a girl and not yet a woman, damn you Britney Spears, you said it best!  

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my self-worth.  I like myself fine enough, but the way I’ve been changing has left me reeling in the past few weeks.  Lately my brain space has been giving way to lightbulb-above-the-head epiphanies about the way I treat myself, my friends, and my lovers (uh, let’s be clear: past.  As in past lovers as a collection.  I do not condone the practise of polygamy).  While I think I’ve been doing a phenomenal job in a lot of ways, I’ve fallen short in others, and the main source of the problem has broken surface. I told myself I’d keep this blog fairly fluffy and weightless but you can’t help the stuff that comes out if it’s occupying your thinking time that much, I guess.

So.

(Stands up out of chair)
(Chair makes awkward scratching noise against the floor)
My name is Geena.
And I have a problem.

I am a sibling-rivalry-holic. I’ve been drinking sibling-rivalry-hol since the 1980s and I didn’t even know it! Well anyway, over the years, it’s morphed into something like gender-rivalry-hol, which isn’t any sweeter. It actually ruins a lot of things–friendships, relationships, everything–and leaves you with a bitter taste. Any sort of rivalry does. It came about because I liked to tag-along with my brother. And I am not a competitive person by nature. I don’t just walk into a place and think, Damn, I am better than all these people. No. Fierce competition in me only comes out as a response to a challenge. Maybe that’s another issue of mine.

I had trouble coming up with my own tastes. I just liked everything he did so much. My big brother? He was obviously the epitome of cool. That’s pretty normal logic. I mean, other than him, for awhile, my friendbase consisted of… my parents. And they didn’t want to climb trees all day, sadly, nor collect insects and hoard them in the crack between the porch and the sidewalk, nor did they want to establish very first restaurant whose menu consisted of mud, rendered in various delicious ways. But Navy would do that, and then some. I just wanted to be with him all the time. He didn’t feel the same way. He let me tag along, but would ignore me and my efforts at whatever activity we were doing with his friends. I reacted, not by starting fights or asking him why, but by moping, being jealous and feeling wronged and wounded.  And then I was silent, or I would get my mom to do something about it.  Then I would gain revenge by picking up certain things he did but sticking to them and eventually getting better at them.  It happened throughout school. I took French, and while he can speak it un peu, I am a now a French major and fluent. And when the morning he started piano lessons that he didn’t really want to take, and, I remember this, I woke up, eye-boogers still intact, when I heard the commotion in the driveway.  And I came out before my mom drove away to ask where he and my mom were going, and by the end of it all, I was swinging my kiddo legs on the piano bench myself, right after him, taking lessons as a result of Navy’s. Today I still play piano, and I may suck at it more than I should, but I have always loved it and practice it everyday. I don’t think my brother owns a keyboard today.

Being the younger sister of an older brother that didn’t like the responsibility that came with it really messed me up. I see that clearly now. I’m not saying it’s his fault, but it’s completely natural for a younger sibling to want be friends with their older sibling, no? That’s pretty much how you learn to make friends. I just never knew what to do with the way I felt about him not wanting to be best friends. We had matching sweaters and shared our happy meals, come on!

It’s funny how your entire world can be so shaped by the order in which you and your siblings come out of your mother. So I admit that nasty aspect about myself, something I haven’t admitted to a lot of people, not because I’m ashamed of it, but because I only truly realized it about myself a couple months ago after hmm, how can I say this? After eating some stimulating vegetation.

So now it’s time to change. One kind of absolutely essential life’s work in my opinion is metamorphosizing yourself and constantly rebuilding as you see fit. No one’s perfect. So why not try everyday to be better? It’s useless to remain stagnant if you recognize crummy parts of yourself. (Although it’s even worse if you remain stagnant because you can’t see past your own nose. That seems to be another game all in itself and it’s a game I do not play.) Fast forward to now. I no longer see the way I interact with my brother or with my guy friends as contentious in any way. I truly enjoy being the only or one of few girls out of a lot of guys because to me, it’s like a manifestation that all realms are accessible to both sexes. Balance and equality. And that competition? That is all a sick construct I use to push myself when he or they pushed me away, when really it should be a desire ingrained in me and in what I want for myself. No penis envy here. Just penis and vagina co-existing peacefully…. like the lion and the lamb. Or something.

Within my friendships with guys (and there are a lot of them, because they constitute the majority of my friend-base), I’d sometimes let this get in the way–with bikes for instance, or with music. But now I recognize which things are truly important to me as an individual… which are, surprise! Still both those things. That’s comforting at least, to know I like things because I like ’em, not because someone else did and I wanted to tag-along.  But rather than dwelling on a “If they can do it, OH, I have to do it” view of it, or the equally destructive “Anything you can do, I can do better” aspect, I just want to be stronger in my weakest points, without worrying about whether or not someone is better than me.  Or without feeling neglected or discouraged, but simply because I want to do it for myself. I own the things I do, and I am ultimately responsible for what I do with them.

I’d really like to be able to speak French with my brother someday, maybe while in public so we can comment on how stupid some person’s hairdo looks or how either or us needs to use the bathroom really badly. (Although I guess we can do that in Laotian, but this way, we could use it in front of our parents and they wouldn’t understand.) I’d like to make music with him, too, something I’ve been working on with my little brother. (It took several days of exercising my persuasive muscle [toned and beefed up in highschool debate (I wonder how many parentheticals I can fit into this one parenthetical? [Does it just go back in forth between the curvy kind and the straight kind? (Or will we never know?)])], held over painstaking phone conversations with my dad to get him to buy my brother a guitar+amp for his birthday, which is something he really wanted and needs, NOT more video games.  That’s how much I love that kid).

But anyway, ridiculous punctuational quandries aside, if Navy could pick up piano again, that’d be great!  We could collaborate and shit. Plus his hands are way bigger than mine; I think his finger span is an octave and three notes. …Whoa. Dude can play Gershwin better than yo’ mama.  But I mean only because your mama’s hands are probably real small in comparison and she can’t help that.

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