Remember the Time…I Did That Thing Better Than You?

The Remember the Time Blog Hop theme this week is rivalry. 

I remember being on the playground in elementary school, a lanky girl with curly bangs and pants that might have been too short, afraid of a lot of things (like somersaults and heights), but still adamant that I could do anything any boy could. It didn’t matter that I was a girl.

My favorite place on the playground was the tall grab bars that you could swing on like a gymnast.

They looked exactly like this!

Everyone was into pulling their legs onto the bar, swinging from their legs, then grabbing on and doing a flip to let go and land on your feet. (Was that confusing? It sounded confusing to me.) Even though I was scared to do this on anything but the middle height bar, I was so proud of myself, and childishly boasted to all the boys how awesome I was because of it. I was very adamant even then that even though I was a girl, it didn’t mean I couldn’t do anything else they could do. Despite my ignorant fears of heights, tucking my head under, and apparently callouses on my hands that kept me away from the monkey bars, I felt that I was invincible.

Invincible, but scared of these. Yeah, I don’t know either.

When I was about 8 or 9, I played a lot with P, a boy who lived next door. Our backyards were separated by a chain-link fence, and since his mom usually wouldn’t let him come over to play, we would play games over the fence together. Despite his mild personality, I constantly asserted how I was “better” at things, or was generally bossy and pushy with him. For instance, he’d spit and I’d get angry if he did it in front of me (“Swallow it! That’s so gross!”), and generally acting how I viewed as confident, but in retrospect, looks more like I was being a bit of a bully. I remember my mom telling me to be nicer to him, and I thought I was being nice…enough.

In middle and high school, especially, my personal rivalry with boys took a turn for the worst. It led to me being teased and picked on more than it might have if I hadn’t been as headstrong, stubborn, and adamant at being exactly who I was. What I didn’t realize is I could have maybe avoided some bitterness and hurt in the long run if I had kept being exactly who I was, but without the defensiveness and need to prove myself.

To be honest, I’m still defensive. I still catch myself saying things that sound haughty and self-important that I instantly feel bad about saying. I’m still stubborn, headstrong, and adamant if I think I’m right.  And I firmly believe that just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t do something at the same caliber as a man, if not better. I still have bouts with hobbies or pastimes that are traditionally male where I feel the need to prove myself or that others don’t take me seriously. (Enter WoW as a prime example.) However, I’m glad I’ve moved past my childish insistence on being right that were possibly destructive rather than constructive. I promise I won’t sing the “anything you can do, I can do better” song anymore. Maybe.

This post was part of the Remember the Time Blog Hop hosted by Emily from The Waiting and Kelly at Are You Finished Yet?. Want to write a post of your own? Visit here for instructions and the link up! 

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11 thoughts on “Remember the Time…I Did That Thing Better Than You?

  1. The Waiting says:

    I really identify a lot with this. I’m not so much competitive as I am defensive about what I’m good at (or, more likely, *not* so good at.) I second-guess myself and want to take it back whenever I hear myself singing my own praise, even if that praise is merited. And being a writer, I often feel guilty for having that certain confidence in myself which simply MUST be present in order for my words to have any strength and confidence behind them. It’s kind of a mixed bag, especially since, like you implied, we live in a “man’s world” (whatever that means) where having self-confidence and the desire to compete is read as shrewish or too masculine.

    Great post, Samantha! Thank you for joining the bloghop!

    Like

    • Samantha says:

      All of this comment is so true. One of the worst feelings I have is that someone is not taking me seriously, and that is when I get defensive, especially. But like you said, it’s also keeping the confidence up, too.

      Thank you! I’ve been reading the posts for awhile now and thought I’d join in this time. I had fun with it, I’ll definitely do it again 🙂

      Like

  2. AreYouFinishedYet says:

    You know, bullying is never okay, but I love how you acknowledge your part in it. Because we ALL do things that put targets on our backs for one reason or another. I can find myself falling very easily into being defensive as well, and nothing can rub people the wrong way like over-confidence. I cringe when I see others do it, but I think the reason I cringe is because I’m recognizing something I myself do, but don’t like about myself. Overall, recognizing these things in ourselves can only be a good thing that helps us grow.

    Thanks for joining the hop!!! I hope you join up again so you can write better posts than any men who link up as well 🙂

    Like

    • Samantha says:

      Thank you 🙂 There is no excuse for someone bullying another person, but if I did something knowingly that brought it on, why not say something about it? I think it just one of the reasons I got picked on. But I’d usually get angry and sling something back rather than allowing it to get to me too much. Guess that’s part of being defensive and stubborn 😛

      I think that’s true for all of us, that we cringe at the things we see in ourselves that we like the least.

      Like

    • Samantha says:

      Thanks, Jillian! I saw that video this morning, I thought it very plainly showed the labels next to each other, which will hopefully make people think 🙂

      I loved those bars. My elementary school eventually took them out in favor of the newer, brightly-painted shiny ones, and they just weren’t the same! 🙂

      Like

  3. Gretchen Kelly says:

    I really enjoyed this. I am physically not as agile as I used to be, but I can still do that flip on the monkey bars. I have done it to impress my kids a few times. That’s kinda sad now that I see that in print!

    Like

    • Samantha says:

      Don’t underestimate it, I think that’s impressive! I could have been a gymnast if I’d tried. *sigh* Now, there’s no way, at least without several days of barely being able to get out of bed. 😛

      Like

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