The Appraising Race: How Both Despising & Embracing Competition Affected My Life

I am not a competitive person. That is not to say I somehow like losing or that I don’t enjoy winning. I just wish there was no such thing as competition whatsoever.

In elementary school, I was the type of kid who didn’t just stand in the corner during dodgeball, waiting for the ball to hit her. I would just deliberately move myself into the line of fire of whomever I thought wouldn’t hit me too hard, but still had good aim, and stay still until it was done. He or she would let out a “WHOOP!” of excitement and high-five somebody–which was fine, because I didn’t care whether or not they thought they had won. I just wanted to be out.

Granted, this gave me a deep-rooted fear of disappointing people, as my fellow 9-year-old teammates tended to turn into assholes as they blamed me and whomever else had been the “reason” they’d lost. All that nonexistent glory that they had been so close to was ruined by us. The shame! So I began “trying,” as I got older (i.e. pulling the same shit, but pretending it was unintentional better). Nevertheless, I would still feel terrible knowing other people were upset with me because they felt shafted due to my incompetence and apathy towards that incompetence.

Competitive people are upsetting to me for a variety of reasons, the first being that they are rarely competitive about rational things. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that some of these irrational things were actually important to having a “good future,” whatever that is, but because of a competitive best friend and a whole lot of underachieving on my part, I was clueless to this.

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    • Sam Fisher

      So glad you’re posting so much. You’re my new favorite!

    • S.

      Oh I like you SO, so much for writing this! It speaks to me.

      I’ve been too afraid of rejection to apply to law school or medical school–I have degrees and marks to get into either, but I’ve been too sure that there is NO way in hell any school would want a dummy like me. So I didn’t even apply.

      I went into engineering instead and now I am too afraid to talk to my professors or try too hard at anything. I’ve been terrified to apply to any on campus jobs too.

      Oh and I’m too scared of rejection to EVER let a guy know I like him. If they like me, I somehow find a way to mess things up by acting bitchy because I’m convinced that any guy is better off without me and my weird self destructive neuroses.

      It’s nice to read things like this so I can start to believe that trying isn’t the most horrifying thing in the world.