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Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Middle Child Angst

July 8, 2009

The dreaded middle child syndrome. I have it… big time. I am smack in the
middle of two siblings and wear every cliche middle child characteristic like
a giant backpack.

A strong sense of not belonging is one of those traits and I have it
in spades. As a child, I can recall strongly identifying with Gonzo
(AKA The weirdo) from The Muppets. There is a particular song
performed by Gonzo in The Muppet Movie called “Going to go back there
This song truly encompasses the feeling of not quite belonging and the desire to
discover fellow misfits and weirdos, if you will. Gonzo’s song touched me on an emotional
level that I was not, nor will I ever be, comfortable with. My desire to be in total control of my emotions, particularly those
emotions with the potential of inducing a crying scenario of any sort,
is formidable. Growing up, my mission was always ‘hold it together’ and pretend
‘everything was bon.’ I became a champion peacemaker and conflict

My official title role as a sibling has always been that of the mediator. On
several occasions epic battles between my brother and sister were abated or at
least held at bay by my keen intercessor skills; often including the
world-renowned technique of yelling, “stop it!” in a terrified squeaky voice.
In addition to my issues of not belonging and apparent career choice of
negotiator, I also felt ignored and disregarded, my favorite song in
kindergarten was “I’m a person too”.

This heedlessness was painfully obvious when participating in any sort of
activity involving my father and sister. There was a tennis incident. My dad
had taken my sister and I out to play tennis, and by play, I mean he was on
one side of the net trading off between hitting the ball to my sister and then
to me. From my perspective, at some point the ball-to-older sister / ball-to
-younger sister ratio started to become grossly inequitable in the older
daughter’s favor. There we were on the court, ball after ball being hit my
sister’s way as I stood docile, stewing inside, while fighting to stifle my
emotions with every fiber of my being. At last, I had hit my limit. The rage
and frustration had welled up inside me beyond manageable levels. Without any
pause for thought, I swung my racket while wailing in the most booming voice I
could muster, “YOU NEVER HIT THE BALL TO ME!” At that very moment, to my
surprise, he had in fact hit the ball to me. My furious racket connected with
the unexpected ball, sending it sailing back towards my father, whose simple
reply to my ebullition was a calm, “Well, there you go.”

Over the years the majority of my middle child-esque traits have subsided
considerably, however, I do still blurt out the phrase, “You never hit the
ball to me” when deemed appropriate to the situation. I believe my middle
child disquietude can be best summed up in a paper I wrote at the age of seven
where I stated, “I love having a brother and sister, but sometimes I wish I
had more of the extensions.” I think we can all assume that by ‘extensions’ I
meant ‘attention’… and that I desperately needed an editor.

I leave you with a ditty that is less emotionally devastating to me than the
Gonzo tune (it doesn’t leave me sobbing uncontrollably in a corner), but still
sad because the band is no longer together. Dirty On Purpose, an indie/rock
band from Brooklyn had their final show on New Year’s Eve 2008. Though the
band members have parted ways, their music is still worth checking out,


11 Responses to “ Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Middle Child Angst ”

  1. pancake on July 9, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Bon! I feel like a rousing game of the Wii tennis can rectify a lot of emotional damage – you will be pleased to know that I have created a Dad avatar (aside, it’s HILARIOUS) and when you visit you can play against him to your hearts’ content while my Mii cheers you on from the sidelines!

  2. anncine on July 9, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Oh! I can’t wait to see wii Dad Almirall…though I fear nothing will ever take away the pain. On second thought, it might. I hope you included the giant yellow shooting glasses in his avatar creation.

  3. Sara on July 9, 2009 at 10:44 am

    You think you’ve got it ruff?! Try being the middle child of five! I shall never live up or down to the four of you…sigh.

  4. anncine on July 9, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    Ah…never fear. If people do not solely refer to you as ‘Nat’s sister’ then you already are one up on this bird.

  5. pancake on July 9, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Wii dad is indeed wearing yellow shooting glasses. I made Sara and Nat Mii’s as well…

  6. Skye on July 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Remind me not to take you out on the court with anyone else. I’d hate to trigger a flashback. Though, it could give new meaning to “sports psychology.”

    Lovely article doll.

  7. anne almirall on July 9, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks dollface. If you are fair & square…we should not have a problem *wink*.

  8. Sara on July 9, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    How about if your parents ONLY talk about your sibling…while you’re standing right next to them? How much does that count for?
    Plus, what the heck is a Mii???

  9. anncine on July 10, 2009 at 12:33 am

    That does sound like it blows…If I had parents, I could relate. Oh, the Mii is the character developed on the wii games…fun. If this comment is weird it is because I am drunk..if not, never mind.

  10. Casey S. on July 10, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    I’m the oldest but my nickname growing up was brown stain … so I think it balances out

  11. anncine on July 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Well you have progressed to bear claw…well done. I shall call you cookie pants.