Call me princess: Why I am an only child and absolutely love it
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Like not using the right fork when at dinner in a fancy restaurant or wearing mismatched neon clothes, being an only child can get a bad rap.
Only children are often characterized as selfish, socially awkward hermits, waiting on the desolate island of self-centeredness amongst their imaginary admirers for any human contact.
Then, of course, there are the impassioned (albeit misguided) attempts to defend the only child; they must have grown up with refined thought from years of introspection and dinner table talk that revolved around adult matters, a precocious gem. They will always embrace time alone and find creative ways to entertain themselves, unlike their weaker counterparts: those with siblings.
An abridged life story
- Early years
When I was born, my parents threw out the rest of their life – work, friends and other relatives – aside to obsess over me. Their undivided attention had an unintended consequence; it increased dependency on them for every little thing. In fact, as of today, I still cannot tie my shoes without their help.
Additionally, from my years as a toddler, I was embroiled in heated discussions on politics, and the world water crisis. I believe my first words were, in fact, “sociopolitical.”
But, I must say the greatest advantage I have had from an early age is being able to point at anything, ranging from a Mercedes Benz to my own apartment (which I used to hold seminars on foreign affairs), and get it immediately. All the presents under the Christmas tree were mine and my birthday was treated like a religious holiday.
- Middle years
When my parents decided it was time to return to work, I was left in complete isolation.
I did not interact with friends, relatives, neighbors or have any general human contact. This is when I started dreaming up imaginary friends, perhaps the hallmark that only children are notorious for. I surrounded myself with these companions, hosting events ranging from elaborate dinner parties and casual birthday celebrations, except the presents bought were always mine.
I bossed these imaginary pals around to fulfill my every whim: they carried my throne, cleaned my tiara until it was shining and answered to my every demand.
Then, when I finally first met another human (around age 14), I immediately lunged for their hair and jumped around shouting gibberish, unsure how to express the many terrible years of loneliness.
- Present day
Despite the exaggerations in the tall tales I have presented thus far, the truth is: I’m still figuring it out. As a teenager, the effects of being an only child are significantly less distinguishable and slowly wearing off. As I start learning to drive, approaching college and a life away from home, I am forced into more social interactions.
I will never quite understand the world of sibling rivalries, trying to follow in the footsteps of an older sibling or trying to leave those same footsteps for a younger one and the special relationship that a brother/sister must bring into one’s life.
But, being an only child has enriched my life in countless other ways: I have grown closer than I ever imagined to my parents, have made friends who are practically siblings, learned to embrace quiet time alone and honestly never felt a lack of love from those I do have in my life.
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