Sunday, August 28, 2011

Who I am as Sister

     I have this whole list of blog topics that I have been compiling for quite some time now. It began when I came across this website about women and sports. I thought to myself, "I'm a woman and I enjoy sports." So when I read a call to action on the website asking for contributors on the topic of a woman's point of view in sports, I started thinking of what my response would be.
     This was just over six months ago and since then I started a list of blog topics on my handy-dandy smart phone. What is the first topic, you ask? The top of my list is the ever-so-tantalizing topic of who I am. Now, I don't mean this in the existential who-am-I-in-relation-to-the-universe type of who I am. I mean who I am in relation to other people. I believe that two things define a person: choices and relationships. Also, I just want to give some background so when the random topics pop up (oh, there will most certainly be random topics) readers wont be caught off guard. So here goes...

I am sister, daughter, friend and colleague. I am sister to three brothers, two sisters-in-law, and a best friend whose relationship qualifies more as family than friend.

     Growing up with three brothers, I have found, explains quite a bit about me...but not everything. Because a single element of one's upbringing does not define the entirety of who one is. However this element of my upbringing has resulted in the following qualities (includes but is not limited to): competitiveness, stubbornness, flexibility, awareness, shyness, and accepting. I grew up with three built-in best friends and playmates who were, due to the awesome relationship that is the brother-sister bond, always more than willing to stop playing with me if I got too whiny and girly. Competitiveness was needed to match their play habits and stubbornness to prove that I could do anything they could.
     As the middle child people-pleaser, I became hyper-aware of how my brothers and others around me were feeling. I could tell if my oldest brother was about to have a temper tantrum. I could tell what my little brother wanted even before he could talk. I could tell when my middle brother had decided it was time to wrestle.
     Somehow this hyper-awareness trait lends itself to another about which I am less than thrilled: I am shy. Now, I am getting better at this but at times I can have shyness flare-ups that are so debilitating that I start to tear up and I have to leave a room immediately for fear of further or future humiliation. I find myself not being aware of what others are feeling but assuming the worst about what they are feeling. I'll be at a party talking to a couple of people and start thinking that I am inconveniencing them with my presence. That's a really healthy level of self-esteem, right? I just can't help it sometimes. I'll often have something to contribute to a conversation but refrain from saying it out loud for fear of overpowering the conversation. I know. I'm working on it.
     Oddly enough, this hyper-awareness trait helped me develop a personality trait of which I am particularly proud. I can get along with just about anybody. Now this doesn't mean that I am one of those super-social butterflies who can start a conversation and become instant friends with the odd German girl in the top bunk of our shared bunk bed in the hostel in Florence (see example in previous paragraph). This simply means that I learn what makes people tick and instead of butting heads with them, I accept, adapt, and can work with them if necessary.
     As every other person in this world, I grow and learn from relationships I form throughout life. I have learned to accept and love myself (although we never stop trying to improve what we think needs improvement).

     Anyway, more to come soon...remember I have a list!

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