Distorted Refractions

The following speech was written by Fah G10 as part of an English assignment. 

A disguise, a coverup, or a label? Sometimes I question if people really see me.

My whole life, I’ve been compared to my sister. I’ve been her twin, merely just a reflection of her. Despite resenting these comments, despite not wanting to be like my sister, I admire her. I appreciate how enthusiastic, caring, and understanding she is.

She’s one of the most spontaneous people I know, taking things as they come, enjoying every little thing that comes her way. When I’m around her, I learn to let go, and have a little more fun. She sees the best in everyone, and has a better understanding of the people around her, more than I ever could. She’s the first person I turn to for advice. We talk about everything. Everything, but one thing. The one thing I’ve always been too afraid to tell her is how I feel when we are compared, when people tell me how much we are alike.

Even though we are close, I’m not her, but that doesn’t stop people from comparing the two of us. Take for instance she’s the outgoing one, and I’m the quiet one. She’s the approachable one, and I’m the other one. “Sign 2,” that’s what my uncle calls me. To be honest, at first I didn’t mind it at all. I didn’t mind being the second version of my sister, I took it as a friendly joke. But after having my whole family expecting me to follow her footsteps exactly. I found myself resenting these comments and coming up with every way possible to prove it to them that I’m different. “You look like your sister in this photo.” “You dress like twins.” What were compliments turned into comments I resented. “You should learn to be as outgoing as Sign.” “You should do more activities, make more friends like Sign.” Like a glass of water, people think they can see right through me. But if they look a little bit closer they’d see all the distorted refractions. People don’t realize that they can’t truly see water, when they’re looking through a glass. The seemingly clear barrier isn’t that clear at all.

So I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I stood up, it’s time I broke the glass. It started simple, with small things. Usually my sister would always wait for me to get dressed first, so she could wear the same colors, sometimes even the exact same shirt. But I decided that needed to change, every time she did that, I started changing out of my clothes. I started to change my physical appearance in hopes that it would make me look different from her on the outside, to reflect who I am on the inside. I expected all this to stop when my sister left for university, and for a bit it got better, but that didn’t last for long. I still got comments like, “You’re going to the same university as Sign, right?” “You want to study engineering like Sign, right?” To the point where I told myself that I’m not going to the same university as her. I understood that it wasn’t her presence that stopped people from making assumptions about me, it was because they hadn’t taken enough time to notice the differences.

Even though, my sister and I are close, even though, I admire her, and even though, I feel upset, confused, frustrated when we are labeled as one, I know that I am my own person. A disguise, a coverup, or a label? I also still don’t have an answer for this but, what I’ve come to realize is that I shouldn’t change my values or goals to differentiate myself. Instead, I should stand by my ideals, because they are what makes me me.

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