Thursday, April 22, 2010

Making Me Look Bad

As your standard Type-A, overachieving, perfectionist freak, Katrina does not like meeting people who are apparently perfect. (She also doesn't like meeting people who talk about themselves in the third person all the time, so she's switching to the first person now).

I realize that most people are not as perfect as they seem, since some people insist on thinking that MY life must be perfect, which is funny. But, it turns out that after getting married, graduating with a the humanities from an Ivy League university, and getting first a research job and then an honest-to-goodness postdoc, I still sometimes feel bad about myself. Some of that is textbook overachiever low self-esteem, resulting from insufficient experience with failure early enough in life to adapt to it. Some of it is that fact that I have a back problem that is preventing me from exercising vigorously, and so I feel like a blob. The third reason is that I keep meeting [drum roll] . . . The People Who Were Put on the Planet to Make Me Look Bad. Here are some examples:

--marathon- and half-marathon runners and triathletes: Why are so many of my Facebook friends taking up these kinds of physical challenges? Why are all of the graduates from my undergrad university, who then insist on sending in pictures of the finish line to the alumni magazine?

--people from my year in grad school who got assistant professorships right away: Ok, some are crazy smart, but others are indistinguishable from me except luckier, I guess. But nothing succeeds like success in academia, and so as I write this they are advancing by another increment in their careers.

--people from my year in grad school who have deals with publishers already: The next person who asks me about my book manuscript is getting a patsch.

--people (okay, women) who work as much as I do and STILL make a huge Shabbat dinner and/or lunch every week, especially if they also have 1 or more kids pulling at their skirts as they do it: I am a perfectly adequate but slow cook and need to put at least some of my life on hold in order to make a meal.

And, finally:

My sister-in-law (TH's brother's wife): I like SIL personally, I really do. She is not very demonstrative, but I think that she likes me as well. Here is what SIL does:
--works full-time+ for a major corporation (you have definitely heard of it)
--has two kids, 3 and 5
--kids are in daycare, but SIL has no other help (housekeeping, etc.) other than a cleaning lady every other week, and BIL works all the time, so she does almost everything for the kids and the house
--plays the piano very well
--makes a tasty cake from scratch for her family members, including MIL and FIL, on their birthdays, to the birthday boy/girl's specifications
--goes running regularly

This is why it doesn't pay to be a Type-A, overachieving, perfectionist freak. Someone you know will always be better at it than you will, and instead of accepting that and moving on, you feel bad. So I urge Type-B-ness on my readers.

But while we're on the subject, readers, who makes YOU look bad?