I’ve been losing at cards. Consistently. I’ve been losing at Yahtzee too. And Scrabble, which never happens. I even came close to defeat in Scattergories. For me, that’s losing at the apocalyptic-level.
It’s even happening with my apps. Talk about distressing. Apps are supposed to let you win every so often; it’s how they keep you playing and watching the ads. Seriously. Don’t play for a week, then check back in. It’s a guaranteed win.
I started to wonder if I had a brain tumour or early-onset Alzheimer’s. Because why wouldn’t I think that? Anxiety and a tendency to the overdramatic may not be the best combination. But what other explanation for the consistent losing could there be?
I don’t like losing much and that’s an understatement. It’s making me testy.
The problem is I’m not used to losing. It doesn’t happen much, excluding my mental health challenges. And they aren’t “losing” per se.
For all that I’m neurotic, blessed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and an eating disorder, for all that I’ve had oh, so many shitty life experiences, things generally go my way and I don’t often fail.
I mean, I’ve flamed out spectacularly. I’ve even done it repeatedly. I pursue perfection until the tank is beyond empty. Then I explode and my problems come home to roost. The pattern is about three years of awesome and then a prolonged period of recovery.
Except for stopping the eating disorder. That was a big, freaking fail for a lot of years with no multi-year stretches of awesome.
But other than that, I mostly come up aces.
I was good at school. Honour roll all around; I test well. I’ve been good at the jobs I’ve held as long as you take longevity out of the picture. I’m good at music. I’m good at sports. I’m a good driver. I’m good at being organized.
I’m not great at anything, neither perfect nor the best and that’s a whole other complex but most of the time, empirically speaking, I do all right. For someone chronically depressed.
When I’m unlucky, however, it’s often spectacular. The “getting molested, getting beaten up, getting sexually assaulted, getting into an abusive relationship, struggling with mental illnesses, attempted suicides” kind of spectacular. But even during those periods, I’ve had good luck.
You wouldn’t believe how often random money shows up when I need it.
I’m especially lucky with games. I win. Not one hundred percent of the time but enough so that losing’s a surprise. I’m unprepared. I walk the walk of the good sport; I stay civil, I smile and wave, but I’m not a good loser. Behind the smile, I’m distressed and seething.
But there’s been no winning of late. My horseshoes are on vacation. It’s second place unless I’m playing two others. Then I come in third.
Statistically, it was bound to happen. The homily we repeat glibly is true: nobody wins all the time. And yet I can’t help feeling pissed off.
I also feel like it’s meant.
Enter the life lesson: how to be a good loser. How to be honestly pleased when other people do well and beat you. How to believe it really is about how it’s played.
Or maybe it’s about learning to not obsess over every mistake. Maybe it’s about not trying to crush the opposition next time.
My competitiveness is no small thing.
Maybe it’s a Gemini thing. Maybe it’s about equal wins and losses, yin and yang. Maybe to be a good Gemini, I have to have opposites.
Maybe it’s about perfectionism. Maybe that’s the lesson. Perfectionism has sticky tentacles that weave through the totality of my life. Perhaps my losing streak is supposed to reinforce the idea I’m okay when I’m imperfect. I’m okay when I don’t win.
I’m willing to believe in a cause metaphysical. After all, there’s a part of me that kind of believes my life was challenging because I was born on a Wednesday. “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.”
Or maybe it’s a random crapshoot and there is no greater meaning other than statistical averages.
Are you a good loser?