What is this delirious attitude, Sarah, my sister? Why do you need to worry about Jill Gates’ results sheet? Why do you even care? Her grades are her affair, and nobody else’s, and you’re both cruel and meddlesome to be interested in such things.
What is this jealousy of which you speak? Why do you need to prove yourself through your grades? You should pity Jill, for she has grown so accustomed to being praised for her academic abilities that her ambition is now dulled by monotony. You should pity her that she knows no other way to satisfy her ambition, to fill her cup of congratulation. As you said yourself, she can’t win. Intelligence is both the greatest blessing and the greatest curse. Do not envy her that, if you were not made to be that way.
I have a good friend—no names mentioned—who is envied for her altitude. Every single one of her friends—barring me, but only because I’ve given up height-wise—aspires to match or even to surpass her height. What only I know—and only because I have no desires regarding elevation, and so I am able to be trusted with her secret—is that she hates it! She doesn’t want people to be jealous! She wants her friends to be taller than she! Why, you might wonder?
My friend is a girl who is hurting. She feels untold shame and embarrassment. She fears. She suffers. But she tells no one. For nobody whom she hugs can give her comfort. No shoulder she can cry on is on a parallel with her weeping eyes. She cannot hide herself from the world while she weeps for despair. She is always the big one, the tall one, the strong one.
And how she wants to be short and small and vulnerable! She wants a shoulder to cry on, and she’s timid and scared and doesn’t know how to get one.
I know you’d say just go and find some boy. But that is a quality that my friend—and, perhaps, I—might envy in you. My friend is far too shy to speak to a boy unless he speaks first, though she desperately needs a boy who is just a little bit taller than she.
What can I say? We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, and we all envy others’ strengths and weaknesses. But, Sarah, I beg you to try to be content. You can’t have everything, and if you strayed to opposite extremes, your world would be upside down. You would not be Sarah Domaille. You would be Elliamod Haras. And she is not nearly such a nice person to be.
Why are you comparing yourself with Jill Gates? You do not need to look big to be big. Why can’t you be fulfilled by the very fact that you are yourself? What other person could you possibly wish to be?
You are not a comparison. You are Sarah Domaille. You are wonderful. You are not stupid and you are not thick. You have your own balance, your own poise in the bewildering world of people and talent.
You were made to be beautiful. No human being is rubbish. We are each valued for our own little place in society, our own link and device in the great chain of life. There is some definite service, Sarah, given to you and to you alone, which only you can perform, complete with your talents and your not-so-talents.
You have a flair and an art for swimming that cannot be put down, and you know it. You have four parents, and they do not know it. It is their loss, their fault, their carelessness in bringing up you, their daughter. Someday they will see their folly. Someday there will be judgement. In the meantime, be comforted by the fact that there is someone who loves you, someone who cares. Reconcile yourself to the fact that you are good at swimming, and you know it, and I know it, and there are others who know it.
Praise, praise, praise! Encouragement and support! Be good to others. Recognise their talents, commend them for their efforts—perchance they will return the favour, and open their eyes to yours. It is lifelong friends and closest family who will praise where praise is needed and soothe where soothing is required. Explore!—see who those people are.
You are amazing! You are my sister! You are Sarah Domaille! Lift your head up high and shout it out to the world. Anyone who listens and does not smile is unworthy of your envy, and anyone who does smile is unworthy of your distaste. You are Sarah, and there is no person on this earth, besides she, whom you would do better by being!