Never in my life have I ever tried so hard for a competition. All I had was competing in my head–trying to reach goals that seem impossible but reach some of them anyway.
I competed as a video game designer. How cool is that? I competed as an animator and something for spelling too.
When I was in kindergarten, I tried visualizing myself, maybe not as a sophomore in high school but as a middle schooler. I pictured myself with long hair who had lots of friends, talking about clothes and games and just laugh for fun. I thought I would have an easygoing life. Oh how wrong was I…
When I was in sixth grade, my hair was cut short so I wouldn’t have to tie it back in a ponytail like the other girls. I was also very… un-girly. I hated fashion, so that image I had of myself as a well-dressed person was pretty much erased.
In eighth grade, I nearly gave up hope for any competition since I wasn’t valedictorian or salutatorian. And what’s worse? On the day we found out, I realized I helped the salutatorian in math, so I could have been the salutatorian if I hadn’t helped her improve. (Today I realize it’s a good thing I helped her since I actually teach upperclassmen math now and gained some friends). Also, I told my dad, “Dad, not everyone gets to be valedictorian or a salutatorian… I’m not the valedictorian, but I know that I got good grades–”
My dad just started hyperventilating on the phone and said, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh–” He hung up and told everyone I’m the salutatorian. Really?
When I met up with him a couple minutes later with my mom, I got mad when he started congratulating me for my accomplishment. What accomplishment was there?! I realized my dad was very confused when I tried breaking down the news for him. My dad said it was okay, but I knew it wasn’t. My cousins out of the country were both the salutatorians of their class.
People at the office started congratulating me, and when I tried correcting them, my dad just pulled me aside and told me that he told everyone that I was the salutatorian. Seriously? That’s more embarrassing for me than him, and it hurts more since I’m reminded with every passing greeting I didn’t make it.
Competitions were over.
Tenth grade comes along. I’m bored, and I want to change how I am. I don’t want to be some person bored at home since I’m not in any clubs. On that day, my teacher asked me if I wanted to compete for video game design. We, as a class, made one, and trust me, it is a lot of work. I instantly agreed. She also put me in a competition for animation.
Results? First in both video game design and animation at regionals. Eighth in video game design and first at animation for state. (I sadly don’t go to nationals since video game design takes the top three.)
I called my mom when I found out I placed first for animation. “Mom…? Mom? I failed.”
My mom, hard of hearing, didn’t understand a word I said and just passed the phone on to my dad.
“Dad? Dad… I–I failed.”
“Oh… Oh, Rocky, it’s okay to fail. I mean–”
At this, I burst out laughing. “Fail? What do you mean fail? I got first place!”
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh.”
The lesson? Set your parents’ expectations low–no, I’m kidding XD. Never give up with something just because you fail once. Fail twice, twenty times, or a hundred times, but never give up because one day, you will win.