In mid-December, I very quietly entered the Writer’s Digest Short Story competition. A day or so earlier I had received an email from Writer’s Digest reminding me that the competition deadline was coming up, and for a moment I didn’t think anything really of it. I had entered only one other Writer’s Digest competition years ago, with little success, and so I debated whether or not it would be worth entering again now. My writing skills had increased, I thought, but the genre thing always tended to be a sticking point in a lot of these competitions. If nothing else I decided, no one has to know. I told only my mother and I think maybe my boyfriend that I was even going to enter, mostly because, in the chance I didn’t win, I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of it. It was a lesson I learned when I applied for a new position with my job. The first time I had been vocal and talked with most everyone I knew, and when I didn’t get it, I was both heartbroken and a little embarrassed. The second time around, three months later, when the opportunity came up again, I kept my application to myself. That time I got the position and I learned a valuable lesson too, so when it came time to entering this competition, I opted to keep it to myself that I had any designs to do so, until such times as I either won or lost. So why am I talking about it now given that I did lose? Partly because I wanted to share my feelings, about the situation; which I’m kind of conflicted about— on the one hand I’m disappointed of course, on the other, I can’t help but feel that losing the competition was a fitting end to the otherwise exhausting month that tends to be February. Frankly given the 2016 we left and what 2017 could be, it just feels like the icing on a shitty cake and I can’t help but be amused by it low-key.