If You Ain’t First, You’re Last

I’m struggling to keep writing this blog because I get too focused on how many people read it and whether what I am writing resonates. With that said, I also get tired of exposing little parts of myself because most of the time I want to stay behind the curtain and not let anyone really know what’s going on behind it.

So I take a deep breath and I try to remember why I started doing this in the first place. Like many on WordPress, it’s an inexpensive, easy form of therapy. I work out how I am feeling about something and usually by the time I am done writing, I feel better. Lately though, I have had this anxiety about it. And I wonder why I am putting my thoughts out on display for others to read. The one thing that keeps me going is when someone tells me something I wrote made them feel something. That matters to me, so until it stops mattering, I guess I will power through the anxiety and keep writing.

DSCF3305I’m tired. Mentally tired. I am trying to succeed at so many different things and the realist in me keeps telling me I am one of many so give up and accept the status quo. I shake it off though and I tell myself I shouldn’t give up. Successful people don’t give up. Optimistic people don’t give up.

So here is the dilemma. How do you know when you really just aren’t that great at something? Think about it. How many times have you told somebody something they did was great even when you thought it was just okay…that you like their new haircut because you know they are worried about it and you want them to feel better…or they lost their job because the boss didn’t see their talent, or the situation they are in isn’t their fault when deep down you know some of their bad decisions led them straight to that situation?


Sorry, Mom! I know I’m neurotic about my outfits.

So how do I know when someone tells me I am good at something, I really am? I know it shouldn’t matter what other people think, but unfortunately it does to me. Even to this day, if I ask my mom how my outfit looks and she doesn’t respond immediately with an enthusiastic, “I love it”, I grill her on whether she really likes it and then don’t believe her when she says it looks fine and end up changing my outfit.


My husband is crazy. He truly believes in me and he never wavers. He tells me daily I am beautiful, smart, talented…he tells me all the time that he “out-kicked his coverage” and calls me his trophy wife. And I laugh it off and tell him he is crazy and blinded by love. Doesn’t matter what I say though, because the next day he is right there telling me all of these things all over again. And I remind him again he is crazy. What I’ve realized lately is no matter how much I am told these things, I am never going to believe it unless I start believing in myself. This doesn’t mean I hate myself or that I don’t think I am somewhat talented. I just see the competition and know that it’s really hard to make it to the top of that list. In high school, I was 40th in my class out of 350. Pretty good, right? That basically defines me. Pretty good, but not in the top ten. One of these days I would like to be the best at something. Even if it was something basic like whistling (which I never did figure out how to do). As Ricky Bobby’s father said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”.


Maybe I would be good at tractor racing?

So who are these people that believe in themselves so much the critics, the competition, don’t intimidate them? What is the gene they possess and can I clone it? Not likely. So this is how I survive…I tell myself so what…so what if I am not the best as long as I keep trying? What difference does it make?

In 6th grade, I had to decide if I was going to take advanced math in 7th grade. My 6th grade teacher asked me would you like to be at the top of the class in regular math or in the middle of the class in advanced math? She was hoping I would say the former (horrid teacher), but I chose the latter because I wanted to be challenged more than be at the top of the regular class, bored and complacent. I can also say when I have taken the easy route, it usually ended up being a mistake that I regretted.

I guess right there is my answer. Sure, I would like a win from time to time. I really would. I want to be the best at something. I want to earn it though. I want to work hard for it. I want to deserve it. Until that happens, I will be patient. I will keep listening to the people around me that haven’t given up on me yet, and I will channel their good vibes and use that energy to drive me forward.

So this weekend, I will catch up on some sleep. I will focus my energy on a presentation I have to give next week, take all the feedback I get and try as hard as I can to make it the best presentation these folks hear all week. And even if it’s not, at least I tried. I will have left some sort of an impression. And if all else fails, I’ll find my people and have some laughs and realize being the best doesn’t mean shit as long as you have people that love you, supporting you along the way.


P.S. On a positive note, my small wins for the week:

1. I saved a computer after the tech guy gave it back and it wasn’t really fixed (Yes…I am a tech-genius-virus-killing hero!)

2. I’m making my famous homemade chili which has been voted the best chili ever in the history of chili (the chickens have voted many times).

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