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We All Have That One Person We Compare Ourselves To (And We Need To Fucking Stop)

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We All Have That One Person We Compare Ourselves To (And We Need To Fucking Stop)
God & Man

We stopped being best friends right before I turned 22; though, now that I think about it with some time and some distance, I think it happened before then. The fight was just a punctuation mark, the final detail to our failed friendship. A mere formality.

The months that followed our end were incredibly difficult. It tore me apart. (Friendship breakups, in my opinion, are far worse than romantic ones.) Whenever something good (or bad) happened, I still had the reflex of going into my phone to text her or call her, but would quickly remember that this wasn’t something I could do anymore. And, to put it frankly and in no poetic terms, this just fucking sucked, man.

I really missed her.

Though, as space and time tend to do, it didΒ eventually start to hurt less. I gradually felt less sad and less angry that we were no longer friends. I started throwing myself into my schoolwork and my writing. I found new friendships and built upon ones I already had. I even exercised sometimes! All and all, it seemed that I was doing okay. I was on the mend.

But to be honest, I wasn’t. Because even though I wasn’t mulling over what I wish I had said or done differently (as much, at least), even though I had stopped feeling so sad, I replaced these feelings with a new habit, if you will:

Comparison.

Because, dammit, if she was going to hurt me and toss me away like I was nothing, I was going to be better than her if it killed me.

Andddd, you can probably guess how this went. (If not, I’ll tell you in one word: horribly.)

It didn’t work at all.

In fact, it became this incredibly toxic, fucked up thing I would do whenever I was feeling badly about myself. A guy just ghosted me for the 30th time this week? She just got engaged. I had $13 in my checking account? She just bought her first home. I gained 17 pounds within the first few months of a job that was driving me insane and drank $2 wine from Kroger every night to salve my wounds? She had abs and was on a beach in Florida (drinking a diet Gin and Tonic, no doubt).

K. Coooooooool.

Of course, you know it wasn’t really about her. It wasn’t even about me trying to be better than her. It wasn’t about her latest selfie that got 100 likes on Instagram because she got a cute haircut for the fifth time this year when I could barely afford or get my shit together enough to get my haircut once every two years. It wasn’t about her being a size 2 and wearing designer jeans while I struggled to lose weight and wore shitty Target leggings. It wasn’t about her getting married to a wonderful guy who treated her with respect and kindness when I couldn’t even get a text back. And, in the end, it wasn’t even about her never responding to my text when I asked to try and repair our friendship all those years ago.

It was all about me and my own insecurity with myself.Β 

Because the truth is, I don’t know her anymore. I know these facts about her, sure. I know these “milestones” she’s reached and how she’s not a failure millennial because she actually has real estate. Blah, blah, blah.

But so fucking what, dude? I mean, good for her, of course, but when did someone else’s timeline have to match my own? When did my path have to be parallel to someone who is inherently different than me in almost every single way?

The thing is, I think we all (at least at one point in our lives) have that one person who we just can’t seem to live up to. We put this idea in our heads about what we should be and what we should do and then slap someone’s face on it who we think fits that mold. It could be our ex boyfriend or girlfriend, an ex friend or a current friend, someone we went to school with or a colleague. We take their likeness and craft it into this impossible standard that we’re never going to reach. Cue self hatred.

And we need to fucking stop. We need to stop projecting our own insecurities onto the world and start looking within and find ways to tackle our demons, or at least find some common ground with them. (Maybe ask them to take the weekend off and tell them they can torture you again on Monday. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I’m 25 and ate ramen for breakfast, for God’s sake.)

But there is one thing I am sure of. The more we start focusing less on what that one person is doing and more on what we are doing and what we actually want out of life, the more we will find peace. The more we will find compassion, not only for ourselves, but for others too.

And in that, maybe we can finally let these people take a break from standing on the pedestals we’ve created for them. They can stretch their legs and finally leave our minds. At least, I’d like to think so.

The thing is, I’m always going to be a hot mess. Some days, I will forget to brush my hair before I leave the house. Some days, a good day is when I actually take the time to shower. I’m never going to get my haircut regularly. I’m probably always going to dye my hair when I’m pissed at a guy with some cheap shit from Target. I’m probably always going to cry when I see a cute dog or when I’m particularly moved by how good and how kind people can actually be. I’m definitely always going to love a little too hard and be a little too much and not always get it right, but you know what?

This is who I am and it’s time I stop fighting myself and start working with myself.

***

I saw my ex best friend again this summer for the first time in three years at the wedding of mutual friends. Before going, I was terrified. Here I was, about to go to this event where the person whose life I believed was infinitely better than mine would be attending. The person who I was convinced was superior to me in every way. The person who I compared myself to whenever something went wrong (and right).

And you know what? It was fine. In fact, it was actually really nice to see her.

It was after the wedding that I realized how much I built her up in my mind.Β  Because the thing is, I have no idea what she thinks about anymore. I don’t know what she does at her job, I don’t know who she voted for in the election. I have no idea what pain she has or what insecurities of her own tease her before she falls asleep. I don’t know what she and her (now) husband fight about and I haven’t a clue about what the last book she read was or what show she’s currently binge-watching on Netflix.

I truly don’t know anything about her. Nothing at all. And you can’t compare yourself to someone you don’t know. So I guess this is me finally dropping out of the race that never really existed in the first place.

And you know what? It feels damn good. TC mark

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