This is going up later than I planned, but I got caught up doing things at home. This post has been coming along since a while, all in my head of course and I thought it was time I put it into words.
Have you ever noticed that in every duo, every trio, every group, there is always someone who is left out, someone who is considered lesser or inferior to the others even though they might not be? Someone who has lesser fans, lesser friends outside that group / trio, someone who is less popular, whose achievements aren’t taken into account during comparison? I think you do.
From the internet YouTuber duo, Dan and Phil, more commonly known as Danisnotonfire and AmazingPhil, everybody knows and assumes Dan is more famous than Phil and it is true. Phil only recently hit three million subscribers, having been on YouTube from 2006 whereas Dan has about five million. And that’s not to say Dan isn’t brilliant, because he absolutely is. But even though they’re both essentially similar and good at what they do, Dan is viewed as better. Phil is amazing (zing!), he is, he chooses not to swear on his channel so younger viewers can watch his videos too and as the older sister of a very inquisitive and interested-in-YouTube ten year old, I am very thankful for that. I do think Phil doesn’t get the credit, the popularity and the love that he deserves. And I am happy that he and Dan have such a wonderful friendship so that these things don’t come between them, they are enough for each other and they are so very good at being that.
Among trios, I think the prime example is Ron Weasely.
If you haven’t heard about the Harry Potter series, then you’ve been living under a rock, especially now that it even has a play as the eight part being released in 2016. Everyone knows of Harry Potter, the titular character, the hero. And everybody knows Granger too, the intelligent one, the smartest witch of her age. Everyone knows Ron too. The best friend, the funny sidekick who left his friends and wasn’t very brave once.
Ron Weasley gets a lot of flak for that decision for leaving his best friends in a forest but we all know that if we were put in a tent at seventeen, with a locket that magnified our malevolent aspects with no news of a family we loved, we’d probably do the same or worse, wouldn’t return as he had. Ron is loyal and excuse you, he is brilliant too. Or did you forget the eleven year old who fought his way across McGonagall’s chess set? He was kind, helpful and brave. He was Harry’s best friend and confidante. He defended Harry at every step and so what if he made a mistake. We all do. But talking about how people treat him or view him, it’s always as inferior to Harry and Hermione. As someone who got in with the popular crowd. As Peter Pettigrew with the Marauders. But then, Pettigrew didn’t have any qualities. That was Ron’s fear too, being inferior as we saw when he faced Slytherin’s locket. But again, having that kind of friendship where the trio views themselves and each other as equal is really important and necessary and helpful.
Before I talk about myself in this context, my final example is of Kevin Olusola from Pentatonix. The cello player is the beatboxer of the a capella group and is a Yale Graduate who is fluent in mandarin. Yet sometimes, I feel like he gets far less credit for his talent than the others. As a black person he is also part of a minority. Even then I get the feeling the crowd prefers the rest of the four and sometimes, subconsciously what the group puts out is along the same lines. But then I watch them interact with each and I realise how much they all respect each other and how very important they are to the group.
In all three aspects, it is the outsiders who sow the doubts in the minds. And that’s the way it happens with me. Since middle school I suppose, when I was quite the snob I have always tried far too hard to fit in, to be liked, to be worthy of the group I was with. I spent my seventh and eight grade recess breaks with the toppers in my year and every time they spoke about their marks, I felt a little bit inferior. As a loser, in simple words. I soon discovered better friends of course, but this little inferiority complex, this feeling of I don’t belong with them, I’m not smart enough usually came around pretty quickly. It started when my then best friend refused to let me so with her during break because I want tall enough or in the same house (ruby, school houses were divided by color and I was in topaz) to sit with her and her friends. Funny how that’s still haunting me.
Even now, the friends I have are brilliant. Each one of them is good at academics, they study hard and study to achieve their marks. They work hard to reach the position they want to, the earn the respect they gain. They are amazing people, kind and they have welcomed me as I am, the eccentric, weird little fangirl.
But every now and then I wonder, how does the world see us. Do they see a bunch of smart, academically brilliant people and one misfit desperately trying to belong or do they see us as a bunch of diversely talented people who happen to like each other because of how well we go together?
It’s questions like these that keep me up at night. They make me think, am I the Phil, the Ron, the Kevin of my friend group? And even if I am, is that so bad, as long as my friends know the real me and believe in me.
It’s not easy to let go of such insecurities. But I’m trying and on most days, I can do it effortlessly. Some days though it takes a bit of reminding and remembering that I am pretty cool too.