By Ahuva Sunshine
Sometimes, the Sunshine siblings have a rainy day. I don’t need a Myers Briggs test to know I am very type A, and as a teen, I competed with my siblings in multiple arenas.
While my brother weighed in at wrestling matches, I weighed in at WeightWatchers. We were both athletic, but my brother mastered a physique that got him hired at Hollister, and I mastered a physique that got me all too familiar with Atkins, South Beach and self-loathing. He was the big man on (our high school) campus, but being a big woman on campus somehow never elicited the same respect and admiration.
Years later I learned (and continue to learn) to appreciate and love my body, but as a teen, it was a competition between my brother and me, and my brother was ahead. The areas in which I excelled felt irrelevant to me; this one issue became the arbiter of who was “better.”
We shared a house, and my brother’s lifestyle was always in my face: the sound of the alarm waking him for his intense morning runs woke me as well, the rambling of the blender for his protein shakes disturbed my TV time, and his hyper awareness of calories and fat was far from discrete at our family meals. Even when we were apart, people talked to me about “my buff brother” and asked endless questions about his workouts and wrestling matches.
Maybe if I had stopped comparing my physique to my brother’s and looked around, I would have realized that my size was average and that I didn’t strike anyone (aside from some obnoxious relatives) as particularly large or overweight. Who knows what I could have accomplished with the time and energy I spent obsessing about this rivalry. It took moving out of the house and out of the state to see how absurd my sibling rivalry was.
Recently a friend commented on how fit my brother was, and I smiled and said I was happy for him. To my surprise, I really was.
Ahuva Sunshine is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland and a contributor to Your Teen.