Standing out in a sea of brilliance
So I work with someone who causes mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I find her quite attractive, physically and otherwise. I actually think I’m the only person in our little training community that thinks she has fantastic legs. She’s also a driven individual who is ready to work hard for anything she wants – a surprisingly rare trait these days. I admire her greatly, and I enjoy spending time training and working with her.
On the other hand, she kind of has a strong vanity streak. In itself, I don’t find a huge problem here – I’m about as vain as she is, even if I’m not as obvious about it. However, it still bothers me when I hear her seeking out approval from anyone willing to give it to her. What bothers me more is that she always gets it.
There was an officer I hated back in ROTC. He was sloppy and weak and pathetic, but he strutted around trying to get people to tell him he was great. Anyone who similarly seeks attention reminds me of that schmuck.
I’m not saying this girl doesn’t deserve praise, though. She isn’t like that ass in that she has nothing to show. On the contrary, being a UAAP medalist sprinter means quite a bit, and – like I said – she works hard in the gym and produces results. I think it’s mostly that I feel envious of the attention she gets. She gets congratulated on every race time and every physical feat she shows off. By comparison, no one ever seems even remotely impressed when I manage something no one else can do. Someone told me that it was because everyone already expects me to do things that are physically impossible for just about everyone else, so it’s less impressive.
Still, I really do wish for that degree of attention once in a while. I won’t ask for it because it makes me feel stupid, but I do want it. I think one of the reasons it upsets me so much to see someone else get so much recognition is that it causes me to question whether the reason I don’t get as much recognition is that I simply haven’t earned it. I already feel insecure knowing that I’m one of the only non-athletes in the training staff, so being inadvertently reminded how little I seem to do next to others makes me feel less than good.
The thing is, it’s really just my fault that I feel so insecure about it. I can’t tell her to stop looking for attention without sounding bitter and unreasonable, and I can’t tell people to stop giving it to her without sounding like a huge jerk.
In the end, the only choice that makes sense to me is to accept the situation and work to prove that I deserve as much recognition. When we surround ourselves with people beneath our abilities, our victories are hollow. When we willingly test ourselves against equals – in spirit if not in outright physical ability – then success means so much more. I may not have the praise I want from everyone else, but if that one person – someone I admire and respect – admits that I can perform on a level well beyond her, it means more than when a rank beginner says the same thing. Earning the respect of a high-level athlete is much harder than earning the respect of someone who doesn’t know exactly how difficult it is to reach a certain level, which means I’ve got something very valuable, whatever side effects it may bring.
So thank you, MNM. Thank you for being one of the reasons I am able to continue doing what I do.