Thought Catalog
March 8, 2015

That Familiar Flush Of Envy

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What is the issue?
Unsplash / David Di Veroli
Unsplash / David Di Veroli

If there’s one thing that’s going to ruin me, it’s my envy. My envy always visits me on quiet weekend nights when I should be taking care of myself, but instead I’ll find myself down rabbit holes of the internet which will serve up plenty of evidence as to how far I still have to go, where I’m not measuring up, etc, etc, et-fucking-cetera. The internet can be a bitch when you struggle with envy and competitiveness. It can be your own worst enemy’s sidekick, perfectly showing you everything you haven’t done, how many people you have yet to connect with, and where you haven’t measured up yet. If there’s one thing the internet excels at, it’s providing a breeding ground for the worst kind of comparison. And, I am certainly not above finding myself on someone’s Facebook page and feeling that flush in my face, that inadequacy deep in my belly, that ugly need to be better than others as a way to know I am special. I hate that fucking need.

You see, I’m not the kind of person who is driven by absolving my own envy. Jealousy will break me, render me paralyzed. There is nothing worse for my writing or my creativity than the flush in my face, the inadequacy in my belly, that ugly need. Do you see? I am so overcome with fucking envy right now that the only thing I can write about is the envy.

I know all the things about jealousy, too. I know that I feel that inadequacy against all my better judgments. I know better than to feel like this. But, knowing better doesn’t always translate into feeling better. So, while my rational brain tells me to stay in my own fucking lane, my gross need to be The Best is the one running the show. (Even calling my need “gross” or “ugly” is defeating. I should not be judging myself for feeling anything, but my envy brings out all the irrational parts of me.)

I know that my envy is showing me insecurity in myself. I know that numbers on the internet are an especially fucked kind of illusion. I know that fame, money, likes, followers, all these little signifiers of validation do not serve as currency for love, passion, happiness, or joy. I KNOW THAT MY ENVY IS DOING NOTHING FOR ME RIGHT NOW.

And yet! I shall wallow!

Comparison does nothing for me. It does not fuel me. I am not motivated by exerting superiority over someone else. I am fiercely in competition with an idea of who I am that I constantly remind myself I do not measure up to. This is my own fucked up way of giving myself motivation. It sucks. I work hard on trying to unpeel the layers of this competitiveness with myself, but I have moments (like tonight!) when the beast comes back and tries to convince me that I am not valuable, not worthwhile, not… good enough.

Good enough is the prison I put myself in as punishment for, oh I don’t know… everything? I know that I do not need to earn my worth in this world, that merely existing is enough. I do not pray to the gods of materialism. I do not allow myself to believe that I am not worthy of what I have. But, I do allow myself to believe that I am not worthy for what I want and that is a pretty shitty (and big) distinction. And so, when I find myself on someone’s Twitter or Facebook or whatever who is doing something similar to what I’m doing and they are—according to the numbers—outpacing me, I can lose my fucking mind. Truly.

Is it productive? No. Is it human? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? Observe it. Notice it. Allow it. Let that shit go eventually and stay in my own lane. Do my own thing. That’s all I can really do. That, or give up. (Nope.)

That’s it. That’s where I’m at. No answers. No tying this up with a pretty bow. Because, it’s okay to not feel okay. I allow myself that. It’s okay that I’m in the sludge of my envy right now. So, wherever you’re at, whatever unsavory feelings you’ve got brewing in that brilliant mind of yours, let it happen. No fucking sense fighting it. Only makes it worse. TC mark

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