Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On Being Competitive

When I look back on my life I can honestly say I have never been a competitive person. My first memory of learning about being competitive was in elementary school back in Jenison at Bauerwood elementary school. There were two classmates Bob and Kevin who were always team captains when teams were picked, now those two were competitive. Winning was everything, so you guessed it, when teams needed to be picked they were always the captains. You know how it goes the kids that kind of ruled over everyone even the teacher. Another you guessed it? I was always picked last no matter what. I didn't care all I wanted was for the gym part to be over and I dreamed of moving onto art class, sad part was when I moved to Jenison art was not as important as gym and the opposite was true at the school I came from in Grand Rapids. Oh well, all I know is I hated gym, could have cared less who won, and dreaded even the thought of the next time we had to pick teams or go to gym. One thing I always loved was swimming so in fifth or sixth grade I joined the swim team and I was okay at that. It was fun to be on that team because you kind of played against yourself so it made it easier not having to be a part of a team per say. Then I went to middle school where I started to play volleyball, believe it or not, a team sport. Winning became a little more important, at least to the team, but for me it was all about the serve. I must admit I was pretty good and racked up many a point with my serve. I enjoyed that team it was fun and we had fun together as a team from what I remember.

I look back and remember these sporting snippets of my life and I can see that back then I was not a strong person, physically. I remember I had a harder time even then keeping up with my fellow athletes. I was different but at that time I never really noticed I just thought I hated sports, gym, and anything physical. I look back and realize that even back then I was not in a normal body. Oh believe me there were time I had wished I was. I wished I could have been the one on the grade school team in gym who hit the home run during the baseball game, but I wasn't. I remember that even if I got a hit that involved running and I was a terrible runner. I would start out ok and half way to first base I would putter out. It was shear torture for me as I look back and now I understand why I was always picked last. Did this all start way back then or was I born with it? Boy, school sure can be a place of torture for some of us. Lucky for me I had two brothers at home who taught me how to be tough, not in the physical sense, but in a mental sense. I learned how to be strong even though I wasn't physically strong, I was bullheaded and a hard head, somethings never change. I am thankful for them for helping me become a strong person but in a different way. In a way that says I don't care what others think or say about me, whatever to that crap. I am who I am if you don't like it then don't come around me. I pretty much say it like it is so if you can't handle it then don't ask. A different kind of competitiveness? Maybe.

Although I can say I don't understand being competitive I must admit I am in some sort of odd way that many will not be able to understand. You see, I compete everyday with a body gone haywire. I compete with pain that, if I let it, can bring me down into the dooms of hell, and one some days it does. I compete with weak muscles that keep me from enjoying the world like everyone else does. I compete with fatigue that is beyond anything most people would ever be able to comprehend. I compete with so many other physical issues that the list could go on and on. The list that no one really understand except me because I live the list even when I look perfectly healthy to the real world. You see, I am in a fight every minute of everyday. My fight/competition is against a team of symptoms that can bring a person down physically very fast. But you see, if I allow that team to win, then I lose and I am not going to lose this game. I often wonder about the competitive kids back in grade school. I wonder if Bob or Kevin would be able to handle this game.  Hummmmm I almost doubt it but who knows. The win now is the win in my head. I must keep my mental state at a higher level than most, it keeps me in the winning position. The minute I let the body take over I slide into last place real fast, back to being the last person picked on the team. I can't allow that to happen anymore. Nowadays, I am the team captain. I make the rules, no one else. I am the captain which means if I need help I ask, granted most of the time it is Rich or the girls, but the point is, I ask. If I make plans and the fatigue is so bad I don't go, most people understand and to tell you the truth if they don't I don't care anymore. Being the team captain I use my energy where it is needed and not on the nonsense of others. I have to, if I don't then I am right back in school. This list could go on and on too, but I won't bore you with anymore of my so called nonsense to the real world.

My point is when you are ill you live by a whole different set of rules. The rules your body makes up but your mind must control as best as it can, along with a few choice drugs. Looking back on how this blog entry started stating that I am not competitive, at the end of the blog, I guess I have to change that and say I am very competitive. I am in control, some days more than others depending on the pain or whatever else may be going on, but in control none the less. I use to think the doctors were in control looking to them for relief but after seven years of this I am beginning to realize they aren't. They are people just like us. Medicine is no different to them then it is to us. We go to them for the magic cure but sometimes we don't get it so we have to find our own magic cure, what works for us. Remember, what works for one person may not work for another. You must figure out your own cure. I know I am a zebra to all my doctors and a few of them tell me that straight up. I appreciate their honesty. I appreciate them taking my honesty seriously and meshing the two together to do what is right for me. Even with them I am the captain. I hope that in your struggles with daily living or chronic illness you are able to sit in the captain chair and guide your life without allowing the team around you to have the control, it makes life so much easier that way.

God Bless!


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