Perks of Having a More Successful Older Sibling

“Sister is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.” –Margaret Mead 

They say the youngest child is the luckiest child in a family. I am not sure I can say that with the deepest conviction. Maybe it’s because in our family, there’s only my elder sister and me. That makes me the “younger” child and not the “youngest.” That does not make me the middle child either so I do not think I have the right to say I feel the sufferings of a middle child. Let’s just settle on being the last kid.

Growing up, I always felt like I was my sister’s shadow. It was like my whole being was attached to my sister’s. As a kid, I remember Mom buying two sets of the same clothes (some exactly the same or some in the same style but in a different color) for me and my sister to wear. Lots of people thought we were twins with my sister having the advantage of being the taller one. That was when our sizes were not too far apart yet because when my sister eventually grew at a much faster rate, we stopped wearing similar clothing. That is, she got to wear new clothes while I wore her old ones.

Hand-me-downs. When I was younger, I really felt bad about always having to use stuff my sister outgrew or got bored with already. I felt so undeserving of being spent on. It wasn’t until I started working that I truly learned the value of money and learned to see the positive side of hand-me-downs.

I recently went to Hong Kong and my sister wanted to buy a new Fitbit watch. She wanted the one that had a heart rate monitor because her Fitbit Alta did not have that feature. Guess who goes back to Manila with a Fitbit on her wrist? Uh-huh. You guessed it!

I remember all the other stuff that I my sister passed on to me every time she bought a newer version or model for herself. The first was her iPhone 4s, then the iPhone 5c in that bright pink color, then her iPhone 5s. Yeah, my sister is quite the Apple fan. I’m waiting for her to buy herself a new Macbook laptop so I can get my hands on her Macbook Air that she bought several years ago.

Being given hand-me-downs meant not having to buy expensive stuff for myself. Since I was not so particular about always having the latest model of phones, I was contented with her hand-me-downs even if that meant having the phone on life support (frequent plugging to the power bank) a year later. I used to be pissed about using stuff she already used but these days, when she asks me if I would like one of her old stuff because she’s planning on getting herself a new one, I highly encourage her to make the new purchase. I dare not question her choices at all (insert an rotfl emoji here).

Oh how things and priorities change when you reach adulthood…img_9159

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Excited for: My Sister’s Visit to the Philippines!

I cannot count the times my sister and I made sacrifices for one another. I guess that’s sisterhood. You give and you take.

My sister has always been my rock. She was the stronger sister, the one I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. And while there were moments I felt like she was the favorite child, I knew that she was only doing the best she could in everything she did. She had the responsibility of setting the best example for me and that was not an easy task as well.

My sister is not the affectionate type. But, from time to time, she will become malambing (affectionate; touchy-feely) and hug me like I was a life-size stuffed toy. But more often than not, she expresses her lambing (affection) in other ways like buying me make-up or treating me to eat out or just getting me lots and lots of stuff. Yeah, she’s the type to shower people she loves with gifts.

She used to help me stand and walk. But a few years back, she had two knee surgeries that had her needing help to get around. The first surgery was worse. She could not walk at all for months. I quit my job and spent five months helping care for her. Suddenly, the roles were switched.

But, all of that paid off and seeing how she’s now based in Hong Kong and is always travelling makes me feel like it was not a sacrifice on my part. It was an investment. And that period showed me how much my sister tried to remain strong for me and mom during our most trying times. It made me understand her so much more.

I can’t wait to see her again!

Without A Trace, Well, Almost…

“You sometimes think you want to disappear, but all you really want is to be found.” -Kid Cudi

I dislike wearing heels to work. My pigeon-toed feet cannot bear it so I wear flats. In my previous workplace, it was usually fine. That was, until the new group head came.

The group head was strict about our attires and I have seen more than a few instances that she called someone’s attention for what they wore. Wearing heels for women is one of the things she looked at.

Even more unfortunately for me, her office was beside the workstation of my boss. And one fateful day, my boss asked me to go to his station. Midway, I stopped in my tracks because the group head just arrived and was talking to some people outside the cubicle of my boss. I hurried back to change into my heels that I kept in my pedestal cabinet. In my haste, as soon as I wore my heels, I rushed to go to my boss without fixing my flats under my workstation.

Joan, who happened to be my teammate and very close friend too, turned to my station, hoping to ask me something. But, all she saw was my phone on my desk and my shoes on the floor. She did not know about my changing into heels and going to our boss. Finding it funny, she took a snap of my workstation and sent it to our group chat.

It was like she’s looking for me with Mark laughing, saying that my shoes were the only trace I left behind.

I laughed when I saw the group chat after I got back. For the entire day, we pretended to our friends on fieldwork that I went missing. I did not answer calls and messages. I enjoyed “disappearing” for one day.

For so many years, I wanted for a day when I can disappear. To shut the noise of the world away so I can be at peace. To breathe. Then to scream out all the pain I have kept inside from all the bullying I experienced, the dysfunctional relationship with my dad, the sometimes-empty-sometimes-full-of-guilt feelings I had, and from years of feeling never enough. I wanted so badly to disappear.

And as incomplete and as far from my expectations my “disappearance” was, it felt good when I would hear from time to time that our friends were “checking up” on me, asking if I “returned” already. I would get messages from them on my phone telling me to be back already, maybe because they had some stuff to ask me. Regardless, they didn’t just shrug at our joke, not caring what was up or what was going on.

When I “returned,” I told them what happened and we laughed about it. It was a silly day but it meant a lot to me.

Truly, I have found friends I can be myself with. These are the friends who will bother to find out how I was doing or if I needed anything. I have seen these people in action when one of our friends was in great need. These are real, dependable people I have come to really love and I am so glad that I found them.