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second place is the first loser

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I have this theory about second best. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine one time when they said that they were not sure whether or not they wanted to continue dating someone because they felt as if they were not said person’s first choice.

I had to stop them right there to say that I feel as if everyone is always someone’s second best.

It sounds like an eccentric theory, but I honestly and truly feel as if it is just so.

There are times in our lives when we realized that there is always going to be someone out there who is prettier than you, funnier than you, smarter than you, overall better than you. It doesn’t matter what you do, there will always be one person to whom you do not measure up.

Who puts us in second place? Is it that other person that reminds you that they are everything that you are not? I think sometimes I do it to myself. I have these preconceived notions about myself, and I know that I don’t stand a chance in some category, and I essentially doom myself at whatever it is that I am concerned with at the moment. I fail before I even begin.

As someone who always feels second best, I strongly believe in my theory.

You won’t always get your first choice. I feel as if I may safely say that more than 50 or even 75 percent of the time, you won’t get your first choice. You may not even get your second or third. But whatever it is, or rather whoever it is that may happen to be your second choice will always be just that – runner-up.

When it comes to people that you are dealing with, it’s tricky. I am very prideful. If there is something I want that is theoretically my “first choice,” and I realize that it is not mutual, I don’t care what happens, I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want to be anyone’s second fiddle, no matter where it is concerned.

But I have to grow up and realize that it won’t always go my way.

That’s why I think I automatically put myself in second place. I was going over some past situations in my life during which I thought I was compromising, but it was okay because I was still satisfying myself. But then upon a second glance, I realized that I was the one being compromised, I wasn’t first choice or first picked, and then I felt like damn, what the hell was I thinking? (This is hard to explain, but at least I know what I’m talking about, that’s all that really matters.)

This past week was Valentines. I’ve had a Valentine once, in fourth grade, and it was my very best friend to this day. (I love you, Matt, probably more than life itself.) And I’ve never had one since. I’m okay with that. I think about all the sad time I spent in the past years feeling like I needed someone, more so on that day and time of year than any other. I tried to settle, tried to pretend like it was okay that I was someone’s next to the best choice.

But that’s not what I want. I want to be first picked. I want to be first place. I don’t want to be second best.

Lately, that’s just how I feel. Runner-up. Second place. Honorable mention.

What am I trying to say? I don’t know. Sometimes there is that strong me, that is fine, cool calm and collected, and there in a pinch.

Then there is the me that struggles to hold it all together, when things are crashing down around me and I can’t come up for air. I’m human, just like everyone else, and I can’t help but feel alone sometimes. Not just alone, but…empty. Like I come up short, insufficient, inadequate. (I’m a lover of the language, so I’m sure I could go on for days, but you get the point.)

So here I am, awake but not un-tired (I’m plenty exhausted), tossing and turning with different thougts plaguing my mind, rendering me unable to sleep and trying to cope with this empty, bitter, hollow feeling in my chest.

Sometimes I think, what is wrong with me? Then I feel myself answer, what isn’t wrong with me. That’s no way to feel, but it happens, and it happens to the best of us. I have a lot that I do feel like I’m proud of. But all too often, I feel as though the things that I am pleased with are far outweighed by the things that make me feel the way that I do now.

It all goes back to feeling in second place. No matter how glad you are to be as high up as you are, there is always going to be someone on that next step up. Someone that will always win out. What can you do?

I don’t know. If I did, I’d probably be asleep and happy.


One response »

  1. When I was doing my student teaching, my assisting teacher told me on my third day in class, “I can’t pass you.”

    “Why not?” I asked.

    She said “I just don’t feel like you want to be a teacher. This seems like plan B for you.”

    And I looked at her like she was fucking retarded, and I said “Of course it’s Plan B. But if I didn’t want to do it at all, it would be Plan H or Plan W. How many people do you know are actually living their dream jobs?”

    A week later I got a job offer from Oxford High and taught there for a year. It was amazing. I’ll never forget her condescension. It was the epitome of rude and uppity.


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