So, have you ever known one of those people who seemed to be obnoxiously good at everything? You know the type. That guy in high school that was MVP of every sports team. The woman whose house is always spotless, can cook five star meals, always looks immaculate, has two kids who are both straight A students, and is a senior VP at 35.  Or someone who can play any musical instrument they put their hands on.

Well, that’s sort of how I feel playing WoW with my boyfriend. There isn’t a damn thing in this game that I can do as well as him,* never mind actually be better at. He can tank, he can heal, he can do caster, ranged or melee DPS. Any class he rolls, he excels at. Whatever character has struck his current fancy is geared in the best available in seemingly no time. We won’t even talk about how fast he can level from 1 – 80, or how quickly he can grind a profession from nothing to max.

I’m really not uber-competitive normally, but this makes me crazy. Like, seriously crazy. Like, I’m pretty sure a demon has taken over my body & brain crazy.**

He is currently leveling a shaman and has sworn that he will never ever ever spec him elemental because he knows the first time he beats my DPS, I will uninstall the damn game.*** It’s sort of the last thing that I feel like is mine in WoW, like maybe, in some alternate universe, I might be just a little bit better at than him. I don’t want that tested. I work my ass off to be the best I can possibly be, and if he were to just waltz in and do it better? I don’t think I could handle it.

Because I am one of those persnickety people that just doesn’t have fun being bad at something. The list of thing that I really wanted to do I have failed to pursue for that reason in my life is very very long. Flute lessons. Painting, drawing, any kind of art, really. Just about anything you can think of that you need to have some degree of natural aptitude to be successful at – I have tried and failed. I cannot dance just for the joy of dancing without worrying about how ridiculous my white-girl-flail actually looks to others.

I feel like I have to work really really really hard to do what other people seem to be able to do effortlessly in WoW. Sometimes it’s really frustrating for me. Maybe I really am just not that good. Maybe it is due in part to falling in love with a spec that just doesn’t get that much love from the developers. Maybe that’s a convenient excuse. I don’t know.

But sometimes, it’s exhausting to smile and say “grats” because he’s this close to rocking 4-piece T10, and already consistently kicking my ass to hell and back on the DPS meters. I feel this constant pressure to try harder, to do more. In the same amount of time I’ve spent getting Norrah to 71, he’s leveled a shaman to the same point (and nearly passed me), and also leveled a DK into Northrend, leveled a 40-something warlock, and a couple of characters into their mid-20s. Mind you, I brought Norrah’s heirlooms over when I transferred; he had to grind badges for several new sets.

You see, there’s a little voice in the back of my head telling me that if I just tried harder, if I did more research, or grinding, or … something, I could be doing better too. That I’m not dedicated enough. That I’m not putting in the necessary effort to excel. That it all falls on me.

I also know, that no matter how hard I was willing to work, it would never be better enough. Some people just have the natural aptitude, and I don’t think I’m one of those people. I’m not patient enough. I don’t have a high enough tolerance for slogging through the not-fun (and there’s a significant amount of not-fun to the grindiness). I am never going to be as good at this game as I could be. And it’s on me to learn to be ok with that – not on him to slow down or do less or fail more to make me happy.

* – There is one notable exception. I’m good with gold. I can make money with little to no effort, while he struggles for gemming cash everytime he gets an upgrade. Not sure what that says about either of us.

** – I use this excuse frequently when I have a completely illogical issue that makes me rage-y all out of proportion. It’s not my fault, I have a demon. Blame True Blood.

*** – He’s not making it up either. I have threatened precisely this. There are nine other classes, and two other shaman specs. Go excel at those and GTFO of my palm lightning. For serious.