Thursday, May 25, 2017

Side Affects

People constantly ask me why I made the life choices that got me where I am. Why did I travel Europe? Why did I move across the country to Doylestown? To be honest with you even I didn't really know why until recently.

As the youngest child there are certain inalienable rights I should have been granted. According to the birth order theory, the babies of the family "just want to have a good time...they have the potential to be spoiled or babied to the point of helplessness." Not only is this a scientifically proven theory, most adults I came across reiterated these facts and insisted they must apply to me. But then there were others who saw my sister first and made sure to tell me to get out of the way.  

I remember crying in the corner of the living room at my eighth birthday because my sisters were stealing all of the attention on my birthday. They were dressed as clowns so that was sort of the point but as a kid that grew up being told "don't take the spotlight - this day isn't about you" I wanted at least my birthday to be about me. I grew up competing for the spotlight from someone that gets awards for showing up to bowling tournaments. Absolutely nothing I did was going to be worthy enough.

 It is not my job to show the world how to interact with the special needs community. That is not why I was born. I am not an extension of my sister - a fact that took me sixteen years to learn. Everyone that isn't a Sibling congratulates me on this honor of being born into a family with someone with a disability. Every Sibling I've spoken to says this is the greatest battle: competing against someone that cannot lose. Being told a picture would look better with the sibling in it. Being ignored until something that involves the Sibling is discussed.

Listen, its no wonder I act the way that I act and do the things I've done. I've been called "adventurous" and "willing to lose a limb if it makes a good story". I thought it made me exciting and noteworthy. I hoped it did, anyway. And I was right. People cared when I flew to foreign places by myself, even if I was knee deep in an eating disorder that left me nearly unconscious on an abandoned Parisan street. At least the pictures were nice.

So maybe I moved across the country for a good story. It's closer to Europe and I spend a great deal of time in New York City and Philadelphia. Or maybe I moved to get away. I get to be selfish out here. I don't have to tell people I'm apart of this toxic community. 

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