Being the middle child doesn’t mean that I will never be anybody

I have one sister who is a year older, and a brother who is three years younger.

Growing up, there were times that all three of us got into mischief together. Then, there were times when they would gang up against me, and I very clearly remember what it felt like.

It wasn’t just loneliness. I felt rejected and unliked. Similarly, in school, I was ganged up against by the other girls. I sought acceptance. I wanted the coolest pens, I wanted mechanical pencils. Back then, mechanical pencils were really expensive because they were new. Oh, shaker pencils! I don’t know how many of you know about it, but they were cool because everyone had one and they came in many different colours.

But no, my mum decided that it was enough to have regular lead pencils and ball-point pens. My bag was gawky, my pencil case was old and scrummy. Definitely not a cool kid.

My mum wouldn’t let me keep my hair long, but my sis could.
My sis got to take ballet lessons, I couldn’t.
My sister got to have a birthday party, I didn’t. In fact, the first birthday party I had for myself was for my 18th birthday. And, my mum got to decide who to invite. My sister had several; my brother had his own too.
I had to wear specs and somehow, my mum never chose the nicer ones for me. Sure, she did ask me to pick. But she would always complain that they were too expensive. In the end, she got her way because she paid. My sis got to choose her own. My brother doesn’t wear specs.

Was I jealous of them? You bet. It was horrid. I wanted to kill myself; I tried convincing myself that I was adopted.

We graduated to Secondary school, and I entered the same school as my sister, again. I felt like a loser. My sister was class monitor, then school councillor. She had authority and people thought less of me.

Have I mentioned that I was bullied in school? When I was 8, I was bullied so bad on the bus to school, I called my mum from the public phone the minute I reached school. She didn’t want to come get me. She told me that it was nothing. From then, I guess I realized that I was on my own. Teachers couldn’t do anything. Besides, the bullies always come down harder on those who snitched, right?

Secondary school was even more of a pain. Going through puberty and seeking an identity is tough when everyone else seems so comfortable where they were. I was insecure.

I stole, I stopped doing homework, I tried to be bad, thinking it would help me assimilate with the bad kids. It didn’t work.

Then, I tried being good. Completing all my homework, being punctual, answering questions in class. Then they called me a teachers’ pet.

Nothing worked. So I gave up when I was 14. Then, I had two more years of Secondary school. I dreaded school, so I timed myself to reach just before attendance was taken.

Later, I moved on to college, where I started writing short stories and poems. I took a course in Mass Communications and somehow, forgot the need to fit in. I stopped trying. And, friends found me.

I started internship at a local newspaper and continued working there. Now, I am still in touch with friends from church and school, as well as miscellaneous activities I took part in.

What I’m trying to say here is to simply let go of your insecurities. Allow yourself to believe that you are the best that you let yourself be. Find something you like and hone your skill. Life gets so much easier once you accept that Change Starts From YOU.

It still isn’t easy for me to be emotionally honest with my mum because I feel betrayed by how she didn’t help me when I was 8. I am turning 20 next month. I am trying, but maybe it’s just me, but I can’t be emotionally honest with a lot of people, especially those whom I care for.

Maybe it’s because my feelings were dismissed when I was younger, maybe it’s because my parents seemed to prefer the opinions of my siblings instead.

But whatever it is, I realize that I find comfort in small groups of friends. And these people let me believe that I am worthy.

And yes, I am the black sheep of the family. I am not going to university, I party, I drink, I stay out late. I don’t have a conventional job (I am a journalist) and I stick out like a sore thumb, especially in my extended family.

But who cares? Acquaintances tell me that I am lucky that my job is essentially my interest. and how many people have the opportunity to make a living by doing what they love?

I got that chance, because I accepted myself. I am happy being the middle child because I chose to believe in the good things.

by Amanda

6 thoughts on “Being the middle child doesn’t mean that I will never be anybody

  1. I can relate to this almost completely. I agree with you. It’s difficult for me to associate emotionally with my mother particularly because in the past she never believed what I said nor did she particularly agree with my personality.
    My older sister is almost exactly like my mother in terms of style personality and ambition. Naturally, my little sister behaves much like my older sibling.
    So where does that put me? The wild “rebellious” middle child just because unlike my mother an siblings I’m interested in partying and sex and drinking. I want to be an artist or journalist instead of a doctor or lawyer. And my mother just doesn’t understand how one daughter is completely different and why I don’t comply with the lifestyle she wants all three of her daughters to have.
    Because of that, I’ve always felt she was harsher with me and more disdainful with me than my sisters. It definitely has affected the way I associate with her now (it’s hard to let her know how I feel) but I feel like I can sort of understand where she was coming from. She thought she failed as a parent because one of her children barely had friends and was quickly going out of line and spending all her time away from her studies and has no motivation. It hurts that she couldnt accept me for who I was becoming but Ive learned to try to think of things from her perspective. I know If we can get past this road block our relationship will improve. I don’t know if your mom has a one track mind like mine but if you asked her how she feels she did in parenting you might understand why she treated you the way she did.
    I also agree with the ganging up thing. It leaves a gash in your heart and makes you feel rejected. I have an older sister and a younger sister who are the best of friends while I’m just the sore thumb who’s all artistic and doesn’t give a crap about school and stuff. Being girls they act catty and take every opportunity to try to bring me down. I swear, they were probably twins in another life. Ive always felt I didn’t belong in my family also, but I agree with you. I found my own place for me with the arts. I found my niche and life started looking up. It was no longer about what other people thought of me and because of that shift in my thought process I changed for the better. I know what I need To do for myself and if those people can’t see that, they can kiss my a$$ :)
    Thanks for writing this. It’s nice to know someone else has the same feelings I do!

  2. I feel the same way. I have suffered through being the middle child. Yes, it sucked, but I came through and I completely agree with you. I am now 35, have a wife, 3 beautiful children, and I am quite happy. I have some advice for all those middle children out there. Remember, nobody can choose your fate but you.

  3. I feel the same…being badly bullied of the last year of my highschool is something that my heart just wont let me move on, pushing me and daring me to kill that bully (damn I am serious about it), I was so weak to let them treat me badly when I know I was much stronger than them. I just believe its a karma for me, cause before I transferred to that school where I became a loner, I bullied kids also. We just have to accept being a middle child, but come on we need to be stronger and not get affected.

    Its good to hear your living your life now to the fullest, and advice to you should keep up being active at your church. GOD BLESS 0:D

  4. I am glad you found your strength. I do believe your mom should have given you the same oppritunities that she provided to your sister and brother. That is just bad parenting when you do not try to make things even for all of your kids.

  5. I am glad you found your strength. I do believe your mom was not being a good parent and should have given you the oppritunities that were provided to your sister and brother.

  6. My older brother is 1 year older than me and my little brother was 3 years younger than me. They always used to gang up on me…

    I could complain and complain but all I’ll say is being the middle child sucked.

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