Monday, March 19, 2012


I went to the State Thespian Conference with the actors (and directors) in my show on Friday and it went extraordinarily well.  The work-in-progress piece we presented was easily one of the best and overall, I was really proud of the actors.

But this is only framing for the topic I want to talk about.  I was chatting with a few of the directors and Tristan, the male lead of the show (and also my former stage manager on the last show I worked).  He admitted that he had had butterflies in his stomach all day.  It wasn't at the thought of performing, he noted that he normally didn't get nervous from that; it was the thought of our work-in-progress being compared to the others that made him nervous.  Some of the actors laughed, accusing him of having competition issues, and he easily agreed.

It seemed odd to hear that Tristan, who I have seen calmly talk down a forty year-old director in full bluster, had competition issues.  But I quickly realized he meant competition and not conflict.  And as soon as he said, in these words exactly, that he had competition issues I immediately realized I did too.

I have always been horribly competitive.  I never liked losing.  I hated it in fact.  When I was really really little, I would rather cheat than lose.  I still hate to lose and I make everything in to a competition or a game, even when it's not anything like a competition.  It drives my friends crazy and it upsets me to no end.  I hate the feeling of upset I get when I lose a competition or even when someone out performs me.

It's gotten to the place where I've just realized that I can't play competitive games at all.  I play Starcraft II, with friends and against computers.  I play Skyrim or Sims 3 where there's no competition against anyone real.  When Will and Boyfriend suggested that I play a game of Starcraft against real people last night (people I didn't even know), I broke into very drunken tears (which was slightly embarrassing).  Even just watching the new Mythbuster's produced show Unchained Reaction gave me butterflies at the level of competition between the teams.

I can't explain why competing with someone gives me this reaction.  I always played team sports, not individual ones, which always eased the competition pangs substantially.  And I really don't mind conflict; meaning I'm not scared of it and it doesn't upset me, even though I don't like conflict either.  I haven't really met anyone else who has a similar reaction to me to competition, so knowing I'm not alone helps...I guess?

I don't know.  I'm not sure I'll ever really get past this.  But I like to watch my friends play competitive games.  I really do.  It's actually a lot more fun for me than playing, they just don't always believe me about it.

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