Smack Dab in the Middle


I was reading a blog post the other day from a girl with a background not all that different from mine. Like me, she is a blogger and recently published her first novel. But unlike me, she has thousands of followers. And unlike me, she has a best-selling book. And unlike me, her style is very provocative. Not only her tone, but the things she chooses to write about. To be honest I find some of her posts offensive. And I feel like much of what she writes about is solely for shock value. But it seems that these are the sorts of topics people want to read about. As a middle child, I’ve always played it, well, in the middle. I like the safe choice, the one that’s not going to ruffle any feathers.

So it got me to thinking: am I doomed for a life of mediocrity?

I’ve always been comfortable in the middle. I like driving in the middle lane. If I’m faced with three choices I’ll usually pick the one in the middle. It seems like the best choice—not the cheapest option but it won’t break the bank either. Call it middle child syndrome, but I’m a people-pleasing peacemaker.

And if I think about society and celebrities today, it’s not the peacemakers who are making the headlines. Britney, Miley, Kimye. They are grabbing headlines because they like to push the envelope. I’d like to push the envelope, but I just don’t see myself shaving my head or twerking or posting selfies that showoff my ability to balance objects on any sort of body part. Frankly I’m just not that talented. Even if I was, I wouldn’t do it because it’s not who I am. As a writer I think one of the most important things is to be true to yourself. So as much as I’d like to have the same sort of success she has, I don’t want that success to come with a price. Because I’m not going to push the envelope simply to get noticed.

I’m sticking with the middle, which somehow has gotten a bad rap. Middle seats, middle age, the middle of nowhere and middle fingers are bad. But nothing beats the middle of a hostess cupcake, a tootsie pop, a crème filled oreo cookie, or the core of a good tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Of course, it always comes down to chocolate. 🙂 But beyond food, if I think about the middle, it can be best of both worlds. As a middle child I got to be the younger AND older sibling. And middle means a cozy place in-between. Balance. Comfort. Safety. When I think about what I want my life to be like, it’s these qualities that come to mind. Not drama, fame, or controversy. While the middle may not be as optimistic as the beginning, or as fulfilling as the end, it’s the part that’s still unwritten.

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