Weird Ways Being the Oldest Girl in a Somali Household Effects You (331/365)

You might not have known but I’m the eldest daughter in my family and I’m also Somali and I’ve already written a lot about how this impacted my life. The oldest girl is somehow the second mother, the reliable one, the chef, the cleaner and basically everything in between. You don’t really get the luxury of having a care free childhood because you become the carer, and it’s usually to a lot of children as we all know by know, Somali families are huge.

I could dedicate this post to more tales of how the extreme emotional and physical labour of being the oldest girl effects you, but that’s been done and honestly I don’t think I have the mental capacity to write about it again, so instead we’re going to run through all the weird ways it effects you later in life.. well not all, I can’t speak for everyone, I can only speak for myself.

  1. You become an ace when it comes to cooking, cleaning and every form of domestic multi task available.
  2. You look at people, adults, seniors and realise you’ve changed more nappies than them.. and that’s a weird realisation as a lot of them are actual parents.
  3. You either really want children, or really don’t – there’s no in between.
  4. You look back on your younger days and realise that you did a lot and it’s actually worrying that you were allowed to have an extreme level of responsibility before you even went through puberty.
  5. (University specific) You laugh at anyone who can’t cook/clean.
  6. You realise that you can compartmentalise your issues so well and get shit done when under a lot of stress, and I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.
  7. You have a harshness about you, this can soften over time, but there’s an edge and it comes from not having a childhood.
  8. Outside of the house you’ll either throw away all responsibility, or bring your ‘mother’ mode out in the wilderness.
  9. Your twenties are your childhood #sorrynotsorry.
  10. In my case, I shut my empathy in a cave, and it’s only brought out for people who in my eyes matter – I know it’s a result of being the eldest daughter but I’m not sure why.
  11. You become someone that people open up to – in my case when I saw this was becoming a thing I took steps to shut it down, so for anyone reading this point who knows me now, trust me it was a thing.
  12. You pay more attention to peoples personality, quirks and what aggravates them etc.
  13. You collect peoples red flags and analyse them based on the severity of them.
  14. You’ll probably have a weird sense of humour and honestly it’s great.
  15. You’ll either be super affectionate or not – again there’s no in between for this one.
  16. All of the emotional labour you performed as a child/teen will leave you a little bit emotionally stunted and you might bottle shit up, as a result when you do explode, you’ll have a massive one – please make sure whoever is around for this is your homie. A homie can make your emotional explosion into a fun and meaningful tale.

That’s all I have for now, I could probably write some more when I spend more than 5 minutes thinking about them, but alas it’s a busy day and this is a daily blog so you get what you get. πŸ™‚

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