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My five-year-old brother came home today crying. My grandmother asked what happened at school. He told her it was because he didn't get any "stars."

A bit of a back story: ever since my brother reached the age that would allow him to enter preschool, my grandparents grew obsessed with having him come home with "stars" on his hands and stories to tell about school or what they did for that day. It was nice because they actually listen to his excited tattles about school and his classmates.

I'm not writing this to mock that. I believe that accomplishments deserve to be acknowledged. I am immensely proud and happy because my brother puts enough effort in things which people think deserve "stars". But I guess I don't like him to think that "stars" are everything.

My father was an achiever. He was constantly on the honor roll, he participated and won in contests, and I bear testament to my father's intellectual abilities. His mother used to tell amazing stories from his childhood, emphasizing the fact that he was quite the little genius. I was impressed. Among the family, my siblings and I luckily inherited this gene.

We're not geniuses but we were above average students. I was on the honor roll, too, but not every time. But I was a very shy kid then so I guess my problem over my personality overshadowed the need to crave for "stars". With accomplishments like awards and honors reaching the elders' ears, they were more than proud. They were ecstatic.

But the way my brother was stressing over the fact that he did not get any "stars" today made me realize how great my grandparents' expectations of him are. Whenever he goes home, his welcoming question would be, "how many stars did you get today?". If he gets stars, my grandmother would ask, "aw, but why didn't you get more?"

It's frustrating. Well, at least for me.

Speaking of disappointments and expectations, I failed to call our grandfather for his birthday today. I did greet him, though, but he often takes these special occasions seriously. I bet he feels like we forgot his birthday.

But yes, I'm struggling with anxiety and I don't think my mother knows this. She doesn't know how much I panic whenever I have to talk to someone over the phone. I don't like answering calls even if it's important. I was once scolded by our editor during internship because I couldn't pick up the phone for an urgent call. He didn't know that I couldn't help it. My palms sweat and my heart starts thudding at the sound of the phone ringing.

So much for future careers, needing the use of phones.

Yeah, I feel really bad today. I just need to sort things out or I'll go crazy.
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