Monday, January 07, 2013

The New Model

Staying in the limelight is impossible especially when there's always something brighter, newer and possibly better coming just around the corner.

Imagine having one you'll always have to deal with for the rest of your life. Sibling rivalry usually starts right after, - or sometimes even before - the arrival of the second child. And it gets so much worse when the second child is not only younger and cuter, but so much more lovable in his own way.

So I don't doubt that my poor niece Chatty Carmen does feel a bit out of place sometimes. For someone as reserved as Carmen, it must be doubly hard to compete with a kid brother who's sweet, funny and so lovingly affectionate that everyone - even complete strangers - automatically warms to him.

I'm a second child as well but I totally understand how Carmen feels. There were times growing up when I felt overshadowed by the overwhelming shadow cast by my older brother. Not only the first grandchild but also the first grandson as well so you can imagine what a big deal that was. As the eldest in our generation, my astonishingly meritorious brother was held up as the shining paragon for the rest of us to follow - while I was usually the... forgotten kid brother unworthy of further attention.

Oops, what was his name again?

Shit, even my dog doesn't remember my name!

Got even more lost in the crowd once my other louder cousins came into the picture. Think until lately my grandmother probably remembered me only as the second fellow after my brother! Like in any traditionally conservative Chinese family, what comes first matters most while the rest are just insignificant also-rans.

It was alright for me since I had my very own spotlight at school and with my friends, so the brief moment in the surpassing shadow was still relatively manageable. And with my nascent homosexuality still largely clandestine back then, it seemed better not to have too much familial attention focused on me.

Just hope my niece Carmen manages to find a way to make peace with the situation!


matt said...

i'm glad carmen still has an uncle looking out for her. she does make frequent appearances in your blog. i hope the best for her as well!

savante said...

So do I! Thanks, matt.