John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

Writer's Block: Pecking Order

Are you an oldest, youngest, middle, or only child? How do you think it has influenced your personality?

I am the third of three; my brother is 12 years older than I am, and my sister is three years older than he is, so I'm sort of a strange hybrid of "third child" and "only child." I only have a few vague memories of when my sister was still in the house, and for various reasons my brother and I never really did much "filial bonding."

As for how it influenced my personality, it's obviously hard to say with any kind of objectivity. My parents were both in their late '40s and '50s and so didn't have a lot of energy for playing, my sister was gone and my brother was off doing stuff more appropriate to his age; we lived back on a wooded lot separated from the rest of the neighborhood, and so I spent the majority of my childhood free-time alone. I was also a depressive (undiagnosed) starting somewhere around age eight or so. So I became a major introvert, and even when I was around other kids I was an outcast.

Except I'm a highly sociable introvert and was often (but not always) the smartest person in the room — so when the class was broken up into groups for projects for example, everyone immediately turned to me and said, "Okay, tell us what to do."

The combination of socially-awkward introvert, depressive lack of self-esteem, and being the "go to guy," eventually instilled into me a somewhat imperious manner; there were plenty of times while I was trying to figure it all out that I pretty much came off as an arrogant bastard. Not because I thought I was above everyone else — far from it — but because people seemed to like me best when I was telling them what to do.

I like to think, and certainly hope, that I don't come off as an arrogant bastard any more. I'm not sure exactly when I changed — I'm sure laurie_robey was instrumental in it — but I've learned to couch my "telling people what to do" in terms of suggestions, observations, or Socratic questions; i.e., as an advisor or counselor rather than a commander. And even better, I've also learned that most of the time the wisest course is just to keep my big mouth shut.

Wow, this one got away from me, didn't it?

-The Gneech
Tags: deep thoughts, family, writer's block
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