The top; A middle child

Dear you,

As you know, your mother was still in college when your older brother was born. Which led to her not being as active in his school life. When you was born, she fixed that and was present in your academic life, since she had found a stable job. She would sit with you while you did your homework and corrected your work until you understood. You were the pride and joy for being a top academic student in the family. Congratulations Mya, your first achievement, and I’m it felt good to be seen. Everyone makes jokes about middle kids having to fight for attention but I really think it’s true. You set goal after goal and only kept getting bigger because you liked the attention you was receiving. Another thing that you know is that your younger sister is an artist. She enjoyed seeing the bigger picture and relaxing while you needed controlled precise movements. She was everything a child should be. You knew your only real success were your good grades. Keeping that in mind, you did everything you could to stay on top. After a while I think we both realized coming home with good grades every year stopped being an achievement, but an expectation. The realization must have hit you the time your family and you were driving home from conferences and my parents were applauding your sister for getting her grades up, but were disappointed you had gotten a 9/10. This is probably what led to you finding new ways to push yourself. The harder you pushed myself, the harder your body retaliated. You found yourself staying up to all hours of the night trying to finish extra work, forgetting to eat, excluding yourself from all things that weren’t work. You had to take a break, remove yourself before you finally crashed and burned. You knew you had stretched yourself too thin, but at least you was the first to get all A’s, right? That achievement compensated for all the bad things you’d put yourself through right? I have also learned, you have horrible study habits and relied on yourself for almost everything. At the time I don’t think you saw a problem with that because you were still  the first to receive a scholarship in the family, and the first to get into a good private school. The question I find myself asking a lot is, was it worth it? Sacrificing your physical and mental health for good grades? No and yes, I wish you hadn’t put yourself through that but it was too late to unlearn something your parents absentmindedly drilled into your head. I think they are finally realizing the problem when they see the type of emotionally closed off and independent person you’ve become. We both know what I’m talking about, seeing we are that same toxic person. There are obviously parts we both must regret and others we don’t, but at least we accomplished every middle child dream, right? Even after knowing we had put ourselves in a toxic mindset that I’m still trying to get out of, sometimes I don’t hate how we turned out. Were determined, and will continue at something until I feel those few moments of bliss. That feeling once you receive your report card back and see the bright shiny A staring back at you. I wouldn’t recommend it, in fact I’m actively trying to keep my younger sister from developing this mindset, but it’s shaped the person I am and I can’t forget that and nor do I want to. The only advice I can give myself is to work on it. Everyone has things they wish they could change. For us, its this never ending cycle of feeling on top before crashing down. We need to find a balance that wont tire us out, and if we stay true to working on it, I’m sure we can do it.

Mya Soto- Depaul College Prep- DMSF