Friday, March 11, 2011

victory in a loss.

I often times say that i would far rather work with adults who are certifiably insane than with kids.

the little boy i babysit makes serves as cold, hard evidence of the above statement on a decently regular basis. sometimes i want to punch him in the face.

yesterday he wanted to play basketball. i considered telling him that it was cold and wet and a bad idea, but i'd put my paycheck in my purse moments before and i wanted to be worth his parents money and so i said okay.

they have an iron spiral staircase that connects their back porch their lower carport. (and thus you have mountainbrook) i discovered as i peered over the railing, that our basketball court was half-covered in cold puddles.

it was already chilly and i didn't have a jacket and all i had on my feet were moccasins, so i decided before the game even started that i wasn't going near any of the puddles.

i lasted a few minutes, but started to get sick of just standing there and losing. i clenched my teeth and made my way into the puddles. at this point, it was 19-6.

as soon as i became willing to step into the discomfort of the puddles, i started scoring basket after basket. we were playing to 21, and before long, i'd gotten there.

i loved that i had just beaten the ten-year-old (embarrassing), because his smack-talking really tends to get under my skin. but as soon as i scored my 21st (22nd, actually) point and raised my hands to celebrate, he came up with a bogus reason that i hadn't actually won.

"nope," he said, "you don't win. you fouled me a minute ago so it's my ball."

my competitive side took off without me and decided to play by his stupid rules, just to show him that i could beat him at his own game.

i gave him the ball and i gave up the winning two points i'd scored and he started to dribble. he shot and missed, rebounded, shot again and missed again.

i grabbed the ball and took it to the top and back down to the basket where i scored my second winning shot.

"nope," he said again, "you traveled."

we continued in similar succession until i'd won fair and square at least seven times.

but finally, it hit me that there was absolutely no way that i was going to win according to his rules.

when he suggested that my untied moccasin disqualified the last of my winning baskets, i laughed and said, "okay. you win."

i realized that i was never going to disprove his stupid rules or his disqualifications of my victory. i realized that i had won the game, and that the fact that he refused to say so meant nothing. i realized that my disorder acts in a similar way.

i got tired of my disorder running circles around me, making me into a loser. i decided that stepping into the cold, uncomfortable puddles was worth reclaiming my life. i got cold and wet and my moccasins were soggy, but i caught up to my disorder. i gained weight and a personality and a clear head. i was winning fair and square.

but my disorder wasn't going to have it. each and every victory was met with a brand new, bogus rule to keep me running around on the court, thinking that i still hadn't won.

nope. it would say, that doesn't count. you never had a heart attack or a near-death trip to the hospital and so you haven't really recovered from anything.

sorry, it told me, you only went to residential treatment once, so no one cares what you have to say...when you become a counselor, your clients will think your story is lame.

i don't like to give in. it's not a part of my nature. i like to win fair and square, and i like to prove points.

but i realized in the carport the other day, that if i had continued to try and win on his terms, the obnoxious ten-year-old and i would still be out in the carport playing.

in the same way, my disorder will never be satisfied with the winning points i score. it will perpetually generate new rules to keep me running around the carport, and if i continue to follow them, i'm going to be out there playing a meaningless game forever.

so i'm letting my arm drop to my side and the ball bounce into the garage door and roll down to the gutter. i'm claiming victory for myself and i'm quitting the game and walking back up the spiral staircase into the house and drying my moccasins and my feet.

my disorder is still out there and its teasing and laughing and thinking that it won and i suppose i'll just let it think so.

the cheering will grow faint.

and one day, i won't hear it at all.


1 comment:

  1. GREAT post!!!!! You ARE a winner and you are winning. I know God is going to continue to use your story in a miraculous way. Thanks for sharing. I am very competitive as well, and this applied to some areas in my life, too. We all struggle with negative thoughts.