It was the third time those words left my lips that night. He was mad. Annoyed that this unschooled, self-taught, younger cousin had beat him. He who had taken chess lesson, who took this game seriously, defeated again.
Buried beneath my sweet young exterior, lay a deeply competitive nature. It disguised itself behind other kindly attributes but as my black knight swept the board towards the solitary white king, my insides started to dance. The jig of someone who has been claimed, victor.
I knew enough then to not gloat. To let the tango in my stomach remain known only to me. Humbleness in these matters is paramount. Even as a ten-year-old, I knew enough diplomacy to understand this. Even then, I hated causing conflict. I didn’t find joy in making others look stupid. I would present him with the ability to lose with grace. It was his decision to take it or not.
Twelve years later, I wonder if my relationship with diplomacy has been confused with a fear of upsetting the balance. Have I become too concerned with the feelings and opinions of others? Is this association a hinderance to my growth? I have decided to change my romance with diplomacy. To take some space, give ourselves a breather. After a time, we can revisit if this is a connection worth entering back into.