I didn’t want to resent my friends. It just became something that happened. Well nothing just happens, but I definitely ignored all the warning signs. And along with that? Well all your standard feelings of guilt, shame and of course a generous dose of self loathing. I found it hard to be happy for them. Not because they weren’t working hard, not because they didn’t deserve their success, but because of a feeling of a certain lacking. And with that came a very raw, hollow gnawing that clawed at my gut. It was petty and small yet there it was, underscoring everything I did. This quiet voice that bore in to me like a drill. Why not me?
I was basically planning my one-woman pity party. In short, not my proudest moment.
Piece by piece I was allowing myself to be defined by my feelings of inadequacy which brewed in to this weird, sticky cauldron of emotional and creative self destruction. The blinders were well and truly up and I ended up suffering this bizarre tunnel vision and I couldn’t see anything other than all the different ways I was failing. It just kept picking away at everything that I was doing wrong. Everything they were doing better. Anger at this complete sense of hopelessness and loss and what even was the point of it all?
And then I read. I read lots. Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear. The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck. And it was like the reassuring advice from a friend that you knew all along. but you needed to here from someone else for it to really sink in. It was about getting rid of any sense of entitlement and focusing more inward. It was looking at why I started writing in the first place. For me that was to share things I love and over time it evolved in to wanting to tell stories. And for a while I lost that, trying to fit in to what I thought people wanted opposed to what brought me satisfaction. Which was the problem all along.
The more I started working on my own projects the less I found myself comparing myself to others. The resentment subsided and once more I felt inspired and ready to grow. When my bestie was invited to a Chateau in France I could be happy for her -and sure, a little jealous – but no longer in a way that took away from either of what we’ve achieved, what we continue to achieve. I’ve taken stock of what I love doing and actually allowing myself to have some distance to analyse, improve and of course, have more fun. I have so many amazingly talented women in my life and they’ve always been my biggest cheerleaders, and I’d like to feel I’ve been the same. It’s nice to be able to return to that. I’ve always believed that we gain more from collaboration and of course it’s much more emotionally satisfying to build someone up than tear them down. Even if it is yourself.
In the immortal words of Alyssa Edwards “Don’t get bitter, just get better.”