Tennis Loss Number _____

Tonight, in semi-collapsing fashion, I lost a totally inconsequential tennis match that, of course, meant a little more to me than it should have, and it’s amazing how even while ruing the loss in a minor way, the emotion of losing, or the stunted adrenaline, or whatever, kindly shoves me into darkness so that I’m thinking of everything that’s wrong with my life, everything I’ve failed to accomplish, the bleak future, and so on. And I wonder if I was hoping that a win would occlude these thoughts for a moment or two, if I’m putting off something painful with these little distractions, or if it’s just the tumbling nature of the brain using the mood to fold in on itself and leap from catastrophe to catastrophe. The last time I really fought anxiety, hard, the silver lining was that it pushed me into a new phase, and of course like anyone else I’m eager to frame something painful as something salutary, the dubious blessing in disguise, and so to some extent I believed then and still believe that some internal mechanism was driving me forward, saying “swim or perish.” And I wonder if something similar is happening now, and if it is, whether I have the energy to answer the demand, and what it means if I don’t. And so I spin myself around, all because I lost a stupid tennis match.

Am I good at the things I need to be good at? Am I secure? Am I doing what I was meant to do? Are my failures minor enough not to become slow disasters? The impossibility of knowing where this is heading has me feeling vulnerable.

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