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!

Lying Versus Lying

Not all of my family members know I have a boyfriend, and the few who do have never met him. The reason for this much of my family is racist and I don’t feel my boyfriend deserves that. This means more often than not, I’m not honest with them about where I may be going with him or what I’m doing. In short, I lie. Yes, I know lying is wrong and I’d never claim it’s not. However, while I’ll admit my own lying is as wrong as others, it seems some people disagree.

What prompted this post is I had a certain relative told me if I have to lie to do something, I shouldn’t do it. The problem here is this same relative also regularly lies and has been doing it for years on end to keep multiple relationships hidden, not from family, but from the people he has those relationships with. When I brought that up on one occasion, his argument was that’s a different matter. I’m not claiming to be any less wrong than him, but I fail to see how lying to double-cross people is better than lying to see your partner and keep them away from your family.

In fact, to one of my family members, my boyfriend’s race does not exist. To him, there are white (Caucasian) people and black (African-American) people. That’s it. No other race exists to him. He refuses to acknowledge there are many more than two races in existence. I do not feel guilty about keeping my boyfriend away from him, even if it is through lying. While I’m on the subject, this same family member is also guilty of lying for the purpose of starting family drama and getting other family members angry with each other.

I’ve had some people tell me I should be honest anyway and my family would come around, but I know this is not true. My best friend shares the same race my boyfriend does, my family has known her for five years at this point, and they continue to be hateful and distrustful of any person of that race. I’ve had to stop them from making racist comments within earshot of her because they believe being in the next room means she can’t hear them. If meeting my best friend multiple times in five years isn’t enough for them to come around, why would meeting my boyfriend be any different?

Another reason I know this is purely about race is when I was with an ex who is the same race, my family had absolutely no objections whatsoever. None. There was no care for where I was going or what I was doing with this person. Only the time I’d return would be in question and that’s merely because my family knows it’s unlike me to stay out after night falls. They never met him because that relationship was short-lived, but I told them everything and got no arguments. Yet the second I mentioned my boyfriend’s race to answer where he’s from when they asked, suddenly, there were a thousand terrible things about him. They didn’t even know his name.

Sometimes, I’m not sure if I will ever tell my family the truth. They may not ever meet my boyfriend and while that does make me sad, it’s a possibility I’m okay with. Maybe it’s the behavior of a teenager, but I’d rather keep our relationship hidden than let him be exposed to that. I’ve told my boyfriend about their racist beliefs, so he knows why I refuse to let him meet them and he’s unsurprisingly fine with it.

When I think about this and read all of this post over, I feel like I’m justifying my own lying, which is the same as what the relatives I mentioned above do. Perhaps I am justifying it and excusing myself. I can’t say I don’t feel like it’s justified, if only because I’m not trying to cheat on my partner or start family problems where there are none. Yet, aside from the one time I tried to explain the hypocrisy, I keep my mouth shut because I still don’t feel I’m right in calling them out on their lying when I also lie.

To My Younger Self

Every so often when I browse Facebook or Tumblr, I see a post that goes along of the lines of “If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?”

I think if I went back in time to meet my younger self, even by as few as three years or so, she’d slap me back into my current age. I wouldn’t blame her. As little as one year ago, if someone told me I’d be doing the things I do now, I would’ve assumed they were out of their minds.

However, when I see that question, it’s myself as a child I think of. I usually picture myself back around age 7 or 10. There are a lot of things I would go back and tell my child self because I very much needed to hear them, but no one ever told me. Hearing them probably wouldn’t have made life back then any easier, but in the moments I needed it, it probably would’ve helped. Had I any artistic skill, I’d create a comic about it.

I want to keep this list fairly short, so I’ll stick to what I think are the most important things.

  • You’re going to be happy to be alive. The very first time I thought about suicide, I was ten years old. Before that, my thoughts were often of running away from home and not returning. When things got especially bad and I was crying myself to sleep, I spent the time until I finally wore out hoping someone would break into my house and snatch me away. If I could go back and speak to my child self, I’d tell her she’ll be happy those thoughts were never a reality. She probably wouldn’t believe me and, again, I wouldn’t blame her. But I’d still say it.
  • Love does not hurt. Well, not the way I learned it did as a child. To be totally honest, this is something I’m struggling with as an adult. I prefer to just be grateful and not dwell, but in the back of my mind, I question why someone loves me or why they care to help me or why they want to know me. This is something I’d probably say over and over to my child self until I was certain she understood. No, your loved ones are not supposed to hurt you and no, being family does not justify them doing so.
  • You’re the cutest child ever, but that’s not what matters. No, I don’t think I was the cutest child ever when I look back at my childhood pictures, but “ugly” was the most common insult I heard growing up. It wasn’t only by the school bullies. My family’s vanity and obsession with looks also pushed me to believe I looked horrid when, in actuality, nothing was wrong with me. I spent my entire childhood hating how I look because I believed my looks weren’t good enough and that was all anyone cared about. I would tell my child self she is an adorable person, but it’s not the most important thing about her and most people really don’t care.
  • Friendships aren’t like the cartoons. I’m certain this one speaks for itself. I had trouble keeping friends because of how often I moved and my mother didn’t like friends visiting or letting me visit them. I would tell her it’s not completely abnormal and she’ll not only find her own friends in due time, but learn who’s a friend and who’s not.
  • 2010 will be the worst year of your life. As awful as it sounds, I’d tell her this as a warning. 2010 is the year everything began to crash and burn. My life was ripped apart from the inside out and this is the year my suicidal emotions were at their worst. The only thing that kept me from acting on those emotions was the cowardice to cause myself pain, and I regularly kicked myself for that. I’d tell her she, unfortunately, doesn’t have a choice and she’ll get through it, but it’s going to be painful. Very painful.
  • Your family will fall apart, but you won’t. This is the final one and arguably the most important after love doesn’t hurt. My family indeed has fallen apart. It’s ripped up more than I could’ve ever imagined as a kid. I’d tell my child self this is going to happen and she can’t stop it, but it’s not her job to stop it in the first place. I won’t lie and pretend it doesn’t hurt. It hurts a lot! However, what hurts more is when you’re trying as hard as you can to keep it together and your efforts are failing. I’d tell her she’s not a failure for being unable to hold her family together and it really is alright for her to worry about keeping herself together first and foremost. I’d tell her it’s their choices and their actions that are making them fall apart, and she’s not at fault for what they do.

At That Age

In 27 days, counting this one since it’s only barely after midnight, I will be 22 years old. For me, that realization is rather surreal.

My birthday is before my mother’s, but had it not been, she would’ve been 22 when she had me. I was not a planned child either and, like me, she had no intentions of becoming a parent. She only did it because she believed abortion was wrong and adoption wasn’t something she could handle (although neither was parenting; go figure).

This is something I continuously think about as my twenty-second birthday draws near, but I’m really not sure why. I knew I wasn’t going to have children at this age. Really, even if I wanted to be a parent, I wouldn’t have tried to become one by 22 because I’m in no position for it. It’s not something that’s bothering me. Just something continuously on my mind for one reason or another.

The best guess I have as to why I’ve been thinking about this so much is knowing this is the age where my mother’s life changed irreversibly. Becoming a parent doesn’t change everybody – heck, it makes them worse in some cases – but I’m certain no one can argue becoming a parent isn’t something you can take back. You can’t put them back up there. Okay, you probably could, but it’d be extremely painful and you certainly can’t reverse the nine months of pregnancy back into non-existence.

Occasionally, I do try to imagine myself in my mom’s shoes when she was 21 or 22, and it’s not an easy visual. I like children in general, so I can imagine the cute stuff like watching a baby sleep, but trying to picture the hard stuff tends to only make my head hurt. I can never picture myself waking up three times or more a night to a piercing wail, going days without sleep, or not having enough time to do so much as take a 5-minute shower. One of the most common things I hear about parenting is “your life is over” and that is more often than not from people who are parents instead of people who aren’t. My life over at 22? I’d have only been an adult for four years!

Yes, I’m aware babyhood is temporary. Eventually, they sleep through the night, gain a little more independence, and stop crying so much. Well, maybe not that last one since the temper tantrums start, but they hopefully won’t be waking you up five times a night until they’re in kindergarten. However, on its own, a year is still a lot of time and frankly, I’ve no desire to spend a year getting sleep three days at a time. I nearly collapsed after one day (a full 24 hours) without sleep, not to mention that can’t in any way be good for your body.

Sure, my mother did it, but she didn’t have a choice. She decided to keep me and have another child, so she had to endure the sleeplessness and all the stress that caring for a tiny, helpless person brings. Failure to do that would’ve resulted in either our deaths or her loss of custody before we became old enough to know she’s our mother.

Speaking of another child, I imagine this feeling will come back twice as strong when I turn 25. At 25, my mother had a three-year-old and a 1-week-old. Admittedly, I can’t see myself at 25 right now. It’s difficult to see myself any more than a year older than my age. I want this blog to be around for a few more years, so if it lasts until 2019, I feel like a certain shock will hit me if I go into my archives that year and find this post.

I Should’ve Been Quiet

This isn’t something that happened recently, but it’s something I regret to this day.

This incident was the very first of all the troubles I ever experienced with my family between both sides and while it’s possible some of them still may have happened, I feel if this particular one hadn’t, my family would’ve been a little less hectic for a few more years.

It happened in late 2006, nearly ten years ago. Besides browsing my computer, I can’t remember what else was going on. I may have had a cell phone at the time and had it with me, but I’m not certain if I was using it. I wanted to check my email and I had a message from my father. Email was how we spoke to each other at that time, so messages from were expected. The difference that time was he sent me a picture of my mom he had. Continue reading