Along with your hobbies and your favourite colour, talking about your brothers and sisters is one of the things you learn to say first in foreign language classes. I remember learning it in French J’ai deux soeurs and German Ich habe zwei Schwestern. I remember listening to my school friends with their long lists of ‘full’ or half or step brothers and sisters, and I remember being a bit jealous of anyone who was an only child because Einzelkind sounded cool in German. But apart from that one sentence, I’m not sure how much I learned to say about them. Maybe Elle fait de la dance ('she goes dancing') or Sie hat blonde Haare ('she has blonde hair'). But it seems somehow bizarre to say such basic things about people who live in your house and share your genes, so I want to say a bit more.
I have two sisters, and I am a girl. If you add our mum, you’ll see we grew up in a house with mainly ladies. As my dad has (too) often complained, “even the cat is female.” It is true, lovely Chloe is also female.
But I don’t want you to think it was a ‘girly’ house, because it wasn’t. OK, we all did ballet dancing, but only my biggest sister was any good at it. And we didn’t all have pink bedrooms. And yes, we liked dolls and fairies when we were children, and we did grow up to wear heels and makeup, and we do still spend hours doing our hair. But there were also plenty of tracksuits and trainers and tractors. We preferred horror movies to romcoms. And I’m pretty sure my favourite toy was a rocket launcher.
Like I said, two sisters. I am the youngest, and the middle one is three years older than me, and the oldest one is three years older than her.
My middle sister likes animals (she named her teddy bears ‘bunny’ and ‘tortoise’), has a growing collection of coca-cola bottles, and has very nice hands. Nobody knows where she got those hands from. For this reason, she often receives rings as gifts from the family. (I have awful little chubby hands, and have therefore never received a ring.) She is also famously the most sensitive member of the family because she once cried in a film called ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ (this film is actually called ‘Song of the South’ but we have always called it ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ at home) which is a Disney film, and not sad at all. She likes to wear colourful clothes, and shares my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her favourite vampire is Angel, whereas mine is Drusilla.
My biggest sister is actually the smallest. She is a bit shorter than us, and is also what a clothes shop (and the French) might call ‘petite.’ She was quite a moody teenager, and now she is a very nice grown up and looks after everyone. She has sophisticated handwriting and very good teeth. She has travelled all over the world. She also loves horses. When she was younger, she used to go to a local farm regularly to help look after the donkeys and horses there. Then she got her own horse (but only half of it -- she shared the horse with her friend) called Cinnamon. Now she rides a horse called Otto. My biggest sister used to love a boy band called Take That as much as girls today love One Direction. Her favourite was Mark Owen. He was her Harry.
That’s all I wanted to say. Just to give you an idea. The next time someone asks if you have any brothers or sisters, how about answering, “I have _______________ -- let me tell you about them”?
I wish I was still a kid
1st place $50
By Audrey Walton, 16, Dominguez HS (Compton)
I’m jealous of my older sister and friends who are all close in age. When I see them getting ready to go out for the night, I get very jealous, because I have a baby. So I can’t go out and stay out until whenever.
Sometimes I sit and cry about it. Because of one little mistake, I had to grow up extra fast and get a job. At the same time, my sister and her friends are out enjoying life and going out on little weekend trips, while I clock into work to support my baby.
I’m jealous, because I want to be a kid again. I want to laugh and get ready to go out on weekends and stay out all night.
Sometimes my sister thinks I hate her, but I don’t. I’m just jealous of her being a kid and doing what kids do.
They have the look
2nd place $30
By Tristan C. Corpus, 17, Birmingham HS (Van Nuys)
The thing that makes me jealous is facial appearances. What I’m trying to say is that all the guys have normal-looking lips, while I don’t.
Those guys don’t have to go through their lives knowing that everyday someone will stare at them and laugh, because of their lips. They don’t have to go through their lives knowing someone is out there to make fun of the way they look.
Those guys don’t have to feel the pain from girls they like, ask them out on dates, but already know inside that the girls don’t want to have anything to do with them.
I recently went through that. I liked this one girl for so long and thought she liked me too, because we always talked and shared secrets with each other. One day I had the strength to ask her out. She said, "No." Then she told a counselor that I was stalking her. The next day, I felt so heartbroken. After that experience, we never spoke again. I’ve never thought of asking a girl out after all of that.
When there is a good-looking girl in school whom I like, I never approach her. Even to this day. I know the problems that my appearance creates with the girls. It’s nothing I can change, but I want to. And that’s what I’m jealous of.
Long beautiful hair
Third-place winner $20
By Carlos Adams, 15, Dominguez HS
I can say that I’m jealous when I see a dude with longer hair than mine. I’m trying to grow my hair, but it’s too much work to wake up in the morning and spend time putting gel in it. If I had longer hair, I could just wake up with it braided and not have to worry about it.
I can also say that long hair attracts the girls. I remember one time when my friend with long hair and I were in the mall. About five girls came up, touched my friend’s hair and complimented him about it. I felt left out.
I don’t let that jealousy get in my way. I just keep my head up and don’t really worry about it. I just want somebody to braid my hair one day. I’ll get long hair one day.
My brother’s dad
By LaQuisha Anderson, Dominguez HS
The person I am jealous of is a person I shouldn’t be jealous of. But I am. It’s my brother.
I have been jealous of him for most of my life, because he has a father and I don’t. I only have one parent—my mother. There is nothing wrong with that, because some people don’t have either parent. So I believe that I am blessed in that respect.
But when Father’s Day comes, my brother always makes cards for his dad. But I can’t. There are other people I can make cards for, such as my uncles. But I think it would feel better to make a card for my father. My life has been hard without him.
When my brother gets upset with me, he always says, "I have a father, and you don’t!" That really hurts my feelings. It’s not just because he says that, but it’s because he’s my brother. Every time he says that, I just walk away, cry and tell my mother. She punishes him and then tries to comfort me.
Even though I am jealous of my brother, I do love him with all my heart.
My brother’s Gumby
By Alex Davidson, 17, Verdugo Hills HS
My older brother, who wishes to remain anonymous, had the one thing that all kids wanted in the late 80s. It was the king of all toys—a bendable Gumby figurine. Since it was my brother’s and I was only three, he of course banned me from coming within a two-foot radius of it. Although I begged and pleaded, he wouldn’t allow me to see it, let alone play with it.
One morning I woke up extra early and snuck into his room. As soon as I entered, I saw exactly what I was looking for. It was sitting on a table by his bed. Green curves flowing from end to end. I could almost smell the plastic mold.
As I walked slowly past him, trying not to breathe and wake him, I tripped and fell with a thud. Luckily, he didn’t awaken. After finally reaching my foresaken goal, it only took me five minutes to realize that the bendable Gumby toy I lusted after was just an unbendable toy. But it was too late. As Gumby’s arms fell to the floor, the only thing I could think of was, "Oops."
Of all the things I have learned in life, there are a few lessons I’ll never forget. One of these lessons is that my brother, in all his infinite wisdom, loves material possessions more than his younger brother. Another thing I learned is that bones heal. Toys, unfortunately, don’t.
Who I’ll never be
Honorable mentionBy Miriam Leviton, 14, Cleveland HS (Reseda)
Their images of beauty aren’t mine
I’m jealous of the media’s portrayal of what a teenage girl should be. I’m jealous that I will never have the body, face or attitude of girls I see in magazines.
The idea that I am supposed to follow the media’s image of a perfect girl bothers me tremendously, yet I feed into it. My jealousy toward those perfect girls only confirms that.
I wish that when I look in the mirror, I wasn’t disgusted. I’m jealous of those girls who look in the mirror and are pleased. Those are the girls who flood the pages of my magazines. They’re the ones that don’t exist. They’re the perfect girls who make up this society’s standard of beauty. Still, I get jealous when I turn on the TV and realize that I could never be the girl whom I idolize. I could never be the media’s image of beautiful. The fact that I won’t ever be perfect makes me sickeningly jealous.
So what am I jealous of really? I’m jealous of perfection. Society’s view of perfection, you know, that nonexistent kind that somehow is made so real. Until I accept that I will never be that, I will never be happy with myself or the potential I have in life. I let jealousy get in the way of my dreams. And that’s what keeps me awake at night.