The Phoenix and the Monster: The Little Lady on Overcoming Jealousy and Rising from the Ashes
There’s a monster in my closet and it’s got some green-ass eyes. Sometimes jealousy climbs up my back like a scaly beast, digs its claws into my shoulders and wiggles in to get comfy. “Look at her hair,” it says, “Way prettier than yours.” Or he’ll tickle my ear with this little tidbit: “Check out her body! Bet you wish you looked like that.” But because writing is my passion, that green-eyed monster’s favourite nagging point is the successful writing of others.
A friend of mine, whose writing I respect immensely, recently launched a blog. Her writing is quality, her topics, interesting, and her perspectives, profound. For International Women’s Week, she wrote a post a day, while juggling work and school. The response she got to her blog overwhelmed and encouraged her. It overwhelmed me too, but I was not encouraged. I thought, damn, look at her out here succeeding, and my blog is as dead as three-week-old road kill.
My green-eyed monster crawled all up and down my back, sinking his talons into my mind. He poisoned me with false and unwarranted negativity. Every time I saw her post a link, I was torn by the congratulations she so obviously deserved and the embittered jealousy I was feeling towards her. And then it occurred to me that I was only breeding negativity in my heart. My jealousy was only a reflection of my disappointment for not achieving what she had due to laziness and procrastination. It was poisoning my spirit and my creativity. So, I told myself that whenever I felt jealousy, I would speak words of encouragement. And I did.
When she posted her links, I read her posts slowly, savoured her thoughts, and then I told her what I thought of them. And one night, when I saw her at a small gathering, I took her aside and I said, “You are amazing. I respect what you do. You’ve really inspired me by your work ethic, and your quality writing. I want you to know that you’ve influenced me. Don’t ever stop.” And she cried and hugged me and thanked me. And it felt so good to have made someone feel that their work was valued. I felt the monster crawl off my back and slink away to torment someone else. I only hope that should jealousy latch on to your shoulders that you remember that the best way to fight it is to determine the true source of the jealousy and compliment and encourage that person instead.
With that being said, I am digging the Little Lady out of her grave. It’s time to resurrect my thoughts, to raise my opinions from the ashes and breathe life into my voice. I will stop making excuses; I will stop procrastinating and I will stop being lazy. I will find encouragement in those who have voices—whether it be in the form of poetry, prose, visual art, music or dance—and I will congratulate them for sharing themselves with the world.
Like the phoenix from the ashes, the Little Lady has risen. Let the fun begin.
P.s. please check out my friend Stephanie’s blog here