05 March 2009

Born into Rebellion

I was born to rebel but it wouldn't happen 'til later. I was a born follower in my birth family hierarchy. Follower was my niche, a survival skill and tool. I'm the youngest of three. My sister is the oldest. My Father called my older brother #1 son and I was #2 son, literally ala Charlie Chan. My dad didn't call my sister #1 child or #1 daughter.

Sulloway summarizes Born To Rebel,
Why are individuals from the same family often no more similar in personality than those from different families? Why, within the same family, do some children conform to authority, whereas others rebel? The family, it turns out, is not a "shared environment" but rather a set of niches that provide siblings with different outlooks.
So rebellion, Sulloway asserts, is not conforming to authority. It's not some bad-ass dude, wearing leather, driving his cycle. I conformed to authority but I've gone my own way.

My dad was the oldest in his family hierarchy, and my mom was the oldest in hers. As alphas my family members competed to tell me what to do. I'm a natural introvert and they all are/were natural extroverts. As the youngest of the three, "the baby", I didn't know anything. I felt beset upon and I learned to peel off.

When I recently told my sister I'd signed up on FB and had 60 friends she said, "Really!"
Hearing her surprise I said, "Tara . . . It's not a competition."
"It's not? Oh yes it is!"

I parried by not doing what my sister and brother did. It was easiest not to follow their examples and  mistakes. Making my path was singular, but because it was mine I couldn't pin a tail on their donkey if I screwed up.

The great equalizer amongst us was our parents proclaiming, "You're all equal." This put a band aid on the clear advantages in experience, maturity, development, and knowledge, older siblings have on younger. I've never grasped the we're all equal idea; never looked like that to me. My view as the tag-along never changed. And I was never a tag-along with my sister who was five years my senior. So being the third child was formative.

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