Rant Warning: The Dangerous Act of Comparison
A good friend who is in her 30s told me over a few glasses of wine, that if women were truly honest with themselves and especially their women friends, our relationships wouldn’t be so complicated and we could combat the jealousy that sometimes seeps in.
In that moment, I told her that there are times I am downright jealous of my friends– her included.
I want what they have. There, I said it.
Some of my friends have awesome cars. I have an 11-year-old car that’s hanging on that I won’t finish paying for like two months from now.
Some of my friends have beautiful homes. I have a modest apartment in an ok neighborhood.
Some of my friends make way more money than me.
I watched a friend purchase a handbag that cost more than the rent I was struggling to pay at the time. She wanted me there not to rub it in my face, but because she was proud she could finally afford something like that and wanted me to be there. We both dreamed of shopping in those stores as broke college kids. She had arrived. Me, I’m still stuck in traffic right about now.
I was there, I was proud, but at the same time I was nauseous, envious and bitter. I was paying for gas with couch change and waiting until my direct deposit kicked in so I could eat at the McDonald’s dollar menu at 12:01 a.m.. Those were the worst financial times for me ever.
Back to the honesty, I eventually told her how I felt that day and I knew she didn’t set out to make me feel like a broke-ass loser, and after a teary exchange, all was well.
Some of my friends get to travel around the world. I’ve been as far as south as Mexico (had to work two jobs to get there) and as far north as Canada.
Some of my friends are in solid relationships. Well, you saw my blog, the one I wasn’t afraid to write anymore. I’m totally not a candidate for a solid relationship right now, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting the same thing too.
Comparisons are a bitch. Facebook doesn’t help. I say over and over again Facebook is a PR machine for regular people. You can edit your life and make it seem kick ass to everyone else. You can bend the facts. Case in point: A friend of mine told me about his 11-year-old student whose Facebook page lists him as a graduate of Georgetown University and CEO of Chuckie Cheese.
It makes no sense to me, because the people who really know you know the truth and think you are stupid for lying and there’s no need to impress the people you aren’t really that cool with anyway. They really don’t care. Or if they do, they are lying about their lives too.
My life really isn’t that bad. I’m thankful for what I have, I really am. But I just have these moments. It’s torture, because I don’t wish bad things on these people. These are my friends. I’m just temporarily jealous.
I even said a prayer to God, to look ahead, and not look around me. To stay focused and actually get the strength to make my life better on my own terms, take control of the things I can control and not try to compare myself to others.
I’m competitive by nature. And to me, the essence of competition is comparison. Performance has to be measured and someone is just going to always be better than someone else at something. That’s life.
The thing is, for every great thing that’s happened to each of my friends, they’ve totally paid a high cost for it and worked hard to achieve it. I roll with great people. They’ve gone through things I probably couldn’t have handled. While those material things are sweet, there are situations and struggles I know for a fact those friends would gladly exchange those material things for.
Part of being grown is being honest. Some days when I feel crappy about myself, I compare myself to other people. Real talk. Even when I know in certain aspects, their lives aren’t necessarily “better” than mine, I’m still jealous.