The Importance of Being Important

For a girl who feels like she lived her whole life in the shadow of someone else, there is nothing more important to her then being seen.

A second child, not always a burden on someone. But when you are the second daughter to a teenage mother who had a baby with someone she hates, someone too young to let grudges grow and mend fences, to inexperienced to know how to be the bigger person, being the second child could feel like being a flower trying to grow underneath a boulder.

And then when you are followed by a little boy only four short years after you start to think ‘Why am I important? There is already a girl, and now there is a boy. I’m just here.’ The attention gets bounced off the two, one because he is the youngest, the baby of the family and he needs help with everything of course, and the oldest girl who, because she came first, does everything else that much faster then you.

It’s a frustrating feeling, being right in the middle. It’s probably where the phrase ‘Between a rock and a hard place’ came from. Because that’s where I was growing up. My sister was the rock, the tomboy and the one that nobody messed with, and the hard place was competing with my younger brother with behaviour problems. There was no place for me, and so I feel like I spent most of my life trying to stick out, to be heard and find a place that I could call my own.

High School sucked, but then again there are very few people who wouldn’t say that. I went to the same high school as my older sister, so for most of my high school years I was know as her sister, and not Shaye. I wasn’t seen for being me, I was seen for being her younger sister. Which had it’s advantages with the bullies and such, but on any other aspect it was a burden. And so i did what any other fourteen year old girl who felt like she was constantly walking behind someone did, I rebelled.

I was weird, I had always known that. Not in the eating paste, and can’t tie your own shoes kind of way. But in the singing out loud on the subway with your headphones on, breaking out into monologue, and dancing to no music kind of way. And I work vigorously to have my voice loud and heard.

It’s so important to feel at least to a single person in the whole world like you are… important. Most of my life I didn’t feel that. I was ignored by my sister, abused by her in most cases for being the ‘stupid little sister’. I was overlooked by all three of my younger brothers because I didn’t know as much to them as she would, with her being the oldest and all. And my mother… after five kids she just didn’t have the time to balance it all out.

My father?

Well to avoid ripping a band-aid off a wound that hasn’t quite healed yet, let’s just say he saw me even less then anyone else did.

To sum it all up, I know well enough how much it hurts to sit back and wonder if anyone thinks you are important enough to come to this school play, or to read the first chapters of a novel you are writing at only twelve years old, or to just listen to.

It’s important to hold the door for someone that is struggling, it’s important to smile at someone who is frowning. It’s important to listen to someone who you may not like, but you talk to anyways.

There are so many things in life that are important that we just forget to do. Like when we live with other people and they cook for you every single night, it is important to have that one or two nights a month where you cook for them, and it is important to do the dishes and clean up after all those meals they cook for you.

And when you love someone it is important to hold their hand when you’re fighting. To kiss them when they’re sleeping, to listen to their nonsense and talk nonsense back, to be silly with them just because they are hyper. It’s important to dance when a song comes on that you know they like, even if you are not good at dancing or you are embarrassed to do it in public. Knowing that, it will make them feel all the more special that you actually got up and dance for them.

When you are the first person she’s ever loved, it’s important to remember your anniversary and not go to parties or spend time with your friends on Valentine’s day or your anniversary.

Because for someone who has never felt like they are important enough to do that for, it will mean the world to them. And when you forget…

It brings them back to those nights they would sneak out late even though they lived in a bad neighbourhood and go to the park late at night, swinging to the sounds of  crickets and cars in the highway, sneaking back in at 1 in the morning and knowing that no one noticed you’ve been gone for hours.

It brings them back to the birthday parties they had hoped for but no one came. To days where she sat alone because there was no one who knew she was sitting there.

A life of being invisible until the day she met you. The day you looked at her, instead of looking through her. You took her hand and told her that she didn’t need to be afraid of being of being alone anymore.

You took her in your arms, and the warmth was so magical. It was like the warmth highlighted her, you lit a spark in her that made it impossible for anyone to overlook. And she walked around with butterflies in her stomach, and a smile in her heart.

But I think being comfortable makes it so easy to forget who she was before, and to say no to her asking you to dance, to forget to hold her hand, to sit away from her instead of beside. And all these little things you do, take away that warmth. They stomp out the fire you put in her heart and as soon as it happened, as easily as you changed everything for her, it all changes back.

You don’t celebrate the cheesy things that she needs to like Valentine’s day, or Anniversaries…

And she sits at home and waits for you, knowing that you will be coming home long after she is asleep, and she has never felt more invisible in her whole life.

Turning out the lights, she bites down on her bottom lip and tells herself she will not cry.

He is just stressed, and he loves me. I know he loves me, that is something that hasn’t changed. He just forgets to show it, it becomes less obvious over time. She is important to him, he tells her that every single day, so maybe tomorrow he’ll do something that he used to do for her and she will feel important….

Because you’re not important unless someone makes you feel it.

It’s so important to be important… to feel important to at least ONE person, everyday!


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