It’s traumatizing being the younger one

March 8, 2019 — by Alekhya Vadlakonda and Ananya Vadlakonda

As the younger two siblings in a family of three sisters, we both fully believe that we’ve had more than our fair share of struggles being the younger children. Although Ananya, who is a junior, was technically the youngest for only less than a year, she likes to say she’s experienced a number of pitfalls having an older sister, Amulya Vadlakonda, a Class of 2017 alumna.

It’s practically a given, an established fact, a donnée, that as the younger children, we’re stuck with the hand-me downs, our designated middle seat spot in the car and the easy target on our back for our older sister and cousins.

But since we’re so close in age, Ananya often likes to take credit for protecting Alekhya from all the downfalls of being the youngest child while Alekhya complains that Ananya’s whole existence as a barely older sibling is a flex that ends up dictating Alekhya’s life.

 

Alekhya:

Being technically the actual youngest sibling in the family, I’ve had to deal with the pressure of having two older sisters. And even though many people say being the youngest is the easiest, it’s most definitely not.

From pretty much the very beginning, I have had to deal with living under their shadows. My oldest sister, Amulya, gets most of the attention just for being the oldest.

Most of my baby pictures are me sitting on Amulya’s lap or Amulya teaching me play piano or Amulya sitting with me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all this sisterly love, but c’mon. Where did my spotlight go?

But that wasn’t supposed to last for long, with Amulya leaving for college a couple of years ago when I was 14 and opening up a vacancy in our family. Yet Ananya so quickly and happily snatched that role that no one had a chance to blink.

So this leaves Ananya with only one year of being the youngest child and two years of being the oldest child living in the house. The two to one ratio shows she has spent more time as the oldest sibling than as the youngest sibling, while I’m here strutting zero for zero: zero opportunities to be considered the oldest child, so therefore zero opportunities taken.

Always having been the youngest child, I’ve had to deal with certain struggles Amulya will never understand and Ananya will only slightly get.

Every day, I wake up hoping for a nice, peaceful house. But no, I wake up and the upstairs bathroom is already being used, so I’ve got to make the trek downstairs to the other bathroom. And that long trek of 15 stairs is not what I would like to start my day with, thank you very much.

 

Ananya:

Alekhya, you may think your petty morning struggles are the worst thing to ever happen to a sibling, but don’t even get me started on what it means to feel real trauma.

It was 2009. I sat on the ground in my living room with my mouth open in awe and sheer disappointment, which would soon turn into what felt like perpetual sadness. Our oldest sister Amulya, along with two of our older cousins, broke the news to me: I was born the day after Oreo Gold Mine had closed down. It was gone. Disappeared. Nothing left. I couldn’t even visit the site where it had supposedly been before it closed down because it had just vanished. Right off the map.

They would reminisce in front of me and talk about their time in this amusement park where they saw oreo statues. There were restaurants and ice cream shops where all the food was oreo flavored. The place seemed like oreo heaven to me, a 7 year old who was clearly obsessed with her oreos.

But I found out the cold, hard truth two years later. Apparently there was never such a thing as Oreo Gold Mine. Not here. Not anywhere. It was all just a fib by our wonderful cousins.

So Alekhya, this, my friend, is real childhood trauma. Trauma that I’ve been so careful and successful in not throwing it on to you. Trauma that shook me to my core, leaving me forever scarred. Trauma that beats out any other petty annoyance.

Take note, Alekhya.

But in all seriousness, regardless of being the younger siblings, our so called “trauma” and the petty struggles we like to call each other out on has only brought the three of us closer. High school as “Amulya’s sister” or “Ananya’s sister” might stick for the rest of Alekhya’s time here, and I may never fully recover from the Oreo Gold Mine incident. But whether it’s Amulya’s making up another amusement park to haunt me with or Alekhya’s continuing to get last dibs on the bathroom in the morning, we’re all just being the sisters we know and absolutely love.

And don’t worry Alekhya, you only got one more year before you can call the upstairs bathroom your own.

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