In my attempt to describe the characteristics of my dad to a friend of mine, the theme that somewhat prevailed, more so over his lack of consistency to return a text message (or iMessage should I say – he’s clearly with the times), was the fact that he is just good at everything. Picture Forrest Gump, with a little more swag (I think I did actually catch him in Ted Baker recently) and far more brain cells, that everything my dad attempts, he is almost undeniably going to be good at it. If not the best. Half annoying yet similarly half fulfilling that I can boast about the fact that my dad is a 60-odd year old superhuman.
Though he hasn’t quite run around the states for hundreds of miles (or set up a shrimp business), I’m sure given the opportunity, he would run, cycle or row his way around to attempt such an enduring feat anyway. A set of sporting characteristics (or madness, some might say), I feel he’s passed on to me. A set of characteristics that I feel imprints on almost every aspect of my life, or at least I try to imprint on every aspect of my life as much as feasibly possible, without killing myself in the process. I just always want to be the best at everything I try.
Taking the superlative of a word is virtually just adding -est on to the end to make that word “of the highest quality or degree”. Applying those words to a person and you’ve got someone that’s practically in the region of the 95th percentile. Someone who is somewhat a minority, or someone that just particularly stands out.
I basically strive to be a walking, talking superlative. Not that I’m sitting here under any false pretense that I ever am the best at anything, but it is just a mindset that seems to be so imprinted on my life and something I always just at least try to be.
I definitely blame my dad.
Where it could be my genetics, or simply just my excessive need to be competitive, I always just want to be the fastest, the one that works the hardest, the one that runs the most miles, or the one that’s been on the longest bike ride, say. Sincerely not helped by the fact that Strava encourages such narcissistic behavior and gives us bloody medals each time we achieve a new record or achievement. It really is an app of dreams for people like me. I always just want a fucking crown.
So it doesn’t come as much surprise really, that with this kind of mind set and attitude, that I suffered with something such as anorexia. Yes, take note of the past tense of suffer. I’m nailing this recovery shit.
Such an eating disorder can almost be seen to be competitive or a superlative in itself. At least through my eyes anyway. You’re striving to be the skinniest, striving to eat the least and exercise the most, and striving to be in a percentile that not as many people are integrated into because you have something they don’t. They mean it when they say that it’s a seriously complicated illness.
Imagine two 6 year-old children at school who outspokenly talk to one another of how one has done something better than the other and argue until one overrules the situation while the other is left crying because they’ve come in at second place. Multiply that and you’ve pretty much landed at me saying such things internally, to every other person around me in the same situation. Tears, sulking and feet stamping apiece, when I disappointingly arrive in second place.
Please tell me I’m not the only one that feels this competitive?
(I’m working on it)