When I played hockey and netball in high school, I was very vocal, encouraging to my team and scary aggressive to our opposition.
In board games, I oscillate between quietly strategising, flying under the radar to sniper my opponents, to wild shouting, jeering and generally attempting to demoralise anyone against me. Just the other week I was playing a console trivia game with my husband and a couple of our friends. Everyone else just went with the generic character names for their avatar, but I insisted on wasting time selecting every letter of my name in full because "I want to see my name in lights when I win". (After a nail-biting spell at the bottom of the leaderboard (with Mat taunting and laughing at me "...maybe they'll still put your name in lights out of pity?" I came back to win the game! BOOYAH!)
Post school, post my sporting years, outside of all those tangible things like awards and pats on the back all I have now is an undercurrent of secret competition with my friends. Everytime a friend acheives something or grows in some way, it frustrates me and makes me want to acheive more in my own life. My secret competition feels like envy, but it also drives me to be better, it makes me push harder, which are good things. And yet I feel embarrassed to admit it, I feel exposed and a little ashamed.
But why should I be? If it's not turning into a dark, bubbling hatred for my friends. If I'm not eating my heart out every time they come beaming with good news?
Why do we hide the fact that we secretly compare and rate ourselves against the people that we love? No, you can't admit that, because the only question that can follow such an admission is: Well, how DO you rate you against me? (What's worse admitting that they are "winning" or declaring that you're "better" than them?)
Maybe it's got something to do with not wanting to seem unhappy with an area of your life. At times the feeling like you're "losing" can be debilitating - if I think I'm just going to lose I won't want to try anymore - then I can feign sexy, mysterious nonchalance. By the way, why are aloof people so damn sexy and cool? Damn them and their steamy lack of concern... Maybe their just better at pretending they don't care than I am?
Maybe it's got to do with not wanting to come across as too ambitious and aggressive, which apparently is not very attractive behaviour (particularly for a lady). But why isn't it? Guys seem to openly compete with each other in everything - my market research of one (Mat) has revealed that he and his friends all know, who is the strongest, fastest, most disciplined, most fearless and so on. I never have these kind of conversations with girlfriends!
Are you competitive? Do you feel embarrassed about it? Do you hide it? Why is that?