How to be a Loser

Keyukemi Ubi
7 min readDec 8, 2023

안녕하세요 (Yes, hangul is my latest obsession. Go figure)

Phew! Finally, the year is ending. It's been a long one. Well, at least it has been for me.

When December came around, I wondered what would be the best way to end my year-long commitment to posting every month. I wanted to write something mindblowing, but you must make do with this.

At the beginning of the year, I told myself I would write at least once every month. I started with writing twice a month, but let's just say it wasn't sustainable, so I focused on what my abilities could handle, i.e. once a month.

Writing wasn't part of my goals this year, but it was a part of myself that I had abandoned for a while and wanted to explore again. It's been an insane run (don't worry, don't get sad; I am not going anywhere. But don't be surprised when I don't write for a while).

Speaking of goals, I had a few at the beginning of the year; I won't talk about them just yet because that isn't what this essay is about. Today, I will give you a beginner's guide on being a loser because that is what I felt like for the last few weeks- a loser.

A picture of a girl throwing a jab at her coach during boxing training
My hands are so fast, the jab is blurry (LOL)

I am the Head and not the Tail.

I remember saying this phrase a lot as a child. Well, my parents made me say it. But now, as an adult, I think about it: who then is the tail? I always tell people I am not competitive, which is largely true, depending on the subject of the competition. But even in my non-competitiveness, being the "tail" doesn't feel good.

I must say the pipeline from gifted child to anxiety/depression-riddled adult is pretty accurate. It's not just an online sensation or another buzzword; it's a real phenomenon that some people experience daily. I think one of the reasons for this is that most of us didn't learn how to lose from a young age.

You see, we learn a lot of things as children, such as how to be a good person, speak, walk, study, excel, be kind, share, win, etc; the good stuff and what you need to survive. If you are like me, you never really know what it feels like not to have things go the way you want. I faintly remember bragging about how getting a B or C in a course was the minimum for me, even if I didn't try.

With experiences like this, we grow up with a veil of illusions, becoming insane optimists. We grow up thinking that things will always go well and we will always win.

Right? Well, wrong! Life is a mean b*tch who likes to throw curve balls. Once you begin to experience the insurmountable hurdles of life, the scales from your eyes, and the real deal begins.

While dealing with the myriad of feelings of not having things go how I wanted them to, I realized that I wasn't taught how to deal with bad things or feelings. No one taught me how to manage sadness, fear, envy, jealousy, resentment or even anger. We seem to forget that these are valid emotions and feelings with their uses in our overall human experience that need to be learnt, understood and handled.

Take the hit! It's part of the game!

This is what one of the fitness trainers at the gym yelled at me when I decided to have a sparring session with a more experienced boxer at my gym. I have always wanted to know at least one self-defence skill, so I picked boxing as my foray into that world a few months ago.

When the session started, and I saw the jab from my opponent coming for my face, I felt my life flash before my eyes. Following boxing rules, we had three 3-minute rounds with a minute of rest each time. For those 12 minutes, I can swear I saw the pearly gates at least a thousand times.

Don't worry, I wasn't beaten up badly, just a few hits here and there; it turns out I am really good at defence and running away. But while doing that, I couldn't get a hit on my opponent. Then, I heard the trainer yelling at me, and it hit me: "Ah, If I am gonna have a chance at beating this person, I need to properly get in the ring with them and take a few to land a few", and that is what I did (I lost. But, I got a few hits).

After the session, I spent a lot of time thinking (I mean obsessively thought about it) about the fiasco. I realized I never really thought about how it would feel to be hit. I only thought about hitting others (when necessary, I am a Lover and a Fighter. It depends on who is on the other side of the table) and winning (That silly optimism again).

It became apparent to me that if am going to keep living (and boxing), I need to learn how to take a beating (cos, damn! life will beat you up!). It is inevitable, a right of passage if you must call it that. Granted, some circumstances, which you have no control over, i.e. place of birth, family wealth, etc, can insulate you from some beatings, but it comes either way. Rejection, heartbreak, sickness, loss, deceit, betrayal, etc., come for us all. The question is, how do you deal with it?

As we all know, life doesn't come with a manual. Everything we do and know today, we learnt.

A lady doing some boxing training with her coach
PS: I generally prefer to use media I make

̶E̶n̶j̶o̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ or Enduring the Process

Achieving Goals are moments, all of life is Processes
- Unknown

This has been a learning curve for me as someone who is always goal-focused. I can't remember where I saw or heard this, but adopting this philosophy of living is how I have gotten through this period of my life. By focusing on the process, enduring and enjoying it, I can enjoy every little crumb of wins and endure the losses (and the few times when the masochism kicks in, I revel in the pain, too).

We tend to focus on our goals often, and when we fail to achieve those aims, we lose sight of the other, more minor achievements. They are considered irrelevant because they are intangible and probably unquantifiable.

But the truth is, you will live life (the process) more than you will have those moments/milestones. The moments are the outliers: the blue moons and the four-leaf clovers of your life. One must find a way to deal with everyday life and find joy regardless of the milestones.

I wouldn't say I like self-help books (or motivational speakers). I admit there was a point in my life I was obsessed with them, but now that I am a pessimistic adult (with a tinge of cynicism), I roll my eyes at most of them and all the bullshit they have to say. So, I am really not trying to write one (or be one).

What I am trying to say is that you need to figure out your way of accepting the darkness, the sad, dirty and murky part of life. I am not saying you have to take it in good faith; smile, be happy or laugh about it. But I am saying that you must be accepting of it because it is there, and it does come at you, whether you want it or not. It is okay to be hurt, angry, resentful and envious. But in the end, what matters is what you do with these feelings.

Do you keep running away? Do you get back in the ring and try to land a few hits of your own? By the way, getting back in the ring isn't a guarantee that you will win, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, no? (don’t look at me. Kelly Clarkson said it, not me)

Or you can also choose to sit it all out and wallow (That’s an excellent option if you ask me).

Okay, you made it here. So how do I handle losing? I rant, and I complain; you just spent the last few minutes reading a well-written, flowery rant. Now, If you were expecting me to give you a step-by-step guide on how to lose and deal with it, I am sorry to disappoint, but you need to lower your expectations. I shall be doing no such thing. Like you, I am still figuring shit out.

Well then, this will likely be my last post this year, or at least before Christmas (F* uck, I still have to write my year-in-review post). So I would like to say:

P.S. I know things are challenging now, but I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Here is a short playlist for the losers. I hope it helps you feel better.

With the prospect of holiday joy,
All my love
Keyu 🖤