Aunty Babblings: On Masks 0 750

I am told that I babble and it has gotten worse with the pandemic and as I age! I figured that instead of my verbal babble maybe putting down these confused, excited thoughts may have a point. After all baby babbles turn to language at some point. 

The pandemic and with no work to boot gave me a lot of time to question the goings on in the world. These thoughts are not based on research but just an Aunty Babbling.

This babbling aunty rambles along on walks here and there every day. It’s really a great way to observe life and people who are living through a pandemic that just doesn’t seem to go away. I meet other regular walkers, and most if not all of them observe social distancing and if they don’t, I cross to the other side of the road or move a few meters away. 

Some wear masks and others don’t. I wear the mask as I am a senior citizen with comorbidities, because I am not taking any chances that may put me or the other at risk. Comorbidities by the way means a person with two or more diseases. A word I had to look up in the dictionary when I registered for the vaccination programme. 

Hmmm … may have been simpler to say “Tick here if you have two or more diseases”.  I wonder how many people especially the elderly etc. could Google it!

Coming back to walks and masks I’ve noticed over the past year or so that people throw their masks away wherever they like: on the road, along the grassy sidewalk, in common areas … wherever it is convenient to them. Surely, we can do better than this.

The interesting thing about these masks that are thrown away is that some are folded, fastened with the ear loops and then dumped. My question is, if we can go to all that trouble, surely, we can carry a bag, put it in there and dispose of it in a trash bin on the street or at home. 

The point here is that once again we’ve missed the point. 

Could it be that the global pandemic is here for us to learn the lesson of consideration for one another?

Yes, we should and must keep ourselves safe but we should consider the people who have to pick up after us. Are we putting them at risk? The point is that this whole virus thing is a two-way responsibility.

I keep myself safe, and you keep yourself safe and everyone can be safe. Remember the virus is blind to our man-made differences … all it takes are a few droplets from a sneeze or a cough for the virus to enter our body. Virus or no virus, there still remains the issue of littering.

I’ve seen blue, black, pink lavender and designed masks strewn all over the place and maybe it’s time to wear the mask knowing the task that is required of us. 

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Being The Eldest 0 834

A love letter to the older siblings who always felt they fell short

In my family, I am the oldest of just two, with there being a fourteen-month age gap between myself and my younger sister. We had an incredible childhood filled with laughter and fun, our parents were kind and present, pretty much all you need as children. For most of my childhood and adolescents, I was constantly reminded of the fact that I was the eldest. I had to set an example for my younger counterpart in addition to always having her back. It wasn’t something that particularly bothered me, it was just the requirements that came with the job.

Only when I was in my twenties did I realise how much this older sibling narrative had weighed heavy on my shoulders. It was a subtle pressure that had been around my whole life and it always made me feel like I had to be strides forward of my younger sibling – I had to be more mature, more put together and have things more figured out in order to be the best at the job I was born into. It had never occurred to me that having this pressure on me, and the expectations that came with it from both my parents and my sibling were almost unfair. Because the fact is, I’m only just over a year older than my sibling. 

Yes, that makes a difference when you’re three years old vs two years old, but not so much when you’re nineteen vs twenty. This standard that I had been held to, especially by my younger sibling had strained our relationship because it was so difficult for me to live up to. She wanted me to be the perfect older sister who had the patience and advice to aid her growth. She wanted me to be the storybook big sis and I always fell short. I felt like I was never mature enough and never knew what the right thing to say was. I wasn’t like the elder siblings you see in movies who are akin to a second mother. I was equally as unfinished as my sibling.

It’s hard for me to mediate this because I understand where she comes from. She too believed the narrative of what having an older sister was supposed to mean. She too didn’t realise that the expectations she put on me were not exactly fair because I wasn’t a sibling who was years older than her with years of experiences to share. I was merely a year ahead. She had friends who were my age, and I had friends who were hers. But we didn’t see those friends the way we saw each other, I saw her as my baby sister and she saw me as her big sister – not people who were just a year apart. 

Even now as adults, this narrative and the experiences that came with it can be tough to manage. I know my sibling hasn’t forgiven me for all my shortcomings growing up and that’s okay. I can understand that those things are harder to let go of because it was something she really believed in and wanted. I sit now at twenty-five and feel like I can finally be the older sibling I wish I could’ve been when I was growing up. I understand myself better and have had the right experiences to be there for her. 

It’s not easy being the eldest, you’re the guinea pig to the parenting style of your mother and father and you’re the example to your siblings. However, I do believe that if you are able to get past the resentment which can come from being the eldest and understand that both parents and siblings are following pre-ordained societal narratives on what you ought to be, you can redefine what it means to be the big brother or sister. You forgive yourself for where you fell short and understand that there is a lifetime to make up for those years where maybe you weren’t ready to step into the role. 

Life is long and if you’re lucky, you can cultivate a relationship with your sibling that is rooted in a deeper understanding of one another. Letting go of the hurt that comes with not being the ideal version of younger, middle or older siblings and accepting one another as they are. Easier said than done because ain’t no one that can push our buttons the way our siblings can. Nonetheless, I believe that if you genuinely want to, these relationships are worth the tears, anger and forgiveness. And maybe then the realisation will come that being the eldest sibling is one of the best jobs you’ve had the privilege of being born into.

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