Thursday, January 19, 2006

Don't mistake aggression for ambition

Every now and then, someone thinks I'm all ambitious.

They're wrong.

What I am, is competitive. It's not a burning desire to get ahead in things like my job. It's a burning desire to win. At this game called Life.

(I love Life, the board game. Is that wrong?)

So what is often mistaken for ambition is actually aggression. Ruthless aggression. The fierce desire to be recognized for my achievements, not so that I can be promoted, but so that I can show just what I'm capable of.

I think of this as my boss is about to return from her military duty - I crave not her job (that I've done for several months of her deployment) but the respect of my peers and superiors. They don't have to say I'm better than her - that wouldn't be fair to either of us - but I'd love for them to say that I did good. I did great.

But I guess if you strive to excel at work, people think you're ambitious.

The strange thing is, lately, I feel like of all things I've been losing my edge. Losing the aggression that makes me who I am. Taken the path of least resistance once too often.

I suspect it's my off-field issues. Those, I hope, will be resolved soon.

But I've gone through phases like that before. Mostly after breakups or other setbacks. So this one doesn't concern me much. Yet.

I've lived my whole life missing something, I suspect. I don't quite know what, and it's nobody's fault. My parents love me, I have food, clothing and shelter, I have a successful career, and so forth.

But some days, I wonder what it is that's the hole inside me that I'm trying to fill.

Sometimes, I think it's love that I need - it's odd, because my parents love me more than enough, but I guess that's something you almost expect, and I need to win the approval of someone who isn't forced to love me because it's part of the job description.

Why do I so need approval? Lack of self-esteem? Lack of self-confidence? I've never felt I was lacking in either, if anything, the other way - having too much of both.

Perhaps it's because the things I truly love, I've seldom succeeded at - never the greatest of athletes, not a good enough actor to keep it up, never a good enough boyfriend to become a husband, I don't know. I miss the rush. The adulation of the crowd. It wasn't the stage. It wasn't backstage, though that was fun. It was the curtain call. The applause. No one applauds a good headline, or an unsplit infinitive.

So the things I've been successful at just don't mean as much?

Who knows. Just something to think about.

And hey, either way, watch out when I'm going for something. Call it ambition, call it aggression, call it whatever you want. The fact is, you get between me and victory, you might win, but you'll pay.

I don't hit to injure, but I hit to hurt. The playing field is where you set the bullshit aside, and everyone is equal, measured only by talent and desire. I've got plenty of both, given the right game. And life is so much simpler when someone's keeping score. So much better.

I love the rush. I love the cheers. And there's nothing like a good, board-shaking bodycheck to get the crowd on its feet.

This is how I live my life. At least when I'm on my game. I can live with that. Can you? Too bad. Deal.

(Insert smiley-face dingbat here.)

Anger and aggression self-help
Winning, as the song goes, is everything
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