I never quite used to get it when people would compare me with Monica from Friends. "What are they talking about?," I often used to wonder. "I’m not obsessed with cleanliness?... I’m not going to kill someone if they drop a few cookie crumbs on my carpet?"...But it wasn’t these things because of which they used to compare me with her. No. I realised later that it was Monica’s competitive streak which would make them think that I was like her!
And it is fair - I’ve never liked being second best at anything. I mean, truth be told, I’d rather not do something at all, than be the second best at it. It’s just not “me”. I like to work hard towards the stuff that interests me. And then, I like to be the best at it. I can’t help it. It’s this itch that I have - an innate quality that just drives me crazy if someone else happens to be better at something that I’m great at!
It all started when I was only a young girl at school, really. I used to like participating in almost every extra-curricular activity. My teachers used to say that I was an all-rounder, a multi-talented student. Not only did I excel at academics, but I also won every single competition that I participated in - be it dance, music, art, debates, declamations, theatre - I was always the star of every show. And whenever I used to participate in team activities, my teammates used to look at me with hope - as if I was their knight in shining armour! And as if with me by their side, victory just had to be theirs! I used to love it.
But then, I hadn’t been competing with anyone. I had simply been the best. Everyone’s favourite. The popular kid who the teachers had also seemed to love. That was rare - but it had been me.
When I graduated from school and entered a world of partial reality (It was only after college that I realised that I had not yet been living full reality until then), I realised there was actual competition out there. There actually were people who were as good as me, if not better. I had never experienced this! It was a reality check like no other. I wasn’t the knight in shining armour anymore. I was simply a part of a team - a team that relied on no single person. Everyone got equal credit and everyone put in equal effort. But oh well, I thought, I’d still get back in my game. I wanted to be THE best again. Only this time, not to impress anyone. Instead, just to impress myself.
And so I began. I worked hard to get back into that place of the star which I’d occupied in school. And yes, I was noticed and I was appreciated! But it was never the same. No matter how hard I worked, there was always someone who was at least as good as me.
College ended and thus began my life as a working professional. Once again, I thought this would be where I would shine. This would be where everyone would soon rely on me so much that I would become indispensable. But in the real world, no one is indispensable. We’re all replaceable - no matter how good we are. I decided genuinely at this point to stop competing with another person.
I had made this promise to myself in college as well, but had I stuck to it? Not really! I had become so competitive by the time I had graduated from college that I was competing even with my friends and my boyfriend! It was then that I began to realise what they had meant when they called me “Monica”. So I figured the best way to channelise this competitiveness of mine was to try and better myself every single day - that would be my competition, that would be my rush. To try an achieve a target that was just slightly higher than the one I’d set myself the day before. To be a little better than yesterday - everyday. Whether it was as a person, as a friend, as a girlfriend, as a daughter, at work - wherever and whenever.
So that’s exactly what I do now. I try and be the best version of myself everyday. I try a little harder, I do a little more. And as far as competing with other people goes - there is no harm in some healthy competition every now and then, right? Except I don’t do it in the obvious, very out-there, almost obnoxious way in which I used to, earlier. I do it in a very subtle, quiet way. It keeps me on my toes, but it prevents me from losing my head! I might not be someone else’s knight in shining armour anymore, but I definitely am my own. :)
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Published on Apr 22, 2016