Friday, December 30, 2011

The Gift of Losing

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey.
- Beck from "Loser"

I'm not a terribly competitive person by nature, but I enter contests all the time.

I started paying attention to this blog in earnest because I lost a blogging contest this fall. I won a whole ton of new and delightful connections with such interesting people that I would not have made through the other blogging gig. I also won the freedom to write my own blog however I want to without trying to fit a particular mold. (As a friend of mine said shortly after we met: "You're not very mold-y, are you?")

I got to create this cake by entering and losing the Edible Book Contest.
Niel Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book"
I won the opportunity to see how amazingly talented some of my neighbors in this city are. I also won the opportunity to participate in one of the most delightfully nerdy events I have participated in since I was in Oddysey of the Mind in 6th grade.

I wrote the poem for tomorrow's post to enter and lose a poetry contest sponsored by the library last year. I won the opportunity to hear an 83 year old man read his poem about attending university on the G.I. Bill after World War 2. It was an amazing poem about not quite fitting in that awarded me the opportunity to weep openly in front of strangers at the library and feel all right about that. I also won another chance to see how amazingly talented some more of my neighbors in this city are. And as an extra honor, I got to participate in a drum circle without any sort of self-consciousness for the first time since college. That particular contest was a big win in my book and I can't wait to lose again this next year. 

In all of these and many other little contest endeavors, I have won the opportunity to show my monkeys without words how to take a risk and enjoy the process. I have certainly shown them how to lose gracefully. I have won the best cheering section anyone could ask for in my husband and kids. And I have won the satisfaction that comes with being a part of something

The sort of people who nod their heads and smugly mouth clich├ęs will tell you "winning isn't everything". I disagree. You just have to know what you've won. 


  1. I won finding you. And someone who writes the word "Amn't" in icing. I feel like it's a blue ribbon month! ~ Red Dirt Kelly

    P.S. My word was isses (like Isis - - oh might Isis, Isis, Isis...) That was awesome. I won a cool sign in word!

  2. Nice book... I'd eat that! Freakin' awesome post btw ;)

  3. Your conclusion about knowing what you have won, reflects your Oddysey of the Mind experience, where the focus may have been the project, but the result was clearly more about what the kids gained in terms of learning to work together to have fun. I loved coaching those kids, and I wish I could have presented your view with as much clarity. Awesome post.

  4. Doing Is Winning, thank you for your words and recorded moments.

  5. I feel the same way about winning a fantastic support network of other bloggy-minded people. Wonderful outlook, thanks for sharing.

  6. "You just have to know what you've won." I love that!

  7. I'm not competitive either but have been myself entering more and more contests but they all are more like personal challenges to win no matter what when personal growth and connecting with others is part of the package. Your lovely post echoes my sentiment exactly.

    A book you can eat! I can think of nothing more perfect than that.

  8. I like the writing, the friends, and the challenges of blogging. Professionally, I am competent and confident and will be competitive about anything. Personally I am neither confident nor competitive. Blogging is in the personal realm so pardon me while I blend into the wall, please. :)

  9. That cake is amazing--and so is your way of assessing wins and losses. It's all about perspective, baby. ;)

  10. If it was the central library, seems like openly weeping over poetry there would seem sort of like a spiritual experience.

    I used to be a judge for OM :).

    Word is gyncul

  11. @Jane - Everything at the Central Library is some sort of a spiritual experience. Alas, it wasn't the Central branch. Gyncul sounds like it might be painful.

    @Everyone else who has thus far commented - You dear, sweet people. I don't think I tell you all often enough how much I appreciate what all of you bring to my life through your interaction with my little blog.


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