November 14, 2007

Envy

Posted in *cringe*, Guilt, Seven Deadlies, The Angry, The Just a Little Sad, the pretty, The Who, The Why, The WTF at 10:05 am by Dagny Taggart

I don’t believe in love at first sight.  But within 10 minutes of talking to Webster, I was crushing, hard

Nevermind that I was actually very much in love with my boyfriend, or that Webster was so very much not my type physically.  It helped that he was a more attractive version of his type, but it was his brain that bowled me over.  He was noticeably smarter/more knowledgeable than me, especially when it came to words and writing.  When I found out he was engaged, a bizarre feeling crept over me.  By the time he finished mentioning that she (“Belle”) was a bona fide pageant queen who competed successfully on the national level, in addition to being a student at our law school, I was an interesting shade of verdigris.

Fortunately, a severe allergy to the host’s pet rabbit gave me an obvious, if not attractively so, excuse for making my exit.

My crush on Webster soon faded, but for some reason, Belle’s very existence made me crazy.  She was drop-dead gorgeous, petite and feminine with chestnut curls and perfectly tanned skin.  She was a law student, and thus obviously fairly intelligent.  I don’t know that she ever, once, showed the slightest hint of stress or strain – her clothing?  Never.  Wrinkled.

Obviously, I didn’t know this girl at all.  But because I hadn’t fully absorbed the knowledge of how best to handle such situations, because I was in a really negative space, and I let the hypercompetitive surroundings drag me down rather than rising to meet them, I found myself… kind of… smug, when I heard a rumor that she’d clearly put on a few pounds (which she probably needed, let’s face it).  When I heard she’d had some trouble with the bar exam?  I might have smiled a little, if only on the inside.  It was an ugly grimace, I’m sure.

No, I’m not proud.  In fact, I’ll probably continue to feel guilty about this for quite a while.  Because I realized that my envy stemmed from the fact that I didn’t think that I could compare – my insecurities kept me from trying to achieve the things she had that I admired, and I focused that negativity in precisely the wrong direction.

It’s an easy trap for me to fall into, still.  I have to keep a close watch on myself, and remind myself that it’s okay to wish I’d done what someone else has.   It’s okay, so long as I focus on figuring out how to, and believing that I can, do that for myself – instead of wishing they hadn’t.

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14 Comments »

  1. I-66 said,

    Look on the bright side. Something like 40% of the time I read you I have to go to dictionary.com to look something up.

  2. Alias Faux said,

    Fucking A

  3. WiB said,

    I’m not that surprised. I mean, who doesn’t love Webster? I guess you have to sort of get past the laugh, though, and he does seem a bit short for you. Aside from that? Clearly crushable.

    I also find myself vocabularily challenged more often here than most places.

    One thing: first sentence of last para, replace “me” with either “us” or “everyone.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is specific to you. Schadenfreude, anyone?

  4. Virgle Kent said,

    Damn, you seem like the type that would totally jack a bitch with a baseball bat to the knee cap just because she can skate better than you…… that’s kinda hot

  5. Lemmonex said,

    I know this feeling you describe all too well…

  6. Certainly one can focus on the one or two persons who “might” have what seems a perfect life. I doubt they really do have that perfect life but for a moment we can imagine they do. In those situations, find a way to use them as a benchmark for making yourself better. Rise to their level.

    Meanwhile, think about the 98% to 99% of folks who would kill to be just like YOU. Imagine the girls without a singe functioning cell in their brains. (You want fries with that?) Imagine the girls stuck in dead end careers with no hope of ever being single, smart and fabulous. Do that for awhile and pretty soon you’ll see there are tons of people who envy you. That feeling is so much better than you envying them.

    TAG

  7. I-66: OF course! Writing things that are incomprehensible to intelligent readers was precisely my goal. 😉 😀

    Alias Faux: I’m glad you approve.

    WiB: Hahahaha! I didn’t even think of that reference, so focused was I on the lexicographer. The “Webster” referenced herein has quite the impressive… vocabulary.

    I try to avoid speaking for others, but – it’s comforting on some level to know I’m not the only one. 🙂

    Mr. Kent: Actually, I’d prefer a telescopic baton, or “spring cosh”. I mean, what? 😉

    Lemmonex: As I said, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one – though your evident writing and culinary talents would seem to leave little room for envy! 🙂

    TAG: Sorry about the comment issues – I don’t know what WordPress’ deal is!

    I think I’ll focus on the first part of things. For some reason, the notion of being envied by others makes me vaguely uncomfortable. But channeling that energy into reaching new, positive goals for myself seems like the only non-reprehensible way to handle things, from where I sit. 🙂

  8. well said…bravo…
    xoxo

  9. Matt said,

    You know, it’s quite possible she was jealous of a few of your… *ahem* …talents. If not, she totally should have been. 😛

  10. Jo said,

    I think maybe it was aggravated by the fact that you never met her. You built her up to be something impossible…

    Or maybe that’s what I did.

  11. Lisa said,

    That’s very mature of you. I think most people do that in one way or another. What sets you apart is recognizing it as negative and trying not to.

  12. vvk said,

    I envy sane people… sometimes.

  13. suicide_blond: Thanks! 😀

    Matt: Well, she didn’t have to buy her own tiara, but at least I can reach things on high shelves – that’s got to count, right? 😉

    Jo: Well, while I didn’t interact with her much, she did attend the same law school. I think that I probably did build her up a bit, but she’s got a lot going for her, too – which made it easier, no doubt. Ugh! 😛

    Lisa: Well, thanks. I’m working on keeping it under control, really. But every once in a while, those voodoo doll kits are quite tempting. 😕

    vvk: Keep in mind that you could just be envying the illusion of sanity. 😀

  14. I think so much of our culture is predicated on pretending envy doesn’t exist, or that it’s some emotional flaw or mental problem. Maybe people are afraid to confront it, but it’s a naturally occurring thing (I think) and flat out ignoring it is probably not the wisest course of action, as much as we would like to have everyone believe that we don’t envy them. (I actually was thinking about this a lot last summer)


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