I’m not afraid of competition.
In fact, I embrace competition with all my heart and it fuels my instinct of fighting to the last drop of my blood. It brings the best out of me, and makes me work harder.
I remember my first competition I had was against my maternal cousins. Coming from not-so-financially-fortunate family, my dad instilled in me this competitive instinct of me against my rich spoiled maternal cousins. He said that although our family was not able financially, it didn’t mean that we were not good. They could beat us in terms of money, but never let them beat me in education. And yes, never did they. I was the only one among my grandmother’s children who had a Master degree, and from an overseas university.
I can’t remember my next competition, but I’m sure there is a string of them. Getting the first or second place rank in elementary school. Getting into an academically excellent high schools. Winning a boy/girl scout survival competition. Getting the highest GPA during college graduation. Beating 5,000 applicants for a scholarship. Being selected as one of only 11 scholarship recipients worldwide to attend world conference.
Academic, talent-related competition is not a problem for me. I will jump into the competition with all my might, and more often win the competition.
Except for love.
I am so afraid, terrified of love competition. I lost in my first competition of love and the shadow of this past trauma lasts very, very long. He was geeky, smart, quiet; all qualities that I like in a guy. I approached him, befriended him, to the level that he wrote in one of the notes he sent me that I was the closest one to him. I was thrilled to read the note, until one day I found that my best friend was interested in him romantically.
Did I fight? Did I compete? The dilemma was so acute for a 17 year old girl. On one hand, I adored him tremendously and as a teenager it was normal that I wanted to have a boyfriend so badly. On the other hand, this girl was my best friend that I cared so much and I didn’t want to break her heart.
And I decided to withdraw myself from the competition, and withdrawing myself from him, avoiding him bit by bit, with my heart torn into pieces.
Until one day, he summoned me to his house, and lo-and-behold there she was with him. He told me straight forward that he decided to choose her. Oh, that feeling of pain when your heart was like stabbed centimeter by centimeter!
Did I cry? No. Not in front of them. No way! Instead, I asked for a pen and piece of paper, wrote him a poem, and left them. I remember pedaling my bike slowly, under the rain, at dusk, and tears running down my cheeks.
Years after that, whenever I was interested in a guy, I would become very close to the guy, to the level that they said I was the only one who could understand them, someone who could talk to them about many things that girls usually couldn’t converse, only to find at the end that I was merely a best friend material or they told me about another girl that they had a crush.
And then, that first trauma haunted again, mocked again, and I succumbed to this feeling of being rejected, that no matter how witty, attentive, humorous I was, I was not worthy of being accepted as a girl friend. I would compare myself to the girl, and at the end always came into a conclusion that I was not beautiful enough, not feminine enough, too smart that the guy was terrified of being inferior against me. And instead of fighting and saying to the guy that I was worthy of their love, I would pretend to smile and gave them all my assistance to get the girl, even if that meant that I had to become the matchmaker, going back and forth from the guy to the girl, until they became a couple.
Did I get any proposals of being a girl friend? Yes, I did. Not so many. But every time this happened, I always asked, why me? What’s so good in me that they picked me? I couldn’t believe that they actually took an interest in me and I kept looking for confirmation for their love that even a slight rejection, no matter how simple and silly it was, crushed me to bits and pieces.
In love, I was (and am) a candle, burning to the very last to make the person I love happy. It got so bad, that I was sacrificing who I was, my core of being a person, the Neny that was so smart, critical, open-minded, tolerant, caring, ambitious, competitive was lost in love. I was afraid to argue to the person whom I love because I didn’t want to lose him. I was willing to do things that I silently disagreed. I was quiet and never raised any objections, even to verbal abuses and threats, so he would stay in the relationship.
Never again. I broke the spell. I broke the abusive relationship. I was free, and boy, I am much, much happier. I became the person who truly I am.
Yet, sometimes, the trauma creeps in, and every time there is a competition of love, when another girl takes interest on my guy, I still sometimes take pity on the girl and suggest my guy to pay more attention to the girl. I know, I know, this is absurd. How can you make the guy who is in love with you to take interest in another girl?
Hey, I’m working on it! Being more mature, I learn to see myself as someone with so many excellent qualities that a guy will take interest and even I can make a guy interested in me to the level that he will fall head over heels over me and decides that I’m the one. I grow that confidence not only in academic, talent-related competition, but also in romance department.
Now I can easily say to any girls that fight so hard to get my guy’s attention, “Bring the competition on and I’ll burn your armors to ashes. My arsenal of wits, charms, humor, candor, maturity and generosity will leave you trembling and weeping. May the best person win! But you knew, I’m the winner already, didn’t you?”
Yeah, I’m that good. Yeah, it is my high quality that makes him fall for me. You’d better get out of my way. The guy is mine. You’re only having a piece of his time and attention because I allow you to. Never, ever forget that or you’re sure to fail miserably, wounded, broken-hearted, crushed to bits and pieces.