New Orientation: A Competition Junkie Discovers The Pleasure of Love & Connection

June 2012

“Why are you crying?”

“It’s Friday.”

“So?”

“So? What do you mean ‘so’? It’s Friday. Hello? Results come out on Friday.”

“Is this about Yeah Write?”

“What do you think?”

“I assume you didn’t do well on the grid?”

“Grid? It’s not just a grid. It’s a writing contest. I lost. I suck.  I can’t do this. Everyone hates me.”

“Maybe you should take a week off. Get some perspective.”

“I have perspective. The perspective is that I am not very good at this.”

“If you say so. Can I just point out that you get really upset on Fridays? I’m wondering if it’s worth it.”

“Next week I will do better.”

“Is that code for ‘next week I’ll win’? Because you might not and then you’ll be crying again. And we’ll be having this conversation.”

“And?”

“So, maybe if you take a week off you will be less upset next Friday.”

“I’m fine.”

“Want a tissue? Your nose is running from all the crying.”

“No. I don’t want a tissue. I’m not crying. I just have something in my eye.”

* * *

One week later–

“Why are you crying?”

“Don’t ask me questions that you know the answer to or that you don’t want the answer to.”

“Yeah Write?”

“No.”

“Liar.”

“I”m not lying. I am just upset because Justin and Selena broke up.”

“Right. You are sitting in the dark listening to Otis Redding and crying about the Biebs?”

“Yes. Can you turn off the light please?”

“Sure– You know, you could take a week off and–”

“Shut up! I am not taking a week off. I don’t quit.  Sitting on the dock of the bay…”

“Crying really enhances your singing voice.”

“Get. Out.”

* * *

Six weeks later–

“Why is your face all splotchy?”

“No reason.”

“Oh Jesus. It’s Friday.”

“No, I’m fine.  I just came from therapy. We worked it all out.”

“Worked out what?”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“You did that in an hour?”

“Hour and a half.”

“Great. So will you be taking some time off of– ”

“No. Running away isn’t the answer. I know what I need to do.”

“Should I even ask?”

“If you want to.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“I have to let go of making everything about winning.  I can’t live like that. There’s a better way.”

“Really? It’s good to hear you say that. You know, you don’t have to try to be the valedictorian of everything.”

“It’s a compulsion. Winning feels like the only way to be ok.”

“Ok?”

“You know, the only way people will love me.”

“Now you know otherwise?”

“I plan to find out.”

“Good.”

* * *

Months later–

“You never cry on Fridays anymore.”

“I know! It’s a miracle.”

“What happened?”

“I found that better way.”

“And?”

“I’m not trying to win anymore. It’s not the point.”

“What is the point?”

“Love.”

“Love? Are you talking about Yeah Write?”

“Yep.  Connecting with people I love, whose writing I love and putting love letters up every Tuesday.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Love. It’s about love.”

“Took you long enough.”

“No shit.”

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103 thoughts on “New Orientation: A Competition Junkie Discovers The Pleasure of Love & Connection

    • Right? It’s pretty scary to have it all out there on the internet with numbers attached to our names (or NOT attached). I have grown a lot from this process and I am such a better person for it. Happier. Hopefully my writing has improved, but it’s nice to work on my character as much as I work on my writing.

  1. The words “yeah write” are like profanity to my husband, so I can hear this conversation you were having EXACTLY. But there are days he realizes the community is the most important, the love is important and the friendships we’ve made kinda keep me out of his hair when he’s gaming.

    Thanks for this post. It was my first giggle of the day, and I appreciate your sincerity. Thanks for being such a faithful and obsessed part of yeah write.

  2. I can’t put my finger on why exactly I love this so much, but I do. Is it the cellular knowledge I have of this mentality? Is it the love that can come from dysfunction when you know it’s ok to stay? Is it that you broke down that 4th wall and talked about Yeah Write IN a Yeah Write post? I don’t know, but my head is soaring…

  3. is it coincidental that after you gave up on winning, you won? hmmm… anyway, i honestly think you’re a winner every single week and every single post. there are a lot of good writers out there, but you’re always one to beat, she’s says lovingly and admiringly, and not competitively or jealously at all. 🙂

  4. The posts that you wrote over the summer from three different perspectives about your grandmother and your doll and the burning can were the very first Yeah Write posts I ever read, and they completely blew me away. I remember thinking “I want to write like her when I grow up,” and I still do. I am so glad to have found you – another lawyer/writer/runner – in this big, bad writing world.

    • Oh, I forgot about my trilogy! My husband and I worked on those together…feels like years ago and it was just last summer. Looking forward to more gridding and writing from you!

  5. I have a feeling that a lot of Yeah Writers are all like, “it’s not just me!” while reading this. I mean, not that I, you know, ever felt this way. Because I’m all secure in my writing no matter what anyone else says or the grid says. Ahem.

    • Right? I always wondered if anyone else got super stabby on Fridays or Thursdays. Even if it’s just me, which it very well might be, it’s good for me to remember what that was like– always hingeing my self esteem on the damn grid and the voting– and how much more fun it is to celebrate the writing and the bravery and the voices. Everyone gets a turn in the “top rows.”

  6. What I’ve learned through writing, and being part of this community, is that we learn from each other. Sometimes, we just sit back and admire how others have words flowing from their fingertips. Winning…is wonderful. But, someone tapping you on the shoulder with a kind comment about what you share is nice as well; it’s that fuel that pushes you on to keep writing.

    Well done!

  7. Um…. I totally feel you here sister. As evidence by the fact that I am no longer on the grid/feel bad inducer for sensitive souls. I have yet to evolve to your zen-like acceptance and beat myself up not for not winning (which I never do) but reading infinitely more talented writer, who both inspire and shame me. And…. reading all those posts was an (albeit fun) time suck I could no longer justify. But,alas, I miss it… : (

    Anyway, glad you found your groove!

    • I am sort of wishing there was no competition aspect to it at all so we could all just revel in the great writing and the ways in which we get to know each other.

  8. This is very funny considering you’ve always been one of the strongest writers on the grid since I first joined last summer (Blue Baby was the first post I read). I’m glad you found your happy spot and don’t cry on Fridays anymore!!

  9. As a relative newbie to Yeah Write, may I just say you perfectly captured my first few weeks on there? My self-esteem seemed to hang in the balance on Thursdays and Fridays, and my husband didn’t understand the tears/self-loathing. After much reflection and grappling, I have come to just enjoy everyone, and how much it challenges and stretches me. I don’t need to win at everything! (As someone who is used to winning, this has been good for me. Personal growth and all). Thank you for verbalizing your experience. 🙂

    • Oh, yes, personal growth. I wish that wasn’t such a thing. But it is. My husband just shakes his head at me…he’s a saint for putting up with all my perseverating.

  10. My husband thinks I’m a FB crazy lady b/c he always seems to walk in when I’m on FB. Seriously, it is just to get the latest from my old friend, the blogger. I tell him you would love her though I’m not sure who has more wit, and he exits stage left…

  11. It’s a refreshing relief to know that someone as talented as you are feels this way. I tend to deny the competitive side of my nature, but I know it’s there. I love your solution of focusing on the love and community. I am grateful to have encountered you and all the other supportive Yeah Writers. I don’t participate every week, but I sure do miss you guys when I’m gone.

  12. Your writing is fab & I miss your blog on days you don’t post one. I’m your blog-stalker. I stopped signing up for races because I would beat myself up if I didn’t PR every time. Kind of similar…except you’ve actually made something of this writing thing.

  13. Haha…been there done that…I still hold on to a hope that someday I wil win but its no longer my driving force. I enjoy writing, reading, sharing, communicating.

  14. It’s fascinating to me to read your perspective on it. I am the anti-competitor in many areas of my life and this is one of them. When I first came round these parts I was very competitive about how quickly I read all those posts..which makes no sense whatsoever.

    Said it before & I’ll say it again. I LOVE Yeah Write for leading me to new blogs to love.

  15. I am newer to the grid as you know, and while I didn’t expect to jump in and get top 5…I’m not gonna lie – I also didn’t want to me – God forgive me – the one with the least votes. and I say this *Even though* I wholeheartedly agree with you that it IS about love. And one day when I am the one with the least votes, hopefully I can remember that!

  16. Oh Christie, I LOVED this!
    All last week I kept telling Pat “I’m going to throw up. I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to THROW UP!” And that was just when I thought I would end up in the top 5! Haha. Thankfully I didn’t win or I probably would have died. So I’m a little different from you but our husbands are apparently identical. Haha.

    I love your honesty and I am so glad that we are doing this crazy thing week after week together.

    • I am too! Your posts sear me every time whether you talk about your sons, your marriage, your running, or your past. Love them all.

      On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM, Outlaw Mama

  17. Loved this, Christie! I don’t cry about it (much), but I’ve never, ever won Yeah Write. Nothing. Never even placed. But like you, I don’t give up. I’ll keep submitting because I love the people and the family… but it does hurt. Glad to see I’m not the only one.

    • What? I can distinctly remember some of your posts– they have stuck with me and always will. That means a lot to me so I’m glad I got to tell you. No one writes about dating and refreshing your life plan like you do.

      On Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM, Outlaw Mama

  18. HAHAHAHA!!! This is a riot. As a competition junkie myself (nobody will play Trivial Pursuit with me) I completely understand.

  19. I had similar conversations with my husband about my Yeah Write stress. He also did not understand my continued participation given how upset I’d get. However, while I can understand your reactions based on your competitive nature, I don’t really recall you doing poorly at any point. In fact, if I recall correctly, most weeks I remember wishing I could do as well as you. At the risk of sounding all ass-kissy and repetitive, you’ve always been an inspiration to me. I remember voting for you quite often.

  20. I love the way you’ve kind of referenced the original name of Yeah Write in this post.

    When I’m linked up to Yeah Write Wednesdays are the day people need to tread lightly around me. Wednesdays are reading day and I hate being interrupted by silly things like people and pets wanting to eat or have clean clothing for the next day.

  21. I like the way you told that story. Most weeks, like this one, I have no anxiety because I know my post is not up to par. It’s on the weeks when I know I’ve written something decent that I go crazy. Luckily, or unluckily I guess, that doesn’t happen too often.

  22. I felt so strange reading this… because I was in the same place last summer… trying to stick to it even though it was so hard – and I remember us trading comments about not being able to give it up.

    And then I gave it up. This is where I have to remind myself that we’re all different, and I can cheerlead you for sticking to it and finding peace with it – which is awesome – and still be gentle to myself for doing what I needed to do for me.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I see, behind the humor in this post, just how tough I think the work was in getting to the place you talk about being at now. And I think that is beautiful.

    • You’re right. I have other friends who bagged it and sometimes I wonder if they did it right. And there was some serious pain those Fridays. I thought I’d lose my mind.

  23. You are so funny! And I love how you describe your interactions with your husband 🙂

    I sure don’t think you are the only person to have ever cried because of Yeah Write. In fact I know you’re not! But it’s always much better when we enjoy the community, rather than focus on the competition. Awesome post!

  24. well, you came into the yeah write world a pretty kick-ass writer, so now you’re saying that you’ve improved your own personal self as well? Dang. I bow down. That yeahwrite corner of the interwebz–making the world a better place, inside and out.

  25. I have to admit that when I first read this, I got it, but I didn’t “get” it. I’m a newb and this is only my second week. Last week, I felt slightly defeated, but this week, I felt like I put more into my post. I looked at the votes this morning, and I “get” it.

    Your heart sinks and you rattle off an endless amount of questions in your head when you don’t do as well as you think you should have. I have to admit that I have been doubting this whole blogging thing completely. Doubting whether anyone can relate to my posts, whether I should be posting more personal things. Whether it’s worth this sort of self abuse. But at least I know that I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who having a fight club style battle with myself. And that, in itself, is comforting.

    • Exactly! It’s like fight club. I made the post humorous but it wasn’t funny back in June, July, August. Whole therapy sessions about blogging and “popularity”….it sucked. I had to hit bottom with having to be popular or use the external validation. I am not cured but I sure took some beatings that helped me change. Keep coming around!

      On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 12:43 PM, Outlaw Mama

  26. I’m pretty sure my husband is getting a good view from your husband’s perspective today. I have already gone all emo on him and it’s not even Friday yet. Thanks for writing this piece! I am definitely gonna tough it out!

  27. Love. I love this. It’s so what I’ve gone through too. Not just with Yeah Write, but with blogging in general. When this was all new about a year ago, I went through a kind of “winning” streak. I understand now that the progression of events were what sort of needed to happen to get me to the point where I could meet the wonderful people I’ve met and work towards opportunities that would lead me in new directions with my blogging. But when that “winning streak” seemed to dry up it was very upsetting. Did I lose my ability? Have I already used up all my good ideas? Have I said all I can say? No. Finally I came to the realization you came to; it’s not about winning, it’s about being in the game – with all these other creative people, terrific writers I can learn from, who make me think, who offer me new perspectives on life and blogging. And in the case of Yeah Write, people who make me cry from Tuesday to Thursday. LOL Damn, you guys can tell some heartfelt stories. Whew. Thank you for this post!

    • Oh Yeah Write brings out my ugly cry!!! IT’s horrible when I think I’ve lost my abilities….I am th inking that right now with my job, but that’s another post.

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