The few times that I tried to compete in physical sports, I had a bloody nose from trying to catch a softball, football, and volleyball. Or I put my back out by pitching softball. That time I spent three days lying on the floor moaning. Or I hurt my knees jumping. I wanted to win. I wanted to beat those naturally physical players. In the course of trying to win, I hurt myself badly.
So yes, I am highly competitive. I have learned to redirect my competitiveness to cerebral activities. For instance, I went back to college in 1998. I worked hard on homework. I worked hard on trying to understand concepts. I was a natural writer. So, I had a 4.0 average for two years. And, when I graduated, I was the symbol of academic performance.
Unfortunately, when I started my Master’s Degree in Education, I became ill. Between the illness and the medication I almost didn’t make it. But it was that will to compete turned into that will to live. Eventually I went into remission. And, because of the medication (cytoxan) I have lost some cognitive function.
Once again, I have learned to turn this competitiveness to other venues such as survival. I have turned this competitiveness to determination to write the best I can. I now have problems with grammar. I cannot see mistakes that used to be obvious to my eye. I cannot see my spelling errors. And, my mind makes puns that I do not see until I re-read a piece.
I cannot compete with myself anymore. I have learned to soften my sentences. I have learned to go with the flow. Orwellian sentences are only used to make a point or not at all.
What has changed in me? I am not so infatuated with brilliant language. I have learned to “get ‘er done” with simplicity.
And in return? I have been given the gift of the fictive dream.