As a child, I lived under different rules than my older brother. Jim was allowed freedoms I never enjoyed; stayed out late with his friends, went places I wasn't allowed to go, did things I wasn't allowed to do. At the time, I chalked it up to my parents learning from their mistakes; my brother was permitted much and was a constant social, legal and academic disaster; the way I saw it, they would never allow me the latitude to make the same mistakes. I thought it rather unfair, as I was a very different person than my brother, but of course completely at the mercy of my parents until I moved out from under their control at 17.
I developed into a strongly responsible and motivated woman, while my brother smoked dope with his friends and lived at home with my parents until his early 30's. I managed a store and joined the Army while he worked as a seasonal labourer in silvaculture and drew unemployment all winter. He has been, until very recently, purposeless and without ambition.
It was within the last decade that I realized that I was, and would always be, second best. No matter what I did, he would always come first to them. My victories, my medals, my awards, my commendations would be politely applauded and then put underneath the scanty pile of his achievements. Every success I have, every mountain I climb, I call up my mother, excited to tell her, thinking that maybe at last I will have won her affections. I tell her and she makes the appropriate happy noises, and then tells me that she has to go because she's expecting my brother to come by. She sees him every day but his visits always trump our phone calls.
I know that there's absolutely nothing I can do to change the dynamics in this relationship but it pisses me off and breaks my heart every time I get shelved for him. It probably always will.