Originally published at c h a n g s p a c e. Please leave any comments there.
Recently I discovered that a writer I know is getting his first novel published and it’s getting good press from various folks around the internet. No, I will not tell you who because it will only make me look more pathetic and petty than I already feel.
Against my better wishes I hate him. I hate this writer. I hate his success. I loathe his success. I wish for his demise. I’m glad for his misfortunes. Anything to ameliorate the fact that he’s so damn happy about getting published.
Because I’m not. At least not any time soon from what I can tell.
I mean, I kinda ruined Christmas Eve a little when I just had to follow up on a Tweet-quest despite my wife’s request that I put my phone down and enjoy a movie with my family. I brushed these requests off for a time until eventually I spoke loudly and clearly that I had to do this one thing and I would put the phone down. Well, needless to say conversation stopped around that time and didn’t resume normal levels until we made up before bed.
I hate that.
I hate my own jealousy more. I despise that cold, burning feeling in me, the gut-level certainty that someone else is getting something better while I’m not.
Or more to the point they’re getting what I want so badly I would ruin Christmas Eve to pursue it.
I’m no better than a pallid little greasy Gollum muttering to himself and clutching a headless fish as he longs for his precious.
Except perhaps that I know how disfiguring my jealousy is. I mean literally disfiguring. Truly. I know it’s damaging my brain and my body. And yet here I sit, mostly silently, occasionally muttering about what I’m not getting while another guy is standing shining upon the hill, so to speak.
Why does it have such a hold on me? I know the negative effects it has. I do my best to let go of jealousy when I see it rear up but my god it still has claws that run strong and deep within me.
I’m a yoga teacher by profession, a yogi by life so I know the price of jealousy. It’s an aspect of attachment which is a widely covered subject in the field of yoga and buddhism.
“Jealousy doesn’t work the way you think it does,” we say.
“Jealousy is like taking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.”
When you google the word jealousy one of the first things you come across is this tidbit from Psychology Today:
As emotions go, jealousy is neither subtle nor kind, but it is definitely complex, encompassing feelings from fear of abandonment to rage to humiliation. It strikes both men and women when they perceive a third-party threat to a valued relationship, and that distinguishes it from envy, which involves wanting something someone else has. Conventional wisdom holds that jealousy is a necessary emotion because it preserves social bonds, but it more often destroys them. And it can give rise to relationship violence.
Huh. 3rd party threat? So I’m one party, the writing is the 2nd and the success of this other writer is the 3rd? Interesting.
Here’s another quote about jealousy. From a science fiction author no less:
A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.
Robert A. Heinlein
Man, fuck you, Heinlein! Seriously? Damn.
Ahem. Where was I?
I’m sure Heinlein had his jealousies and just wrote shit like that to make himself feel better when Asimov and Clarke hooked up and made fun of him (I am not implying Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke were gay but it does make for a good story, yes?). But he had the good graces to keep it from the rest of us and make like he knew exactly what he was doing. So it’s hard to be jealous of the dead.
In my experience, jealousy shacks up with self-pity a lot of the time; it certainly does in this case. I mean, this guy’s younger, in great shape and hasn’t been writing as long as I have (I was 12 when he was born, and began writing around that age) and he’s getting his first book published while I’ve got three in the can and two more under way. He’s also incredibly nice and funny, especially that one time I met him. Poor me. Poor, poor, poor me.
It feels disgusting typing that. It feels worse thinking that’s correct.
Recognizing there’s a problem is the biggest step for me. Admitting to my wife why I made Christmas a little tense was very hard. I refused to accept her condolences because it only validated the tiny little crabman within me, where I literally felt a tiny warm glow form within at her kind words.
I suppose it’s made worse by the fact that my writing output has dropped significantly in the last six months. Work’s taken a lot of time and I suppose I must admit some time lost to Skyrim, Tumblr and sloth.
It’s no surprise that I’m thinking about this as the year comes to a close. End of year lists abound and reflection is as common as hangovers and cries of “Just one more cookie!” I may be feeling overly maudlin but I think my writing output this year is possibly half or almost half the previous year.
But I’m not one to sit and wallow for long.
I’m planning on resuming a regular writing schedule for 2013, as well as stepped up submissions. It’s really the only thing I can do? I suppose I could sit around and mope more, curse this guy and BPM (Bitch, Piss & Moan) my days away. But writing seems a much more enjoyable way to spend my time and efforts.
Who knows? One day I might even get published.