Some good news! The books I ordered for Can Con have arrived. It looks like I will have all I need for my table there. Yay! Set up is taken care of; thanks to the Amazing Flatmate. A schedule is almost ready to be released, so I'll soon be able to tell you where I'll be and when. Yay!
Some bad news! I discovered last night thanks to my Kung Fu brother who is also a G.P. that I likely have a partially torn tricep. Ugh! On the one hand, I'm really ticked off it happened. On the other, I'm glad that the pain I was feeling last night, which resulted in my really pathetic attempts at some of the exercises (which I had to quit because of the pain... I hate quitting), was actually for a reason. I wasn't just being a total wimp. So, no weights for me for a month or so, though I think I'll do more core exercises while my arm heals up. I am sad. I was looking forward to getting stronger faster. Oh well.
Neither of these things have anything to do with what I intended today's post to be about. I just needed to celebrate and whinge in that succession. I've done it now and now I feel better.
On with today's post!
Last night, I read this article. First of all, I want to commend the author. It's not easy to look in the mirror and recognise the true source of feelings like this. Most people don't. They bellyache and groan and throw tantrums like overgrown toddlers, and never dig any deeper than their own bruised egos. They snipe at the perceived reason for their hurt - other people. Successful people. They tell those people to go away. To stop. To do something else and just cease and desist with all your success already! (Looking at you, Ms. Ruth Graham)
They hurl insults. They get angry at the person in question. They spread their indignation and their disdain in an effort to tear the other person down, to minimise their success. They may call that success luck. Or chance. Or blame it on the successful person's looks ("they only made it because they're pretty" (or some such rubbish)), or perhaps they "were total sluts and slept their way to the top." They will call that success anything other than what it is: deserved.
Some people go so far as to attempt to sabotage the success or even the life of the person whose success inspired their envy.
I know this condition as Tall Poppy Syndrome. For those of you who don't know, this syndrome is
"a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers." (thank you Wikipedia for a better definition than the one I tried to come up with).
The fact of the matter is, just as the author states, the problem is not the other person. That person's success isn't the issue. The issue lies with the people perceiving some deeply personal slight from another's success. The issue lies with how the injured party deals with the success of another person.
Envy is a perfectly normal emotion to have. It is even reasonable. It's tough to be plugging away at something all your life, only to be overtaken by someone else. It's hard to sit back and watch the world celebrate someone else, while you are ignored; sitting in a corner with tears streaming down your face wondering what it is they have that you do not.
I know it's hard. I am, it has to be said, an incredibly jealous person. I always have been. And there are so many people I am jealous of. So, so, so many.
There are all the women I know personally who are so much more beautiful than I am. I'm not talking about movie stars or models. I'm talking friends and family members. There are a whole lot of them, and every so often I feel the stabbing icicle in my chest that is envy when I look at them.
There is the wonderful Leonie Dawson, who has built an incredible, heartfelt business for herself. And has a beautiful family. And just has her shit together, you know? I went to high school with her. The personality you see shining bright and glorious on her website and throughout her business, I can guarantee you that's genuine. She's really is that awesome. Always has been. And I've been watching her build this incredible business and family and life from the start. And I know she has worked, and continues to work, her arse off. All of her success is definitely deserved. And I'm still so fucking jealous you would not believe.
Free plug: If you are looking to start a business and don't know where to turn, Leonie has all the resources you could possibly need, and has also built an incredible network of like-minded entrepreneurs which you can tap into at any time. I highly recommend her services.
I'm jealous of anyone who isn't living pay cheque to pay cheque. Seriously. Jealous.
I'm so very jealous of the artistic talent of my mother, and of my friend and Kung Fu sister Caroline. Seriously though, they're amazing.
Speaking of Caroline, I am so envious of her strength, and of the fact that she keeps getting to work on it while I watch from the sidelines moping like I'm back in high school and Formal season is approaching.
You get the point. I'm jealous a lot. There is a lot of green running in my blood.
So I get envy, I really do.
I do not get Tall Poppy Syndrome, and I never will. I don't understand how trying to destroy someone else in in any way helpful to anything. It's simply not constructive. Wouldn't that energy be better spent if put to use towards one's own success instead of tearing another down (or trying to)? Does it really make people feel better to hurt someone else? Because that would make me feel more miserable.
Envy is natural. I am not looking down my nose at anyone who feels it, even if the envy seems stupid or silly. I am looking down my nose at anyone who acts in spite. Petty people are obnoxious.
One cannot help how one feels. What can be helped is how one reacts. Emotions are what they are. They will always be. Actions can be changed and or controlled. That's the thing about possessing a brain. It is possible to halt and think, "Wait. What good is this going to do? Who is this helping?" and most importantly and unfortunately very rare, "Why am I acting this way?"
So to the author of the Salon article, Mr. Nathan Rabin, I referenced: sir, you are well within your rights to feel envy. You are also incredibly brave for admitting it. Few would. And I admire you all the more for recognising that John Green is not the problem, that he has done nothing wrong. It takes wisdom to see through the emotional haze, and it takes great strength to examine oneself so closely. I salute you.
Self-examination is scary. We don't often do it because we may just find out we are the cause of the shit we've been blaming on everything and everyone else. We may just be the monsters we are so afraid of. Self-examination takes work, and it's hard work to unpack all the hurt. Self-examination takes courage. Facing that hurt squarely, poking at it, turning it over, often having to feel it all over again is an enormous act of courage.
I salute all of you who do it.
I wish more people did.
TL;DR: Envy is natural and you shouldn't feel ashamed if you feel it. Acting out of spite is petty and obnoxious and you should feel bad if you do it. And probably get a therapist. In fact, everyone should get a therapist. We all have shit that needs to be sorted out.