After watching Disney’s Encanto for the second time in two weeks, I still find myself relating more to Luisa Madrigal. Surface Pressure leaves me with no more tears left to cry simply because I am a first born and I can understand how it feels to shoulder all that pressure . . . it is HARD!
My mom was very strict with me growing up for many reasons. I was her first child and she was determined to raise me right. My mannerisms had to be top tier, grades gooder than good, house chores done without being asked. I had to be the best because she poured all her efforts in me to make sure of it. When she had my sister she became a softer version of herself and everything she had done with me was done to her in moderation.
Then all the big sister duties and responsibilities were bestowed upon me over night. Suddenly, I had to be a good example, a babysitter, second-mom, disciplinarian and undertake many other roles. I had to be the STRONG one. I love my little sister but to this day I constantly feel the pressure of these duties and responsibilities.
Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ’till you just go pop, whoa
Give it to your sister, your sister’s older
Give her all the heavy things we can’t shoulder
Who am I if I can’t run with the ball?Girl In Her Twenties
Luisa shoulders a lot both figuratively and literally, I won’t spoil the movie for you but I think Disney did a good job showing the struggles of a first born. We are often overlooked and underappreciated. There is this expectation to take care of your siblings and to an extend your family since success is expected from the eldest child.
I don’t think the family stops and asks themselves, “Can she/he handle this immense burden?” or “Is she/he okay, this can’t be easy for them?”. There is sometimes no consideration because it is expected of you to take and accept this unasked for role without complaint. It is passed from generation to generation and it doesn’t stop. This sounds like a rant but I had to say it!
Like Luisa said, “If I could shake the crushing weight of expectations would that free some room up for joy or relaxation, or simple pleasure?”. Shout out to all the first born in the family, you guys don’t get enough credit!