This is my story.
I was a plump child, who grew into a plump teenager. In school, I was average. In my group of friends, I was the least intelligent. My cousins - of which I have many - were among the best.
I am the youngest of 5 children, and my siblings teased me. My father loved one son in particular, and when that son's kidneys failed, my father forgot about everyone else. My father is now dead and I wish I could delete the memories I have of him telling me to f+++ off, or of him shouting at my mother, or of him taking his belt to us.
Throughout my childhood, every event - exam, birthday etc. - was overshadowed by some episode or other regarding my sick brother, or my oldest brother who lashed out due to being neglected too. He was not good enough for my father. He wasn't bright, he drank, lost jobs, etc. He humiliated everyone.
Money - or the lack of it - was a big issue. My friends all wore nice clothes while I wore hand-me-downs. While my friends studied, I worked at my part-time jobs. Nothing changed in college. Fell in love with a guy who turned out to be just using me. On the plus side, I lost most of my weight due to being heartbroken.
I au-paired in Italy and it was so stressful, that my eyebrows turned gray. I have had to dye them ever since.
I met my husband in college. He's a wonderful man. We married young and it was an 'economical' wedding. My brother managed to use up all the film on the video just getting to the wedding. So, no footage of bride or groom whatsoever.
In an effort to improve myself, I saved up and had the marks on my crooked teeth covered by veneers. Now my family tell me that my teeth look straight, but that my smile has been ruined. My teeth are now way to big for my mouth, seemingly.
My husband and I have been married for 12 years and we just had a baby girl last year. Six months later, after years of pressure to buy an apartment, we took the plunge, only to discover that the reason we could afford the apartment is that it's a complete money pit. We knew we'd have to make a lot of compromises, but we made so many that we ended up in a place that's hardly worth living it. We hate it, but we're stuck in it for the next 15 years at least. We have no savings left and where we live, no one will give us a mortage in 15 years time. To make matters worse, now our jobs no longer look secure either.
When I look at my life - not a hectic job, no real qualifications, a home I don't feel at home in - I just hate it. Even now, I look at my school friends, siblings and cousins, and they all have so much more. In addition to happy marriages, they have high-paying jobs and seem to be rising up the ladder as quickly as my husband and I are dropping down.
There are so many things that I'm not. I'm not brainy, or beautiful, or successful. I don't have a store of harmonious childhood memories. I don't know what it's like not to have to worry about money. When I visit my friends and see their lives, I'm envious.
I know I'm not living in a shack in calcutta or that I'm not dying of kidney failure, but when I compare my life to the people's I know, I just can't help but feel sorry for myself.