I never thought of myself as a competitive person because I saw how much more competitive many others were than me. I never cared to win much at sports or other “see who is best” events. Maybe it was because the effects of losing didn’t last long or I’d just rather not dive to the ground just to keep a ball in the air. Regardless, I did engaged in my own competitions from time to time, but they weren’t always so sportly structured.
Often my rivals were simply my friends in school. We were all trying our best to get good grades and we were all in the same boat when it came to intelligence, so it was often a close call. I only had to win by a few inches, not cram for a whole mile.
Other rivals were family members of a similar age vying for attention or adoration from the adults, which we were never actually starved for.
These competitions were constant throughout childhood. As I got older and became aware of these behaviors, I realized that the scars I was accumulating and causing were not longer a result of healthy competition. It was down right mean.
Though all of this I always thought of myself as a nice person. I was at heart a people pleaser to the point where I put other people’s wants above my own. But I wasn’t fully a nice person. I inflicted social pain on others when they didn’t even know there was a competition. I felt triumphant when I finally felt better than a specific person.
Then I looked back and realized that they were just being themselves, reacting to the world, looking for a friend. Here I was jealous of their natural advantages, needing to prove myself when my friend just stood there defeated by my behavior.
Its been over 10 years since I had this realization. I’ve since made new friends who were so beyond my own situation in life that I felt no need to compete. We are simply not comparable because we play life in completely different arenas with completely different rules. We can simply talk about life and try to understand each other without one-upping.
I still encounter my old rivals, often with compassion and guilt over having “beat” them when they were already too far down to fight. Others, I just avoid, having never settled the score.
The older I get, the more I rely on my memory for satisfaction. There is a mood that allows me to summon up other moods from my past and relive them. I have to be careful about calling up old baggage because some moods over power this special memory mood for the worse.
You feel confident when in certain situations, but when specific people are around you feel the need to compete for the friendship. Your “friend” encourages this by naturally not making social concessions/offering agreed upon reassurance towards you. When confronted your friend acts like they didn’t notice because they do it on purpose as their way of controlling you. Confused you assume it is just in your mind, so you try to ignore it. It happens again when the “better” friend is around.
Suddenly you realize that there is a hierarchy and the needs of the friends higher on the list are met before yours. Often the needs of higher friends is that your “friend” be cold to their lower friends. This modern day Machiavellianism is how friends exert dominance other each other for their own negative, controlling self indulgence.
My words are ink blots, designed to play upon the very essence of what my readers want to hear. Sadly, I have neither granted wisdom beyond what they already knew, nor I have provided them with insight beyond what pieces they had already put together. Whatever it is that they seek they will not find here. But what of me you ask? What do I see in it all? in every word I see his bright blue eyes peering down at me in first sights spark, I feel his arms toss me into the sky only to catch me in his bed of roses, I hear his foreign voice resonate through my mind in a harsh language spoken so sweet, I see that smile that was only for me that night he took me to watch the Emerald City’s lights, and I feel my heart start pounding again like it did when he put his palm to my chest and astonishingly said, “you have a pulse.” In the divine, star-crossed madness of it all, I have to catch my breath and smile because I can still feel him pulsing through my veins.
I envision that in my old age, after all the major phases of life have passed, I’ll often ponder back on my old emotions. I’ll spend time remembering how long it took me to classify and name them all and how hard it was to tame them to the point that I can appear in public without incident. I’m sure by then they will sit in my mental tool box as neatly arranged packages, patiently waiting until I decide which ones I need to use for life’s, now commonplace, occurrences. I imagine that by then they will know how to take their turn and so very few of them will take me by surprise. Even if I am by chance caught off guard, I will have already developed a technique for being caught off guard and so will not cause anyone alarm. Thus all this time I now spend starring endlessly at my ceiling, pondering what the hell just happened, will eventually be spent on more practical tasks. Though I am sure I will miss these oh so wild states of fits and passion that currently embarrass and haunt me. I will probably yearn to encounter new pieces of myself and wish that it all wasn’t so well organized….
In my latest lull, I flashed through my book of stars at light speed, taking note of how neatly organized the constellations finally looked as I blew by. Along the way, I danced a few steps along the edges of the brightest shapes and I couldn’t help but to try in vain, just once more, to grasp the bulbs that have been burning bright for perhaps too long. All that I loved but sadly lost and hated but was forced to find still radiate despite my efforts to smolder them with crushing fingers over my palms. Panic is my only savior. With panic at my side I am at once reminded not to linger too long in memory’s gaze, not to soak up all that I can neither touch again nor fix. With Panic I become bold and brave enough to turn away from Passion’s siren call. But Panic is fleeting, he is only there to pull me away, back into the safety of the orderly world. And there I always end up, stranded in the emptiness of his departure, half happy to have gotten out with my emotions intact, half tempted to go back and somehow recreate all those moments of the past where I really felt alive.
I was just sitting, internalized, on my bed curled up in a ball, swaying ever so slightly, meditating my hardest to remember where I put my GMAT score report so I can finish another part of my Grad School Application. Completely stumped, my mind skipped like a rock over the water of other thoughts that I figured might trigger the location of the report paper. Nonetheless the rock fell into the water on a particular topic of thought that I often revisit when I’m in a frustrated internal state and need a smile.
The specific moment of the thought-topic was of no surprise to me… the memory consisted of me in a different, yet sorta similar, sitting pose, gazing intently at the living image in front of me, for how long, I do not know… it seemed like an eternity, yet probably only a few seconds. In that memory I swayed, eyes fixed, ever so slightly as well, but as a fidget, rather than habit, from an over bubbling rush of a feeling that I knew must exist yet honestly had never expected to experience.
At that point I was reliving it again, feeling the flash behind my eyes as the bright blue pierced into me, the intent rush of amazement, then came the realization that it was too late, it took me by surprise, I didn’t intend to fall in love like this – in this way, I should never have gotten myself in this situation and let this happen, it’s not safe. I must have let my guard down somewhere, in sometime, but it was too late for that and yet oh so soon all at the same time. Maybe I put that paper in my night stand. No, not there either. Thank god for The Giver.