The Nasty Bits of Envy

searchAs I write this today, I’m in a bit of a funk.  Nothing too alarming, mind you.  In my true “T.M.I.” fashion, despite turning forty-four on Tuesday, I’m not hitting menopause yet. Hence, my monthly “adventure” is on its way.  Apart from that, it was a rough morning dealing with our kids.  They clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  After dropping them off at school, I stepped in a small mountain of chicken poo and I tracked it all over our floors until I finally noticed it.  On the brighter side of things, it’s helpful for me to blog while crabby, as writing is such a great catharsis.  Plus I don’t have to cut a chunky check to either a psychiatrist or a therapist.

Anyway, these things I mentioned above are small matters.  Whenever I glance at the news, I am reminded that life could be much worse.  The fact that I’m keeping bipolar relapse at bay is enough of a cause for daily celebration.

So, what are the nasty bits, exactly?  Well, I must begin with mentioning author Anthony Bourdain. One of his many books is titled The Nasty Bits.  While his title refers to the edible parts of animals that most North Americans would never eat in their wildest dreams (tete de veau/calf’s head, anyone?), I thought of the title in relation to my pesky envy problem.

I have nasty bits of envy rising up frequently.

Over the past few months I’ve returned to writing regularly,both  as a hobby (this blog) and for work (my book).  While writing has been gratifying, I’ve become too caught up with author comparisons.  Comparisons can be odious indeed.  (I wish I could take credit for coining that phrase, but alas, it was created circa 1440 by John Lydgate.)

At least I’ve come to terms with the fact that my book, once published, will not become a bestseller.  The subject matter I’m writing about isn’t mass market material, and I can accept that.  I am writing the book that I wish I had when I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, plain and simple.  If it helps only a handful of readers, I’ll be totally thrilled!

I had a junior high school friend who went on to become a bestselling writer, a highly respected professor, and a winner of numerous mega-prestigious writing awards.  Her fan base is massive and almost cult-like.  One of her books was even made into a feature film with a “big name” star.  While I’m happy for her, I’ll admit I’ve had pangs of green as well.  I’m not going to name her because after my botched-blogging (discussed in yesterday’s post), I’m sure she would find this comment and rake me over some coals.

I keep reminding myself, “You are writing first and foremost for yourself.  You are not writing to win a Pulitzer Prize.”  One of my favorite authors Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle In Time) comes to mind.  Wrinkle, which has had phenomenal success over the decades, was rejected by many a publisher until it found a home at Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  L’Engle even had an entire decade of rejection and almost gave up writing when she hit forty.  That kind of brutal rejection has occurred with many other famous authors as well.

Meanwhile, my husband’s book Quest for Flight – John J. Montgomery and the Dawn of Aviation in the West has won many awards of its own!  In fact, this weekend he’s being honored  in Hollywood, Los Angeles.  Quest for Flight won the Great Southwest Book Festival’s Regional Literature Award.  I ‘m proud of him and also genuinely thrilled for him – and I only have a smidgen of envy regarding his accomplishments, which I joke about openly with him.  I called his book “the other woman” during his years of writing it, and he was able to take that in stride.

Fortunately my love for him overtakes my envy and smushes it.  He has always encouraged me to write during the fifteen years we’ve been together.  Craig even calls me the “real” writer in the family, as I was making money from my articles long before he received his first royalty check.  It has also been awfully convenient that he can give me advice culled from his seven-year-long experience writing his book and working with the University of Oklahoma Press.

While blogging has been a surprisingly fulfilling way to write, I’ve gotten way too caught up in the blogging popularity game. (blogularity?) WordPress makes it easy to spend all day analyzing  your blog statistics, which can be fun, but it can also be discouraging.  When I discover a brilliant blog with twenty thousand subscribers in comparison to my eighty-seven followers, it takes the wind out of my sails.  Let me re-phrase that: I allow the mega-blog to take the wind out of my sails.

Yesterday I was Facebook surfing and visited a page belonging to someone with a fulfilling-sounding life that many people would give their eyeteeth to enjoy.   She’s a beautiful person, inside and out.  She wrote a comment that gave me pause; however, writing to her friends that Facebook had a tendency to make her feel “less-than” rather than good enough or even great.  

I thought, “No way!  If Facebook affects her like that, then what can it do to the rest of us?”  

I’ve already won the only prize worth having as far as I’m concerned: my family & stability despite having my insidious bipolar disorder.  There is no need to get caught up with the “not being enough” syndrome.  I’m about to have a session with my counselor, and now I know what to bring up with her today.

She’s not a blogger, nor on Facebook.  (Ah!  The horror, the horror!)  But she does all kind of other cool things, plus she’s a wife, mom and therapist.  My counselor has been totally supportive of my writing and she believes that in sharing my experiences through a book, I’ll  definitely help others.  She’ll be able to shed light on my feelings of envy and insecurity – she knows me very well.   After our meeting, my face will turn from green to rosy pink, and I’ll keep you posted on how I handle my envy  in the months to come!

images-2images-1

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “The Nasty Bits of Envy

  1. We do get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, don’t we. BTW, love that photo of Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield. OMGosh, as if Jayne had anything for Sophia to be jealous of!
    You, my dear, have plenty of gifts others don’t have; do not disparage them. The thing is, you choose to use your gifts to uplift and encourage others. That is a huge gift of its own. Bless you, Dyane.

    1. Isn’t that photo telling, Susan? It’s almost *too* good and I’ve wondered if it was possibly staged? I don’t know the story behind it and it would be interesting to find out!

      You are so kind to me – thank you!!!! Sometimes I do aim to encourage people and uplift them, and that’s the best use of a blog as far as I’m concerned! But oftentimes I write posts out of anger, and while it feels awfully good to vent, I’ve worried about the effect my anger has had on readers. (Mind you, I don’t stay up all night fretting about this, but I’d rather enlighten & educate instead of be so vitriolic.)

      Comments like yours stay with me and keep me going. Lots of love & blessings to you, dear Susan!

  2. You are so funny, Jessica! You can “like” it if I’m envious! LOL. The therapy session went well – she’s a very positive person (not too sugar-sweet though) and her goodmood’tude always rubs off on me…at least for sixty minutes!

    We actually talked about all kinds of other stuff, though, not about that topic. We can take a look at it at the next session since my envy isn’t going to magically disappear anytime soon. :0

    Wishing you a ***good*** weekend!
    Dy

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s