I am an overachiever. This in no way is meant to infer that I was a child prodigy, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company or even that I hold several doctorate degrees. The definition of “overachiever” is “to perform better or achieve more than expected, especially by others”. According to the latter part of this definition, my entire life has been that of a classic overachiever. Confused? Allow me to explain. I tend to do things a tad over the top, above and beyond and definitely more than is expected by others.
Defining myself this way has allowed me to justify behaviors such as being married three times (more than is expected by others, I would rightfully assume), throwing parties with far too many appetizers and far too many cocktails on far too many occasions (this would be performing better, right?) and having a baby at seventeen. You might think my justifying abilities are stretching on that last one, but this is the one I am BEST at justifying. I believe that my reckless and immature behavior that summer was somewhat planned, somewhere in the back of my sixteen-year-old subconscious. You see, I hate yard work. Despise taking out the trash. Have a very small desire to kill bugs. And I definitely never planned to mow a lawn. (Still haven’t. Can we say SUCCESS!) Knowing how unreliable men as boyfriends and husbands can be, I think I was practicing some well thought out overachieving by having a boy. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? Being married three times… well that is clearly an example of my perfectionism colliding with my overachievingism, which can’t be all bad, right?
I do believe that my overachievements started much earlier in life and with greater purpose. For example, when I was four I had a cousin who was two years older than me. She was taller, blonder and had better Barbies. But these were not the things I was jealous of. No way. She had a skill that I wanted so badly. She could read the lyrics to the Grease soundtrack. I stared at those letters that looked so familiar yet so foreign for hours! I begged her to teach me and she would always respond in her sassy little way, “You have to go to Kindergarten to learn how to read like me!” I counted down the days till the prestigious Kindergarten started, only to be epically let down when I discovered all we would do for two and a half hours a day was color and sing. I already knew how to do those things!!! I was already in Girl Scouts, for goodness sake! So, I was forced to do what any self-respecting Grease fanatic would do. I eavesdropped on the first grade class, “borrowed” one of their books and while my cohorts were coloring, I taught myself to read. (I also bragged quite annoyingly to anyone who would listen about my self-taught skill.) And thus, an overachieving monster was born.