I Believe in Sibling Rivalry

I believe in sibling rivalry. My two brothers, Alastair and Joseph, are younger than me, and when we were children we fought constantly.
My brother Alastair is incredibly talented at anything he puts his mind to, getting the highest grades, competing for several sports teams, and he recently played the role of Javert in Les Misérables, selling out four performances. Obviously, this is a lot to compete with, and although I’m academically gifted, the knowledge that Alastair is not far behind me has made me try that bit harder do better.
We both swam with a local club, but I never really took the training seriously until Alastair made the team. Even though he was an age group below me, I saw this as a challenge. I worked my ass off to make it onto the squad, and eventually ended up making the adult relay team, meaning that I was one of the four fastest swimmers in the whole club. I owe this to the fact that Alastair was at one point better than me, and I couldn’t stand it.
Joseph is the baby of the family; he always got what he wanted. It often felt like I had to fight him for our parents love. I once beat him in a game of Halo, and he got so angry that he punched me in the face. When I told my parents, they yelled at me; I must have done something to make him so mad. Their blatant bias made me feel that, in their eyes, I was less important than he was, and I resented him.
Joseph has dyslexia, and struggles a lot to keep up with Alastair and I in school. But he works incredibly hard to get great grades. Once when he was particularly stressed for a test, my mother asked him why he pushed himself so hard, that no matter what grades he got, they would still be proud of him as long as he was trying. His reply? “Because I want to be better than my brothers.”
Now that I’m in college I feel much closer to my brothers. The space apart has allowed us to stop judging everything we do against each other, to become our own people, to ultimately become closer friends. Trying to better each other has been a motivational tool for all of us; they were my earliest benchmarks, and competing with them will probably always be a big part of my life. I’m glad that we no longer have to fight in the same way that we used to, sibling rivalry has pushed me to be the best I can, but there’s a point when it becomes destructive. In my last year or so at home, Alastair and I stopped talking to each other. Our relationship was comprised of nothing more than competition, and my relationship with Joseph was headed the same way. So I’m glad that our rivalry ended. I may have lost two very strong sources of motivation, but I’ve gained two friends.

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