On Jealousy

I spent a lot of time in my younger years being jealous of other people’s talents rather than focusing on my own. I wasted a lot of time wishing. I wished for things other than what I had and did things I wasn’t good at for the sake of being like those people. Like, I tried out of a musical recently. I’m a good singer, a decent actor, and have absolutely no passion for the craft. I used to once, but when I thought about getting cast, all I thought of was all the work, not the pleasure. I was in a pipe and drum band for five years. When I came to Ottawa, I thought about joining one up here but they are all Grade 4 and 5 bands (that’s the highest). Just like the musical, all I could think of was the work. It’s almost ridiculous how much time I have wasted wanting instead of enjoying.

I wish I could say those times are over but I still spend a lot of time wishing instead enjoying, being jealous instead of being satisfied. My jealousy is more focused now, at least. Now I realise I don’t want to be the musical theatre girl or the pipe and drummer anymore. Those were periods in my life I loved. I loved performing but the key to that sentence is that it is past tense. I know what I want now and that is to be a writer.

Part of being a writer is that you read a lot and in reading a lot, I have a lot of opportunities to be jealous. Inwardly, I realise that someone else’s talents cannot diminish my own. Outwardly, I panic at every word I write and think “this person did this already” or “that person could say this so much better”. When I read something that I think is amazing, I can’t help but grumble a little. When I read something I didn’t like, I can’t help but feel a little superior. Instead I should be enjoying the written word for what it is, whether it’s great or not, whether I think it’s better than mine or not.

I hope I’m not the only person that feels this way. It’s something that I want to work on in the future. I want to be able to just enjoy reading. I know I’m not going to be the next J.K. Rowling or have the staying power of Charles Dickens. I’m not expecting that. I guess my point is that we should put down the measuring stick and enjoy the ride, for better or worse.

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