Your success is a direct indictment on my failures. The world has rewarded you, hypothetical reader, with a list of accomplishments and achievements, while simultaneously instilling disappointment and disasters on my path. It’s what the gods clearly desire, whatever those forces are that control every aspect of our being, that I’m an awful loser who falls face down whenever I try to move forward rather than stand still. I can’t even begin to list the things that I’ve witnessed family members, friends (the very, very few current and former ones), acquaintances, rivals, and other assorted randos come away with while I drift aimlessly, further and further from any semblance of self-satisfaction or peace. You’re only successful because I’m a sad disaster of a human being, a wasteful space of existence that should take the hints from the universe: you suck, now go take your shithole place in the corner and leave the rest of them alone.
I wish I was entirely joking about the previous paragraph, and it was simply a clearcut example of the sarcastic state of mind that these here blogs describe depression as. But there’s too much truth in there, too much basis in the reality of my mind, and how I perceive my personal weaknesses and letdowns. No one is successful just because I’m not, of course, nor is it fair to say unequivocally that I am a failure and others are not. Our lives, and the world we live in, aren’t black and white that way, and we don’t live in an either/or society. Everything we do, and everything we encounter, takes place in that messy gray area. And there are, in some bizarro way, things I’ve accomplished and lived through that others are jealous of, as well. I don’t know what being a success would look or feel like for me, and I’m not sure when or how I’ll unlock that mystery. But it sure seems like everyone else has discovered the secret while I’m stuck holding the bag.
Jealousy is a nasty emotion, a dismally ruinous sentiment that clogs our mind, often leaving behind numerous dark, inky stains on our better judgements and sensibilities. It will fester, and linger, and hang over your head like the storm cloud that floats above Eeyore, without mercy, until it shatters and rains down upon us. It keeps us stagnant, keeps us from putting in the necessary work on our own selves required to grow and evolve. I was raised to believe we’re not supposed to covet, because some stones, that were etched by an old dude after a burning bush told him to, say so (I’m paraphrasing). And it’s easy to see why that particular “sin” was included alongside murder, theft, and, most importantly, not using the lord’s name in vain: envy can destroy you, and everything in your life, if you let the seed grow.
I’m not breaking new ground here, obviously, nor am I trying to offer some profound piece of insight into the human condition by establishing that our resentful, covetous nature is unhealthy and dangerous. But it’s clearly been closely tied to my own shortcomings and regretful actions from the three plus decades I’ve survived on this box of rain. Is this because I’ve been depressed, because I’ve been so all-consumed by anxiety at times, that I’ve allowed such bitterness to seep deep into my soul? Is it because my mother died unfairly when I was 19, and certain times of year, like the next few weeks, bring forth a dark resentment that I work hard to keep buried, because I HATE seeing people with their still living, breathing, loving-you-always mom’s by their side? I honestly don’t have those answers, nor would I be where I am if I did, but it seems clear that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, in that gray muck where every other answer resides.
It could’ve been me, you know. I could be where you are, and could be as happy and fulfilled and satisfied internally with my life as you. Your inner life is clearly as joyfully wondrous as your external, social-media-approved life; there’s no disparity between what all the happy people post online versus their real, in-the-flesh lives. None whatsoever, because the perception people put out there is always exactly in line with the reality. Perception vs. reality isn’t something to analyze because they’re one and the same. What you see is what you get and that’s that…right?
Of course not, and when I’m genuinely forthright and candid with myself, the fact of the matter is I don’t WANT most of the lives of the people I’m so jaundiced towards. I don’t want your family, or your kids, or your career, or any of the surrounding hoopla that comes with it all. I just want to feel good about me, about myself, to feel content like I’ve done something worthwhile that I can look back on with pride and admiration. Maybe this here blog and these essays will one day be something I’ll have found an inkling of gratification from. Maybe. But thus far, I’m still searching for that feeling, so I guess I’ll need to trudge onward, one day, and one essay, at a time.