There comes a time in life where you slip into second place and without warning the world you once knew is turned upside down. Because I am second best, always have been and always will be and from the moment I was born my destiny was written. I will always be my mum’s second best; I was her mistake the child who was never meant to be born and was dumped at 2.5 years in favor of another man. I will always be my dads first child but first in his affections? I think not, that woman entrapped him into a life of servitude and forced him to forgo his relationship with me because her own children were so much better. Out of the three children that ‘E’ has I have only met one and even she will have no idea that she has a sister. Imagine what that is like not knowing that tucked away in another part of the country is family you never knew existed- she would be 14 now. Then there is my foster mum, I love her to pieces but I can’t help feeling that her own biological children take precedence in her affections and I am cheering at the sidelines waiting to be given my badge of honor. I have been second best in relationships, friendships and family and it seems like a cycle that cannot be broken. But being second best taught me to get ahead and chase my dreams because I may be the runt of the litter but I sure can bite.
Growing up I would feel isolated, in friendships I was always what you would call the third wheel and it f***ing sucked. I forced to grimace my way through an empty smile and shrug away the bitter jealous tears as ‘friends’ would leave me behind like the loser they thought I was. I had to pretend I was happy to be sidelined and quite often be the last person to be chosen for a team, be left out when teachers asked you to get into pairs and be humiliated as I was forced to sit at the end of the table with all my so called friends ignoring me because I wasn’t cool enough to sit with. It happened in relationships too, sometimes I was second to drugs while other times I was just a ‘body’ to be used for male satisfaction and it sucked. Left and hung to dry I would be forced to suffer the same abuse and misfortune that came with feeling and being second best. Because that is what second best is, it is a state of mind and quite often it is psychological.
For me I feel second best because I never feel like I am good enough and compare myself to others if I am not achieving the same results.But education was the one thing that I didn’t feel like I was second best in, school did not judge me and shielded me [although it was the root of many issues] from the bullies who made me second guess myself. It was at school that I was informed I was to be taken into care at the age of 10, it was at school that I received awards for excelling in my GCSES and it was at school that I read I had gotten into the university of my choice. School helped me conquer my fear of being alone; for a long time since I was abused as a child I was scared to eat alone, be alone or sit alone, afraid that those school kids would know I was lonely and I was right. I remember one painful Geography lesson when I had to prepare a presentation but my partner [who I was paired with because I had no friends in the class] was suspended and not there by my side. One guy called ‘V’ asked me if ‘I was on my own’ and those five simple words struck me deep. He meant no malice but his simple question was true, I was alone and that fear of being lonely is what made me feel second best. It made me think that I was there to be somebody’s beard, that reliable ‘friend’ you can always fall back on when noone else is around. I took that s**t like a f***ing moron and let people walk all over me because I didn’t have the balls to stand up to them.
Today I am like a different person, if someone gives me abuse I tell it how it is and I will never ever let you make me feel like second best again but that does not mean I don’t make myself feel second best. They say we are our own worst critics and they are right. I set myself unrealistic expectations and then get angry when I can’t achieve them. I forgo my health and pretend I am normal because everyone thinks I am being a drama queen if I am ‘moaning’ and I take on a character when I meet new people because I want to be liked. When you feel like you are second best you always put on an act because you don’t want people to see the real you. To see who I am and my vulnerability you have to peel back the layers, because underneath that facade of strength is a person waiting to crumble and noone can catch me when I fall. Even those who think that they know me? They couldn’t be further from the real me if they tried and it hurts me that I am so hard to break. I have exposed my soul and my heart so many times that it is lacerated with metaphorical wounds and it has taken them a long time to heal. The wounds give me clarity but they still remind me of how damaged I am and I know there is a long way to go before I can stop feeling second best. But I do know one thing, it was not so long ago that I was still scared to be seen alone and worried I would be singled out or called pathetic but now I don’t care. I eat in public on my own and don’t have palpitations and sometimes I will attend events on my own without a care in the world. Being on my own is liberating but I don’t want to be that girl again who is left until last and hidden in the trash.
Do you ever feel like your second best?