Category Archives: Competition

Psychedelic Dreamin’

Wow. This is a new one. A weekend post. Coolness. Guess my daily writing habit is starting to stick, and I like it. And of course, the idea for this post came while I was on my regular weekend walk so I had no way of writing it down. I’m home now, the minions are occupied, and it’s a good writing time.

Few people know that I”m a fan of 60’s psychedelic rock. Particularly Strawberry Alarm Clock. ‘Incense and Peppermints’ is a given, but the really wild stuff comes into play with tunes like ‘Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow’ and ‘Sit With the Guru.’ Makes me really wonder what kind of drug-induced haze those dudes lived in back in the day.

But last night’s dreams could definitely give them a run for their money. Seriously.

Granted, I take regular medication for a health condition, but that doesn’t usually give me the kind of hallucinogenic dreams I had last night. Wow. No idea where most of those came from. If I were a dream analyst or therapist I’d probably be scared of me right about now.

Take, for example, the first scenario. Scene – a snowy blustery night on a mountainside. A house. Me and a newborn baby (??!) out in the snow, fighting off a herd of what can only be described as creatures crossed between direwolves from Game of Thrones and wargs from The Hobbit. Ok, since the minions’ choice for Movie Night was The Lord of the Rings, that almost makes sense. But throw in the head honcho from my office, my own kids, and them practicing their recorders from music class and it just gets weird.

Second scenario: Back at the office, but in a hugely tall building in the snow. Company event – I signed up for a snowboarding contest. Um, I’ve never even skied, much less snowboarded. So you can imagine, in my dream, the relief I felt when the roads were so icy they became impassable. Of course I found this the hard way when my ATV slid into a ditch. Can’t figure out which is crazier – the idea of me driving an ATV or my feeling relief at sliding down a mountainside road into a deep ditch in the dark.

Third scenario – and by far the most psychedelic of all: a bit of extended-family drama about holiday preparations, traveling through a guerrilla-ridden wilderness to get to the mall, and receiving the normal Christmas cards. Except for one. My jokingly-named Nemesis decided to up the ante and, in lieu of cards, send out video blogs. Yep, you read that right. And her video blog was by far the most Pinstrocious, Pinstrosity-laden dose of overkill you could imagine. Think the SNL skit with Ana Gasteyer doing the topless Martha Stewart Christmas special (just the narration – not the content!) Slow-moving montages of the fireplace mantel decor, which spelled out cutesy, profound sayings in hand-painted decorations. The zoom in on the fireplace itself, filled with handpicked greenery (of course) and hand-dipped candles – along with the narration, ‘Lo, the heart of the home gloweth with the green of renewal and light of the season. It is a wonder mighty to behold.’ The Christmas tree. Etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

WTH??

And all of that nemesis-designed perfection was followed by a flash scene of me in my college apartment getting ready for my parents to visit. There was so much crap everywhere. I’m talking crushed-up muffins on the floor, empty cupcake wrappers crusted to the stove, dirty towels littering the counters and floor. Huh? My roomie and I weren’t neat freaks but we NEVER got that bad. And through all of this my neat-freak mom just smiled and made idle conversation – not even trying to pick anything up.

Add in a sprinkling of me trying to run cross country chased by criminals, and is it any wonder I woke up with a thick head and sinus headache this morning? It’s a wonder I’m even functioning. Not exactly restful.

Anyhoo, like I said – any dream analyst would run screaming. I’m not even going to try and hash any of it out. Wow. A glass-half-full person would probably praise my imagination. But you know what? If that’s my imagination, we need to have a CTJ. Now. Either it channels itself into more constructive outlets, like topics for writing or insight to my life – or I’m turning it off. Deleting it. Like that movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Or, just maybe, it was my subconscious way of rebelling against today’s monster project – shoveling out R’s room to find the necklace he put ‘in such a safe place that I forgot where it was.’

Hopefully it’s the latter. Or I’m gonna really start questioning my sanity… And give Strawberry Alarm Clock a serious run for their money.

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Filed under Competition, Dreams, Moms, Psychedelic rock, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Subconscious, working moms

Nemesis

Now there’s a word you can’t just say normally. You have to use a gravelly voice and draw out the ‘s’ sound. Nemesisss.That’s better. And let me clear one thing up for any of you non-sci-fi peeps who happen to be reading today. If it’s not obvious from the pic, I’m a Trekker. Not a Trekkie. Yes, there is a difference. While I have nothing but the utmost respect for Spock, Chekov, Sulu and Kirk, I definitely prefer Jean-Luc Picard and crew. And speaking of Picard, this is his nemesisss – Praetor Shinzon. Creepy huh?

 

Back to the topic now. Sorry about the minor tangent, but I had to clear that up. Growing up in the ‘burbs and living there now, it seems that I’ve pretty much always had a nemesis of some sort – because being in and around the city so much has exposed me to all sorts of people with all sorts of talents. At least since middle school. It has to do with my competitive streak. See, I’m an only child, a perfectionist, and extremely competitive. Always have been. No matter what it was, I’ve always wanted to be at the top of the heap and have focused insane amounts of energy to get there. Which, for some reason, has always put me in a position of having a nemesis – real or imagined.

At first these nemeses were purely musical in nature. My Number One Competitor in middle school actually had the audacity to be better than me. She beat me in not one, but two auditions. How dare she?? My overachieving brain couldn’t handle that, so I threw everything I had into practicing and becoming a better musician. But it became more than that. It wasn’t enough to just improve – I had to beat her. And not just musically. Looks, popularity, dates, all of it – I was determined to be better than her.
Of course I failed miserably. My short, skinny, dorky mouthful-of-braces self couldn’t compete with the tall-blonde-blue-eyed-outgoingness of her personality. But that didn’t stop me from trying – for about five years. And – go figure – when I finally did finish ahead of her in an audition, she wasn’t friendly anymore. Go figure. Should have been a life lesson, right?
Wrong, of course. Other nemeses followed. Not just musical – social as well. That dumb competitive streak outgrew the musical side of me and extended to everything. Boys? I’ve gotta admit, I gave it my best shot – but always lost out there. Seriously. I’m not kidding when I say that my First Date Ever – to homecoming – asked me to take his mom’s place selling Cokes in the corner so that he could dance with her. No lie. You can’t make this stuff up.
And as an adult – once I quit the music scene – there was always someone I had to beat. Can you say ‘competitive streak run amok?’ I can. Try it five times fast. The person who always tried to be the center of attention at work-related gatherings? I’d get mad every time, feel slighted and try that much harder to get more attention. Just like a kid – negative attention was ok, as long as it was attention.
Even today. One of my coworkers jokingly asked if someone I mentioned in a conversation was My Nemesis. When I stopped to think about it – I realized that he was right. There’s someone out there right now whose every word and action just burns me up. They love to toot their own horn, and often! Really. You can actually see the steam coming out of my ears – I’ve looked. And what’s my natural fight-or-flight response? Competition, of course. Some part of my Id (wow! A Freudian reference! Some part of Ed Psych must have stuck!) kicks into high gear at the very thought of this person and acts out – to be smarter, more talented, more positive, less narcissistic, prettier, a better parent, you name it – just so I can feel like I won. It’s driven me to some pretty petty acts lately. Not gonna go into specifics there – it’s too embarrassing.
So what gives? Why is it that my stupid competitive streak can’t just find a POSITIVE outlet for once? Just once? Because I’m tired of competing over things that don’t matter to anyone but me. Very tired. I mean, it’s not like someone is going to give me a medal for this. Wait, they actually might. Biggest Crazy Idiot Trophy.
Am I the only one out there with this problem? Is it, as my spouse so tough-lovingly says, ‘a woman thing?’ How do you deal with competition run amok? Any and all comments welcome please. Hey, if there are lots of us, maybe I could start a support group. Thoughts?

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Filed under Competition, Moms, Musicians, Parenting, Self esteem, Women's Issues