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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Who has the life YOU want? On Jealousy, for Writers

There's a guy out there who has the life I want.

I'm not even kidding--I actually know the person. He's an all-American white dude with giant shoulders, big bear hugs, and an honest smile; I'm a mixed-race, mixed-sexuality chubby chick with eyebrows that look like they're always up to something. In college, when he, a few years my senior, said we were such twins that I'd be just like him at his age, I protested because I wanted to pretend I didn't want that.

But actually, I've always been jealous of the way mentioning his name makes people smile. 

This dude lives in Colorado, which is what I think heaven looks like, or at least, the segment of heaven I want to inhabit. He's a stay-at-home Dad who's rocking the house with his new baby, and his wife's described him as the most tolerant and kind person she knows. His Facebook posts alone let you know that whether he's kicking it with his D&D buddies or climbing ridiculous mountains, he's having a good time.

Meanwhile, I gotta be honest with you, I don't live in mountain-heaven twenty minutes away from yearly Comic-Con. I have no baby, no matter how much I want one, because my partner isn't ready, and my partner doesn't think I'm the most tolerant and kind person: in fact, he takes most of what I say, even my compliments, as a judgmental hint that I hate __X___. I don't make Facebook posts about my life, because I struggle with depression and my humor scares people. I want nothing more than to have a positive impact on people, and my buddy does that without even trying.

So I was thinking about that, this morning, and wondering what I could do to have his life, and I began to get frustrated, because the more I calculated and contorted my dreams, the more I realized I can't have his life, not without letting go of things I refuse to release; I've trapped myself under a lake, and it's my own fault that I'm tethered to the weight holding me down. I'm holding on to the tether.

But you know what? Maybe it's time to accept the weight. Maybe, sure, I'm going to be stressed, discouraged, and struggling with myself all my life, because to become the kind of writer and doctor I want to be, I can't be a stay-at-home Dad, I can't be a dude, I can't have a partner who worships me, and I can't live in Colorado where Jesus is probably hangin' out until the Second Coming. I hope the end is worth it. I do hope that I'm going down a path that will, finally, have a positive impact on people, in my own way. I don't know--I have no guarantee--but the best things in life are those risks we take based on hope.

You see, even if I am the yin to my buddy's yang, the cursed 'other twin,' we can have something in common, and that's contentment. Maybe my life story's not a heart-warming family film full of laughs and hugs, and maybe it's not the gritty scifi I imagined either--maybe it's one of those weird indie horror-comedies that like six people watch a year. But those six people deserve their flicks, too! It's like, when you're writing, no matter what you're creating you're always looking for SRE (Satisfactory Reader Experience), but that's a different parameter for every genre--I don't go into Precious hoping to get a lot of lightsaber battles--and maybe I'm judging movies by the wrong parameters. Maybe I should my movie play out before I start writing the Rotten Tomatoes review.

How about you? What lives are you jealous of? Can you--should you--aim for those lives, or is your life maybe a different genre altogether? 


  1. Here's a post along the same lines — being jealous of successful writers — with some tips on how to turn that negative feeling into a motivating one: