Growing up I soon learned my ‘label.’ My older sister, Millie was ‘The Clever One’ and I was ‘The Pretty One.’ As a young girl I liked this quite a lot, as a teen it served me well. As an adult it has done me the greatest disservice.
I have watched my ‘clever’ sister go through life seemingly effortlessly, I’m sure if I were to ask her if that were the case, she’d dispute it, probably quite fairly.
I watched my clever sister not only put through various music lessons but those lessons followed through with grades and examinations.
I, the ‘pretty one’ was allowed to do music lessons as a hobby, they were never taken seriously, despite me having a natural talent.
I saw my clever sister given a job in my Dad’s company where, within a few years, she’d been promoted to Company Director.
I was allowed to earn a few pounds on a Saturday for my Dad, shredding unwanted paperwork.
I watched as my ‘clever’ sister was given a brand new car when she passed her driving test. I worked and saved hard to buy an old 4th hand car that only lasted another year before it gave up the ghost.
I witnessed my sister being loaned (that’s one of those infamous loans that never actually is expected to be paid back) enough money for a deposit for her first house. At eighteen, she became a homeowner.
At forty, I’m still renting.
I seethed as my ‘clever’ sister decided to leave my Dad’s company and start her own business with another ‘loan’ from our Dad of £30,000 to get it up and running.
I have spent my entire adult life paralysed by the belief that I am not good enough to do anything worthwhile. I am incapacitated with thoughts that I will never be as successful as, not only my clever sister, but everyone else in the world too and so what is the point in even trying. I have spent five years trying unsuccessfully to make a decent living from my photography business with no money to get it off the ground and not enough self-belief to take it seriously.
The most ironic thing is that my ‘clever’ sister is also really quite pretty. Dare I pose the question to myself, “Does this mean that I, the ‘pretty’ sister, am also quite clever?” Moreover, can I find a way to shake off my old label and adopt a new one? Am I brave enough to drag myself out of the chair that has confined me for so long and learn to walk, unaided, for the first time?