I don't know where this pressure came from. I can't blame my parents because it has always felt internal. Like any other parent, my mother celebrated the A grades and the less-than-A grades she felt there was no need to tell anybody about. But not acknowledging the effort that ended in a less than perfect result impacted me as a child. If I didn't win, then we wouldn't tell anyone that I had even competed to save us the embarrassment of acknowledging that someone else was better. Keeping the secret made me think that losing was something to be ashamed of, and that unless I was sure I was going to be the champion there was no point in trying. And there was certainly no point to just having fun.
I wondered if that's what aging felt like. That desire and reality were dueling until the day you die, that nobody every got to a place of peace. I had always wanted to get old so I didn't have to care anymore, but I began to think that it would be best just to skip the getting older part and just die.