Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Monsters In My Closet

I’m not someone who is particularly scared of ghosts or aliens, bugs or worms. But monsters, monsters are a different story entirely. And I’m not talking about the monsters that live in your closet or under your bed, but the monsters of the mind – the ones that truly have the power to control your life, ruin it even.

There’s one particular monster that has plagued me for years and no matter how hard I fight him he still crops up in the most unlikely of moments: the green-eyed-monster.

I often wonder whether envy is a trait of those with just one sibling. I’ve noticed that friends of mine with just one older brother or sister tend to spend their lives comparing themselves to said sibling or even worse seeing everyone around them as better than them.

It is certainly the path I’ve gone down. When I was younger I felt constantly compared to my sister, with older relatives commenting on how smart she was whereas frowning on my artistic abilities. I longed to be like her, even fashioning a pair of glasses out of play dough to be like her. Luckily my parents loved us both so much, even more so for our differences, that I learned that comparing myself to her was pointless. I had to be my own person.

Unfortunately, my dalliances with the green-eyed-monster didn’t end there. As soon as I became old enough to don a uniform, wave goodbye to my parents and embark on my first day of school it became scarily clear how many other girls there were just like me - in their pig tails, ironed uniforms and shiny shoes. And worst still they could colour in better than me.

For the rest of my school life I made the same mistake over again: I chose to be friends with who I thought was the prettiest, smartest, well dressed girl and lived my life putting myself down because I wasn’t like her.

It’d be easy to blame my choice of friends but it wasn’t and still isn’t their fault – I love to be around them for the precise reason that they are pretty, smart and well dressed. I’d hate to be the type of woman who surrounds herself with dull, less attractive friends in order to make her feel better. It is my own demon that makes me resent them for everything I love about them.

And it seems I’ll never learn…

A very good friend of mine got offered a job today. I am delighted for her, it’s a dream job and it will be amazing for her career. However, it was also one I went for and didn’t get. And despite being very happy in my internship and concentrating on how well my life is doing, my same old feelings of inadequacy and self doubt kicked in. And then I began to feel guilty for not being 100% happy for my friend, which made me hate myself even more.

But then do you know what I did? I told someone how I felt. And not a close friend who will love me no matter what but someone who I’m just getting to know. Confiding in her a side of myself which I wasn’t proud of was a risky move – I’d hate her to think less of me. However, she didn’t react with disgust and order me to erase such hideous thoughts but told me what I was feeling was perfectly natural. It’s human to feel jealous every now and again, just make sure you don’t let it consume you. She told me she believes that in order to get what you want in life it throws a few challenges at you and sees how you react before giving you what you really want. You have to make the most of everything before you are rewarded.

So that’s how I’m now seeing this situation: the job is not only a great opportunity for my friend, but an opportunity for me. I have to take the high road and not use this as an excuse to wallow in self pity but simply keep on applying for the jobs of my dreams and use her as an inspiration that the right job is out there for me somewhere…

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