I can’t remember where I read it, but I recall that a while back I saw something that struck me as very true. To paraphrase the mystery source, when you feel yourself becoming jealous of something that someone else is doing, it’s very likely because you feel like this is something you yourself should be doing.
Now while I can attest to twitches of jealousy while watching acquaintances enjoy their trust funds, for example, that pales in comparison to the rageful yet prim Jealousy-with-a capital-J who has reared her head to hear a friend is writing in a serious and/or recognized way – like getting published, joining a writing group, finding a literary agent, or having their blogs picked up by online magazines.
Am I not a despicable human? Of course I am.
That is not to say that I am not deeply happy for that person at the same time (but only if they really are a true friend of mine 😉 ), and that I wouldn’t promote the crap out of their book/articles/websites etc., but I don’t get possessed by the same burning, ugly little gnome when a friend has reached success with a band or job or, as happened recently with a friend, in provincial politics.
An Ugly Girl-Child in a Buttoned Up Frock
I have been puzzling a lot over this Jealousy. She is a wheedly, sharply ugly girl-child in a frock buttoned right up to the neck, with an odd twist in her mouth. And I have been trying to get to know her better. How can I soften her, this Jealousy-with-a-capital-J? How do I teach her not to hold herself so brittle-ly? Because she is, quite sadly, carrying a shame at not working hard enough to achieve the desire to finish a novel and attempt to get it published. And it is that which is twisting her mouth and making her think such small, bitter thoughts.
And so, if she can’t bring herself to relent a little, how do I get her to at least ignore those feelings (the shame and the disappointment in herself and the anger towards others), so she can concentrate on her own affairs? I think that I have found a small answer – and a direction for her acid tongue.
An Unprompted Smile from the Prim Little Thing
I’m distracting her more by forcing her to blog again. I’ve fed her stingy little soul by writing again. I’ve allowed her to make a friend who has been providing her with some great research and detail for her story. And I could swear the other day she actually uncrossed her ankles , unfolded her hands from her lap, had a little bit of colour in her cheeks, and maybe even quirked a smile unprompted.
She shows promise, poor thing.
How can I not love her just a little?