Imber Levis

Month: January, 2013

On Siblings

I was an only child for a grand total of five years. Then in 1984, one year after having recovered from Diphtheria (do the maths I guess my parents were relieved that I survived and that led to to other things) my first sister plopped into this world. To my mind this was a surprise and shock all rolled into one.

At first MC adored me and was the proverbial little shadow. Copying me, following me everywhere and crying every time I went to school. I remember reading her stories everyday. Then after we moved from the Indian reservation we were living in to an industrial town her personality traits began to come out.

One was the refusal to take advice. Dressing her would take hours. Choosing clothes needed her full approval. Haircuts had to be to her liking and to this day she still has a very individualistic style of dress and how to do things.

Another thing which amazed me was the way she adapted to school. That was frightening. Within a couple of months she was writing, counting and speaking in French way too quickly. Considering that I was a student who struggled (especially maths ugh) I was wondering how she made education seem so easy.  Probably her first challenge occurred when she studied chemistry at sixth form level. Other than that she was one of those lucky people who can put in a minimum effort and come out with a collection of A++’s.

Generally it is the eldest who leads the path so that the other siblings follow but I was never really one to go out an socialise so I guess she was the first to go out on a Saturday night, argue with parents constantly and normal teenage stuff like that.

Now she’s been married for five years but still really hasn’t changed, maybe more responsibilities have obviously crept in but the dress sense and the super sociable aspect are in there .

Despite what I’ve said about MC being choosy, she never was very difficult to get along with. I always found her easy going and since there’s a five year difference between us we’ve hung out with each other more and she befriended everyone who in that clique at the time – and still talks to them regularly.  Taste-wise we’re very similar; we both like the same music, books and films but then when it comes to opinions on other matters, we tend to differ.

In 1988 my other sister arrived on the scene. This was another deceptive one.

In the beginning Y was quiet and very unassuming. She did what she was told and clung to my mother constantly. Probably the one and only weird thing she did as a kid was stuff potatoes up her nose.

Then when the teenage years started to crop up I noticed the timidness of yore was replaced by a certain confidence which verged on the authoritative. She started to tell people what to do and the right course of action to take. This increased more and more throughout the years until we would joke and call her the voice of reason. At one point one of my friends said that meeting her was like encountering the truth. She hasn’t let go of this aspect of her character but she’s channeling it very well due to her line of work, which involves giving advice and helping others in need.

With Y, my bond is totally different than to MC’s. Yvonne gives me advice on many things as she is more down to earth and practical and we do share the same views on things. However when it comes to music, books and some films (really it’s musicals – I hate them, she loves them) we do differ but it’s never affected us at all. She’s knows how to get along with people so she knows how to address me when I saying weird things.

As the eldest, I never really fought with my sisters and we are not polar opposites so there’s never been any type of tension.Communication between us three is still very good ( we have sibling nights, were we all meet and have a laugh) So yeah I’m happy that we do get along.

As I am a bit of a reserved person at times, I really do love my sisters for many many numerous reasons. Mainly because they’ve always heard me out when I’ve had problems, even if it’s silly. They’ve coped with my eccentricities but saying that they’ve tried to help me along the way and point out what I’m doing wrong (not that I follow it but I’m improving on that aspect) Another important thing is that no matter what any of us have done they do forget about it, well there’s the screaming and shouting, but that passes rather quickly.

In 2010 my whole family went off to Glasgow to visit my youngest sister, who was on work placement. It was a time when I missed them and I genuinely did feel their absence. It’s strange how one is ‘bound’ to a sibling and not having them there made me want to communicate with them even more. Maybe there are tough times but when you’ve traveled and shared so many things then it’s difficult not to have them around.


On Parents

Ever since I turned 14 I always had this great shame of my family, especially my father. In fact I am lying.  When I was a kid my dad used to force his interests on me. He liked cars, trucks , wood carving and Lego. I hated all that stuff (except Lego Technics, those made my eyes pop out) and liked playing with my plastic animals, reading and watching cartoons. So from an early age I never knew what to say to him. Most of the time he annoyed me as well, his loud way of talking and his love of war films.

As for my mother, when I hit the dreaded teen years, I became deeply embarrassed of her eccentricities. Both my sisters found her hilarious but I just wanted to shy away.

True they both helped me a lot as I was a child with severe dyscalculia and I was constantly bullied due to the fact that I wasn’t really interested in ‘normal’ things people my age did like sports. Plus later on during my o levels they both supported me. But I guess I chose to deliberately ignore that and keep on being embarrassed.

I would be as non committal as possible. I never yelled at them or treated them badly. I wasn’t even a problematic teenager ( maybe a super unambitious 20-year-old but how many people have career aspirations from the ages 20 – 25?) but I kept my distance even if I had to attend a gathering I would stay a long way behind them or when they would eat out I’d make sure not to go. Once as an effort I went to London with my dad in 2000 and our differences came out big time.

So when did this all disappear? I would say round about Christmas time this year. As always my gf helped me with this.

I started to realise that these two funny people I call my parents have cared and were continuously there for me from the day i saw daylight and it was rather silly of me to keep my distance. Perhaps it was my behaviour which was embarrassing Yes maybe what I am saying is a tired cliché but it is the truth and there’s no other way to put it.

I even went with my dad to the movies the other day. I didn’t mind it at all!