If you hear something about yourself often enough; you tend to believe it.
Here’s what I’ve heard: my twin sister, Connie, is one of the coolest people, ever. As for me? I’m absolutely nothing like her.
Two things you should know about Connie: she was good at everything she ever tried to do – and, she died in a car accident last year on her way home from our Junior Prom.
When we were kids, Mom dressed us in the same outfits and even styled our hair the same. We were identical twins. Have you guessed our names even rhyme?
Yeah… I’m Bonnie.
People had trouble telling us apart; until we began going to school. Then – unfortunately for me – it became way too easy. Everything came easy to Connie: her grades were all A’s or B’s; she was captain of every team she tried out for, and she always got the lead in the school plays. She was our class president, every year. The boys all liked her and at church, she was tops at memorizing Bible verses.
Me? I struggle just to pass my classes; I trip over my own shoelaces in gym; and I once got stage fright while working the lights. In class elections, I was the one who handed out the ballots. Boys were only friendly to me if they wanted to date Connie and as for church, I’m the kid who sits in the back and just doesn’t get it.
And just about everyone told me about it. From parents; to teachers; to so-called friends, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Why can’t you be more like Connie?”
Yeah… I’m Bonnie.
Everyone loved Connie. I loved her, too. Even though it was hard to always be compared to her (and to always fall so short) I couldn’t help but love her, just like everyone else. Her smile was full of joy and warmth and she made everyone feel as though she was listening just to you.
When she died, I felt as though my world had stopped, for a few days. How could Connie be dead? How the sister who did everything right be gone? No one ever said it – or even hinted at it – but I can’t help but wonder how many people at our school thought it was a shame the “wrong twin” had been in that car, when it crashed.
I’ve tried to find my own niche. I’ve tried to improve my athletic skills and studied myself numb to improve my grades. I even stood in front of the mirror for hours, a few weeks ago, trying to copy her smile.
That was a real waste of time.
Yeah… I’m Bonnie.
I’ll never be Connie. I’ll never be the one who gets all the friends and the smiles and the applause. I’ll never be the teacher’s pet or the valedictorian or the class president.
But I did think I’d finally found something I’m good at. It was so cool to finally have something that comes easily to me; something that’s all mine. This year, instead of art, I decided to try Photography. I really like it. And the teacher told me I’m really getting the hang of it. She even told me she wanted me to make a portfolio for an exhibit; she wants me to enter a contest.
So, when I opened my report card and checked out my grades, among the usual D’s and C’s I was looking for an “A” in Photography.
Instead, I saw a zero.
A zero? Was the teacher serious? What about all that talk about getting the hang of it … the exhibit… what about?
Hey… it’s not a zero. It’s the letter “O”. “O” … for outstanding. And, it’s for me. Outstanding! I was so ready to believe it was yet another failure that I couldn’t even accept it when I had reason to expect success.
I’m Bonnie. And I’m outstanding. Yeah!
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