On Being The Oldest

[Written senior year of college, 2015]

Being an oldest child means I’m the kid everyone practices on, from screw ups to learning their style of parent, grand parenting, etc. In my family, I’m the one every one else get’s to screw up on except for myself.

Perfection has been expected of me since I was born, to be an example and keep an eye on the younger ones. The ideal of perfection was modeled to me by my parents, especially dad because he saw himself as always right, always perfect, holding logic above emotion. I quickly learned that if I wanted to be taken seriously, I couldn’t talk about how I felt but what I knew, logically. Emotions were shoved aside in fear and an effort be heard. I was afraid if I tried to express my feelings without logic or reason I would be hushed and told my thoughts were invalid. I was protective of my brother and cousins, trying to put them and their emotions before myself.

I almost had sex the other night and, in a confused state between, “I can’t do this,” and “He’s in pain,” I didn’t. The first guy I sexually experimented with emotionally abused me. Intentional or not, statements of, “I won’t love you if you get fat,” and “Yeah, you should go to the gym because you could lose a few pounds,” really did a number on me. While I couldn’t stand what he was saying to me, I could barely stand the idea of having to leave the relationship. “Who would actually love me if I told them what I’ve done with him,” I wondered. In some strange way I thought he cared about me. From the corners of my mind came the strains of the practiced logic that had become my friend, reminding me that the relationship I was in was no relationship at all if I was scared of the other person and couldn’t trust them. The love I believed in didn’t look like someone threatening me with love or the lack of it because of my body weight. The relationship ended with me getting blamed as the American who came to his country to screw around with him to just go home and break his heart. I lived up to his expectations of being a dumb, jerk American and for once, I was ok with being the asshole because I wasn’t in an abusive relationship anymore.

Just because I was free of the guy didn’t mean I was free of the emotional baggage I’d picked up along the way. What we had done together, coupled with the sexual expectations of my religious culture meant I didn’t know how to define what happened. I had taken my clothes off in front of a boy and he’d taken his off. We’d laid together in bed and he’d touched me in places I’d always believed were only reserved for the person I would eventually marry. A big reason for how I got to that point was that I wanted someone to love me and I thought I had to do that for him to stay around.

I’ve since accepted what happened and have grown frustrated with what I’ve learned about sex. I tried to lookup what other Christian people my age had said about sex but I couldn’t find anything and it’s not an easy topic to discuss. More recently, I almost had sex with someone because he told me I was beautiful, that he loved my body, and because I felt bad for turning him on so much. One night at vespers, Chaplin Jose discussed how some people have a line that, if crossed, they know there is no God. While I don’t think I have that line, I’ve been very confused because I can’t seem to sense God. I know He’s there and He loves me, I’m simply at a loss because I’ve asked multiple times for Him to show me where to go and there’s been nothing. I don’t seem closer to finding answers than I was a month or a year ago.

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