Sibling Irony

Something I’ve often heard is that having siblings teaching children how to share.

As an (older) sibling, I can honestly say whoever started that belief deserves to be punched.

Having a sibling did not teach me how to share. It taught me how to hoard and hide my stuff because I didn’t want to share. I hated sharing anything with my sister. I didn’t become better with sharing until I was in my late teens and, ironically, didn’t have to share anymore because someone told me to.

But the effects of having a sibling had already been done and I genuinely feel like having a sibling, and specifically being the older of the two, is what contributed most to my lack of any desire to be a parent.

Like most older siblings, I was often responsible for my sister. I don’t solely mean babysitting. If she did anything wrong, somehow, it was my fault. I was expected to know better because I was the older sibling, but somehow, she never was, no matter how old she got. I was actually aware enough as a kid to point this out, but it’s not like I was ever listened to. The bottom line is I very much resented being given the responsibility of a child I had zero part in bringing into the world, and I’m positive merely being a babysitter a few times would not cause that feeling.

Of course, this varies. Some oldest siblings willingly go on to become parents, and my boyfriend is the youngest of his parents’ three children and doesn’t want kids, despite being the typical “spoiled baby of the family” (until a certain age). This came to my mind because I found it ironic and somewhat hilarious. What was supposed to teach me about sharing and being responsible became the biggest factor in why I want nothing to do with parenthood.

More so, my sister has a rather idealized idea of caring for children. She wants kids of her own someday, and I do not knock her for that, but she knows next to nothing about taking care of someone smaller than her. She once asked me how I couldn’t want kids and while I know this is a question sometimes shared by parents, in this case, it came out of the mouth of a 16-year-old whose closest experience with caring for a child had been looking after a baby doll. That question is annoying, no matter who it comes from, but it makes more sense out of the mouth of someone who is a parent and knows they like the experience than someone who’s never done it. Granted, one could argue I’m not very different in that I’ve never been a parent and am saying it’d be terrible for me.

However, there are two differences here. I’m talking only about myself. I’ve never said no one else shouldn’t want to be a parent. I’m saying nothing more than I don’t. The other is, as I said, my sister has never been responsible for any children, whereas I have, and not just her. I can remember being left to after a small group of daycare children when I was about 8 or under (yes, my mothet was present). Her idea of parenthood comes from what she thinks it is. Mine comes from what I’ve done, and with no say in the matter at that.

Today, as an adult, I don’t hate children and, to an extent, I do enjoy looking after them. There are times when I’d genuinely prefer a child’s company to an adult’s. Occasionally, children who come to my register with their parents will talk about something, and one child surprised me when she was so quiet while waiting in line, but started chatting with me the second her parents came to my counter. It’s rather cute, even if I have no idea what they’re going on about, and heaven knows I’d rather hear that than be yelled at by a customer for the fifth time because I can’t do their return.

But all of those are temporary. At the end of the day, the children are gone and I go home. I can have patience with children precisely because I’m not around them 24/7. It’s easier to remember they’re children and they’re acting like children than it would be if I were over-exhausted and hadn’t slept in three days. I’ve heard parenthood can teach you patience – likely because you have no choice except to learn – but it could also very well double my temper, which happens naturally anyway. “Doing your best” isn’t an excuse when what you do causes you to scar your child. I didn’t realize until I was an adult my own mother was practically winging parenthood the whole time. She tried, but her “best” was only good when everything else was good. If not, hell reigned upon us.

In the end, along with lack of interest in parenthood, I’m not interested in playing Russian Roulette with someone’s life. At least, I can argue I wasn’t willingly given the responsibility of my sister. That was my mom’s doing. But my child? 100% my fault. No room to complain about having to share then! I’d brought that kid into the world. I’d better share!

A Different Perspective

For the most part, I like going to work. Maybe not the actual “work” part of it (who does?) because it is tedious, but I like being around my co-workers and getting out of the house every once in a while. They’ve been slowly increasing my hours, and I think they did it well. They started me off with 10 hours a week. Then, they gradually increased it until it was 19 hours for a while. Now, I’ve been working over 20 hours per week as of late. Granted, in one case, that was due to being called in because another person called out and I accepted, but besides that, the hours have been scheduled for me.

However, there’s one particular thing at my job I really appreciate.

I’ve talked about my family plenty of times on this blog. Sometimes, it’s been positive, but most of the time, it hasn’t. Most of my family members are very judgmental people who make me feel like I live in an eternal high school. They criticize the tiniest things, and I don’t mean only myself. It goes without saying I’ve struggled with my self-esteem most, if not all, of my life. I don’t believe I had any esteem until my late teen years, and while that was partially due to over a decade of school bullying, my family was worse than any bully ever was.

At my job, it’s the total opposite. Not only is there no judgment, but much of the time, I’m discouraged from being hard on myself. I’m told to relax and go slowly. I feel guilty and incompetent when I make mistakes, but instead of being yelled at or criticized, I’m simply told it happens and to be a little more careful. If I need help, I get it without hesitation. I had a customer get angry with me because I didn’t know the answer to a question. One of my co-workers told me not to be bothered by it.

It’s not only the other cashiers who do this. The supervisors are the same. One supervisor outright told me to my face, “You’re human. You’ll make mistakes.” He then proceeded to tell me about much worse mistakes previous cashiers have made, that, in my opinion, sounded like there was no way they could’ve been mistakes. This same supervisor had previously told me about customers attempting to return items that belonged to other stores not of the company’s.

I love the lax attitude and it really does help me feel good about how I perform at my job. At the same time, it feels so strange. I’m so used to being criticized for something as small as the color of my headband, it feels odd to not be told off for mistakes I do make. The person at my job who kicks myself most for screwing up is me. Staying calm about it is easier said than done.

I do try to learn from my mistakes and figure out something that’ll prevent it next time. Most of my mistakes, ironically, are a result of me working too fast because I feel self-conscious and like the customer feels impatient when I work slowly. To be fully honest, I’m surprised I’m even capable of holding down this job. Being a cashier is by no means the most difficult job on Earth, but as someone who’d never held a job before, it was nerve-wracking to me. Of course, now, it’s another part of my weekly routine. I feel like I’m going to miss it when the seasonal period is over. Or, more specifically, I’ll miss my co-workers.

A Promise Isn’t A Promise

These days, it seems my avoidance of drinking alcohol, smoking, or using other drugs is less because of the promise I made to myself and more because I lack access to these things.

From observing my grandfather, it seems being an addict is a free pass to take money from everyone else after blowing all your own. You don’t have to concern yourself with their possible needs because you need their money more than them for your needs. If they temporarily have to go without, it doesn’t matter because you’re not going without. All while being in denial or not realizing you’re an addict.

I can’t say being an addict doesn’t look appealing when I judge by that view. There seems to be little unappealing about it. On top of that, the urge to start is getting stronger with each passing day.

I left home without bathing or eating this morning. Not eating breakfast isn’t unusual for me since I haven’t eaten breakfast regularly since I was 17, but not bathing is. I’ve never been frustrated to the point of not bathing, so it’s a first. All I did was put in deodorant. What’s more surprising is I really don’t care.

Yesterday, I had a dream about driving off a bridge and I feel like that’s my brain trying to tell me something I really don’t want to admit, but might be necessary. Unfortunately, my own cowardice prevents that, as it always has when I first began feeling that way several years ago, so it’ll never be reality unless it’s done by someone else’s hand. Truthfully, I feel like all of this is my fault for ever expecting my efforts to lead me anywhere and wasting my time with trying. I’d think the first decade of my life alone would mean I know better than to expect things to get better, but apparently not. To quote a character of an anime I recently watched: I was stupid. So stupid.

I may not keep that promise. It seems to be pointless. I turn to comfort food when I feel so badly, but that hasn’t been helping like it used to. Perhaps alcohol or nicotine or whatever else there is would be the better alternative. It’s certainly better than selling myself on the street, which I’ve also considered doing out of desperation. Really, I best not get into the things I’ve felt desperate enough to consider for money until I manage to find steady paid work (yes, I’m still looking, for some reason even I fail to understand).

At this point, I’m wondering how much longer I can refuse the desperation or the urges to intoxicate myself. How much longer until I finally decide it’s not worth it and break that promise?

No Worth In My Future

How ironic this should happen just a week after this post.

I had a new experience today. Being desperate to find a job, I tried my hand a temp agency that was close to me and I’d learned about from a flyer. I went yesterday, but I didn’t have my social security card, so I had to return tomorrow, but I was given the word of being sent to a particular nearby town I knew of to begin working. It sounded too good to be true to me, but as I said, I was desperate, so I agreed. Later, I asked several people if the offer sounded legitimate and everyone I asked agreed it was. So, I was hopeful.

I should’ve listened to my instincts.

I woke at 4:40 am and left my house an hour later to arrive at the agency at 6 AM, as I’d agreed. The worker there took my card and ID, and accepted them. After waiting for about a half hour and a few more people coming, there was a van ready to escort those who’d shown up to the other town to work. I was nervous, but I assumed this was how temp agencies operate. I got in the van with the others and off we went.

This is where I went wrong.

I didn’t have any reason to believe things had changed from what I was told yesterday, so I questioned nothing. However, it took me only a short time to realize that van was not going where I’d been told I’d be sent to. The passenger next to me called the worker at the agency to ask what happened and, apparently, the employer in the first city cancelled the plan to take temps. So, instead, we were going to a much farther town, which I was familiar with, but did not know my way around. I was immediately dismayed.

To top it off, too many temps had been sent, so only the ones who had previous experience with the work needed to be done were allowed to work (how in the world do you attain work experience without ever getting the chance to work?). That meant the rest of us had to be sent home. I went from dismayed to furious. The van that dropped us off was supposed to return, but I don’t know if it ever did because in the end, my family came to pick me up. I felt terrible for all the trouble I’d caused and at the moment, I still do. So much trouble, all out of desperation for work.

That is my first experience with a temp agency and it will be my last.

When I got home, I almost immediately fell asleep, but after I woke up, I laid in bed for several hours, fighting against crying. The urge to drink was extremely strong and I searched through Google for very strong alcohol brands I could hopefully purchase to intoxicate myself tonight. The intention was to get drunk enough to forget today ever happened, but if it killed me, I wouldn’t have exactly been dissatisfied. After all, when I am so incapable of doing what’s supposed to be the simplest responsibility of adulthood – hold a job – what use do I have to society?

I’ve decided to return to solely applying for jobs, but the deep truth is I’ve given up. I have no more hope of finding any employed work. I have no more hope of making something of myself. I have no more hope of being a useful adult. I don’t expect my life to change or to ever be in a position where I’m supporting myself. I wonder if my promise to myself to avoid drugs and alcohol is truly worth it because it seems I have zero to lose. My friends will eventually move on with their lives, my family will not be able to continue supporting me, and I’ll be left behind. There is really nothing at all I have to lose. Of course, I’d need money to obtain alcohol to begin with, so I couldn’t do so much as an addiction correctly.

There is a hole in my heart from this knowledge and I’ll never be able to fill it. I will die with it. I don’t expect to live out of my twenties. But it may be for the better. I have nothing to offer. Why am I still here? Why should I be here?

Never Good Enough

It’s funny how no matter how much goodness there is in the world, it still pales in comparison to the opposite, whether on a massive scale or a much smaller, more personal one.

I don’t consider myself a horrible person. I’ve never broken the law. I’ve willingly helped people and enjoyed doing so. I’ve helped out at community events, helped clean up a beach, volunteered my time at a food bank, and looked after others’ children. I’m kind to and have helped my best friend and my boyfriend. I’ve stayed up all night multiple times to be there for someone I cared about dealing with a rough night, online and offline. I don’t have any bigotries.

I don’t sound like an awful person and I would hope I’m not. Yet I deal with feelings of worthlessness all the time for one reason and one reason only: I’ve never had a job.

That fact alone makes me feel like I am little more than a plague on society who’d have been better off not existing. I don’t think about it when I’m around others, but when I’m alone, the thought often creeps in and I question if any of the above really matters. I fear losing the positive relationships I have due to losing the respect of those of I care about for being jobless. I question why, if I could make the action to end things painless, I choose to remain alive. I question why I can’t do this one thing it seems everyone has done multiple times by my age, no matter how hard I try. I question if I’m really worth anything, and if what I listed above are merely distractions or ways to make up for my lack of being a contributing member to society.

I’ve lost the ability to see myself in any position different from the one I’m in. This is the only way I can picture myself when I’m 30, 40, 50 years old, assuming I live that long. A small part of me doesn’t want to see any more future birthdays, not even 2017’s. I fear reaching yet another age.

Then, there’s a part of me that feels very selfish. I visited my best friend this past Friday and she briefly vented to me about her job. She has had her job for a full year, but she abhors it and wants a different one. Shortly after, she showed me the new phone she’d gotten. While I still felt sympathy for her troubles at work, a part of me still felt envious solely because she has a job. One she hates and could never live off of, but a job nonetheless. Of course, I kept my feelings to myself and didn’t tell her, but the truth is would it not leave her jobless instead of me, I’d switch places with her immediately if it were possible.

I don’t believe I will ever fit in as a functioning societal member and it’s not a thought that makes me happy. I want to work and I want to be a contributor, but so far, my efforts have resulted in nothing more than rejection and more questions of my own worth. Yes, I’m aware many people experience joblessness, but I believe most of those people had already worked a minimum of two jobs by my age whereas my work experience is absolutely blank.

I hate I have this feeling. I hate the feeling of everything I do meaning nothing because it doesn’t compare to me working and paying for myself to the extent a job would allow me to. I hate this feeling overshadows everything. I know a job is nowhere near fun and I’d likely feel the same as my best friend if I did find a job. I know the difference between imagined expectations and reality, as it’s led to changes in what were my long-term goals. In spite of that, my self-worth is still in question due to my lack of any employment within my lifetime. I feel I could save someone from certain death, and still see myself as having contributed nothing to society when I later returned home.

I remember being a child and believing adults had everything figured out. After all, that’s why adults were in charge of children instead of the other way around. At least, that’s essentially what I was told. I’ve already been looked down on for my age multiple times and I know I will always be sneered at for it by people older than me, no matter what age I’m at. I’ve seen adults whose maturity was outmatched by children look down their noses at me for being younger than them. Age means a lot beyond the laws in society. I’ve not yet found the age where I’m an adult who has everything figured out like the adults I met as a child did. Supposedly, that age does not exist, but I wonder if it really does and I’m one of those people who hasn’t caught up to it yet. I really don’t know what adulthood is supposed to be, but I know I’m doing every ounce of it wrongly.