Posts Tagged ‘Birth order’

The Middle Child

March 5, 2013

I was having a shower this morning and for some reason I started thinking about my birth order – I am the middle of three girls.  My Dad used to call us #1, #2 and #3 – suddenly ego was there telling me “You are second best” very calmly.  I told ego “Thanks for sharing, I choose something else”.  I usually go on about my business but this morning I found myself almost yelling “I am NOT 2nd best!”   “I am NOT 2nd best!”   “I am NOT 2nd best!”.

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It hit me that may that’s how I have been seeing myself all my life.  Scary!  I remember Debye telling me if something feels heavy, it isn’t true.  When it feels light, it is true.  I have also been reading Martha Beck – she is such a cool lady! – she calls it “shackles on” ” shackles off”.    This feels heavy “shackles on”.  Since then I have been thinking – not always a smart idea – and wonder if that is true.  Unfortunately those were the days of always comparing myself and finding myself coming up short.  This time I felt grateful to ego and told her “Thank you for sharing”.  This will not be a field day for my inner critic or for me to beat myself up; rather a time to see objectively how much truth there really is in it.

Not too long ago I was listening to Alternative Talk radio and one of the guests posed a question: What do you believe about yourself?  That was a head scratcher because I am not always sure what I believe about myself.  I know beliefs are chapped by parents, siblings, friends, peers, etc.; I look back and wonder if I believed the feedback from those who called me names because I was a chubby, somewhat plain child with glasses since the 3rd grade, was true.  I know it hurt and I didn’t like it, but I didn’t think of any way to fight back.

I went to school a year earlier than I was supposed to – Mom and Dad say I made such a fuss when Ellen got on the bus because I want to see where she went.  There was in Southern California a rule you had to be 5 by the first of March, so I qualified.  My grades were not great, mostly C’s, a few B’s and  an A in art one year.  My sister Ellen was just the right age and she did really well in school; as a result of me and my early start, they kept my sister Candy from going to school until she was almost 6.  She had really good grades.  Both sisters seemed adventurous to me, I was always scared to step out and do things.

I really noticed a difference in my relationship with Ellen.  When lived in California we used to play a lot together, the 4 year difference didn’t seem to be a problem.  When I was 7, we moved to Seattle and lived in a rented house for a year and a half.  It was as if Ellen and I were strangers, she was on her way to junior high and my sister Candy was only 18 months.  When we moved to the present house, I was starting 4th grade and Ellen was in junior high.  What a gap there seemed to be – 4 years was a lot more than it used to be.  There was a 3 year gap in school, so as she left junior high, I started it.  When she graduated from high school, I began.  Unfortunately some of the teachers remembered her – did they have expectations I would do as well?

Ellen is a wonderful artist, plus she plays most of the stringed instruments.  My sister Candy is a musician and song writer as well as writing books.  Where was my talent, my gifts?  I didn’t really know.  I have said I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  There wasn’t a whole lot that really inspired me or captured my interest, I seem to have drifted along all my life.  I had no idea I would meet an Armenian and go to Australia to marry him, then come back to the States 18 months later.  I had always wanted to travel, so I was able to do that because of his jobs; I lived in parts of the U.S. I have always been curious about and certainly his travel has made me more independent.

Now that I have gotten this far in the post, it suddenly hits me that being diagnosed with RA has contributed to my possible feeling I am not as able or capable as most people.  Oh dear, there is that comparing stuff again.  Well, this one will have to sit on the back burner for a bit to see what else comes.  RA is a subject all in itself.

What Do I Believe About Myself?

February 19, 2012

I started this entry awhile ago, have come back to it 2 or 3 times and it still doesn’t feel quite right.

I saw this question a while back and I have been letting it simmer on the back burner for awhile.  Some obvious answers are “I’m not good enough”; “I’m not worthy”;”I’m not eligible or qualified for the good things in life”.   It’s a lot of how I have thought about myself for a long time.  Yet it didn’t really feel quite “right”.  This morning I was getting dressed to go to a networking breakfast and it popped into mind “I don’t believe there is anything special about me”.  I have compared myself to other people and always found myself wanting.  Trouble is, I am the only one who sees it that way.  So where did this begin?

I am the middle child of three daughters – no  doubt with all the usual middle child hang ups.  My older sister is a wonderful artist; I have admired her all my life and wanted to be able to draw and paint the way she does.  I tried but never measured up – my judgment rather than anyone else’s.  My younger sister seemed to breeze through things, did so well with music and later on writing, having her books published.  I never felt anything I did was all that special except when I did some creative things, more crafter than fine artist.  I realize I have not given myself credit for things I have done because it seemed normal, what one does in the situation.  When it comes to RA, I never realized I had a choice of whether I was going to deal with or not, I figured I had to go to the doctor, have it treated and live my life.  It has been with me so long, I’ve done whatever I needed to do to get through the day, through the flare up, the medical procedures, creating a life around what I could do physically and somehow moving from one place to another, making a new life each time.  It never seemed to be that big of an accomplishment, only what I had to do.

There have been times when I have had people tell me I have such a positive attitude – I wonder where that came from because so often I have been down, depressed, cranky and not much fun to be around.  They also say they marvel that I am able to do so much with RA – why does it feel so minor to me?  Where did I begin to discount myself, who I am and what I have accomplished?

I have been thinking about this post since I last wrote and I have realized I see myself as a result of other peoples’ comments and perceptions of me.  Except I have only heard and taken in the negative bits – wonder why the positive ones didn’t come through as well or stronger.  I also now understand that most of my feedback in childhood was more negative than positive – I know Mom was trying to protect all three of us girls in the only way she knew how.  I often wonder what her childhood was like – she only talks about her aunts and uncles, grandparents, some about her parents – but not the details that would help me understand her better.  When I asked her about them, what they were like, she would say they didn’t analyze everything back then.  Or if she wasn’t willing to talk, she would just say “I don’t know”.  She is a true Yankee New Englander, born and raised in Connecticut and not one to talk much about feelings.  My Dad was more talkative, though he was closed-mouthed some about things too.

Now I have begun to realize I have been looking outside myself for validation all my life – I haven’t loved, accepted, approved or trusted myself.  I can’t make my parents responsible for all of it – as an adult I have had choices, although I didn’t really realize it at the time.  I just went on with what I had always known.  I have to take responsibility for my adult choices all these year – yes, it is much easier to blame someone else and see myself as a victim.  But I am not a victim even though ego wants me to continue that so she can be in control.  I know I am a late bloomer, I didn’t realize it would take until my 60’s to begin to bloom.  I am also learning I had to go through the last 65 years to be ready for this part of my life – still hard to grasp it has been perfect all the way through.  Maybe it is because the definition of perfect has always been Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, satisfying all requirements and corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept.  So now it is time to redefine perfect in terms of my life.  I always felt I had to be perfect, do things perfectly, then beat myself up because I didn’t or couldn’t do or be perfect – an impossibility from the beginning.  (That’s another blog post by itself!).

I will admit I am not really happy about this post, it doesn’t feel as if it flows and goes anywhere.  But I will post it anyway and invite anyone to give me some feedback and suggestions to make it better.  Or maybe I am just too close to it and need to step back from it and not stress about it.  Not all blog posts are stellar.


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