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Victory and Defeat

How wins and losses work hand in hand.

Anyone would long for a sweet taste of victory. They want to feel the rush of joy when they win a match or be a part of this pinnacle moment when they receive a scholarship or hold a trophy in their hands. Most people do end up achieving them.

For me, not so much.

When I was younger, I always thought that victory was this unattainable thing that was far beyond my reach. I used to think that victory was only gained by a stroke of luck, and that was not something that came around so easily back in the day. I used to throw a ton of tantrums when I was a kid, whenever I lose a game like Monopoly or chess or memory cards. The tantrum would literally involve me yelling and throwing my hands in the air and stomping away without congratulating the other person on their victory. After all, another person's victory meant my loss. The game's outcome could only have two possibilities and none more. This is a reason why I didn't really like playing dodge ball in gym classes, or playing trivia in history classes, or playing any kind of games in class at all. I also know there will be a chance for me to overreact to my loss if that was the outcome of the game.

And I didn't want people knowing that I could easily turn sour at a loss.

Victory was hard for me. No matter how much effort I put in, I always lose.

I thought I would be the only one acting super sour at things, but as I grew older I've heard of worse things. People would go ways to cheat, and I have heard of people cheating before—it's proven to be a serious offense on many levels in many contexts, whether it is during a school exam or a test or a final match in the Olympic Games or the World Championships. Everyone wants a fair game, but on occasion, there would be a dishonest person in the mix.

I strive not to be that kind of dishonest person, and for me, deliberately breaking rules to gain a victory is worse than an honest loss. I'd be fair to say that I've never really cheated on anything in my entire life. I never take the easy shortcuts. I've always followed the rules. And that would probably be the most honest thing coming from me.

Even so, though, I never felt worthy of myself. I always felt second best, or even worse, when it came to facing some serious head-on competition. 

And that is where, for me, I feel like I can't handle things. Losses really throw me down in the dumps, and I am trying hard to control myself and not throw a tantrum. I'm trying not to become sour. I'm trying not to scream and rage online because that would be really bad sportsmanship. It would prove that I'm a sore loser, something I was when I was younger. But I know some people could feel me whenever they didn't win a contest or get what they have wanted. Their Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and couldn't be put together again.

But as I grew older, I realized that everyone had faced failure at some point in their lives. Not everyone had truly been successful in life and solely bounced off the success that came their way. They've bounced off their losses too. They've reflected from the negative things and made themselves better. Friends all around always came by to console me and help me stand once more. In times when I felt like I was going to crumble, they came around and strengthened my ultimate resolve.

And for me, I think that really helped. There may be two sides to the coin—absolute win or absolute loss—but in the end, there is only one emotion that comes out of it: hope.

There's a fear of humiliation that comes with a loss, but it's only a creation of our own thoughts, it's something that we come up with that gives a scary perception on loss. I hate it when I lose—everyone does—and my fatal flaw eventually lies in the fact that I never really learned from my mistakes. I just always have this fear that I would never be good enough. Instead of looking at how I've improved, I've looked upon how I failed.

But I know that I can't dwell on fear forever. Losses are only temporary. The sweet taste of victory is temporary too. In the end, everything is all just a game. You win some, you lose some. That's just the way life is.

I'm trying my best to get over the sting of defeat because I've felt it so often, and each time it's so fresh and new. But sometimes, with the defeat comes a victory sometime soon. 

And it's something that really helped me realize just how strong of a competitor I still could be. It is only with more experience that we can get better at something. And it is with experience and persistence that eventually would drive us towards our expected victories.

Victories and losses all balance out. There's always going to be that absolute division between a win and a loss, but if we all treat losses like a stepping stone, if we all treat victories like a recognition of how far our skills have brought us, then we'll know that there's still so much out there that we could learn.

Everything is a learning process. Nothing comes to us naturally.

And so I beseech you. If you somehow come across this, I want you all to know that we're not all failures. We're just people who have yet to taste success. Optimism is really the way to go with every failure, and as hard as it is to exercise it's the only way to gain a victory after a loss. It could be hard to come by, but someday, we'll all get there. We'll all win something, and when we do, it would never hurt to celebrate. 

Read next: Stop It!
Clara Lin
Clara Lin

Currently a third year Geography co-op student at the University of Waterloo, Clara loves writing both fiction and nonfiction alike in her spare time apart from playing music on her violin, piano, and trumpet.

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Victory and Defeat
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