I’m surprised that I still get jealous. Or envious? Anyway, something bad-feeling. No, not the romantic jealousy thing, that hasn’t really come up much; husband barely notices when I’m hitting on him, let alone someone else. No, it’s something completely separate to anyone other than me and things I like; when I meet or see someone who excels in areas that I value, or who looks attractive in the way that I want to, then I get a surge of malice is the only word that’s coming to mind right now. I’m not entirely sure it’s right.
The closer the person is to being like me, or being how I perceive myself to be, the more that feeling has a tendency to grow. Oh yeah, and I guess it’s strengthened by not knowing the person very well. Despite my long-held opinion that I wouldn’t care very much for myself in person, I do actually tend to get on (with a large dollop of suspicion) with people who are like me.
This morning I was browsing around through various Facebook and twitter feeds and came across a person who I know of and found myself feeling cranky and hateful of her profile pictures and statements. And, y’know, it’s not something I’m going to carry with me all day or anything like that. The emotions are already fading away. But some competitive mean-girl reared its head inside my chest, snarling “Destroy! Destroy! Destroy!”.
There’s some human instinct that love and respect and such things are zero-sum games, and that we have to compete to get our fair share. That there’s just one top spot (or maybe one for each “type” of person, or even one for every type of life or something) and everything else is shit, and if you’ve invested a lot of time into the gamble that you’re the one for that top spot, well then – the more like you someone is, the more of a threat they can feel to that. Of course that’s all based on the bullshit premise at the start of that sentence.
I don’t really want to feed these negative thoughts too much more. It was just vaguely surprising to me that those emotions still surge so strongly despite 40 years of logic to combat them. Probably something to do with monkey society or some such. Modern life has sped past our evolution in terms of growth.
So, onto other negative stuff instead I guess.
I’m not feeling super happy with myself. I suppose I’ve been saying as much over the past few days. In theory it shouldn’t be so difficult to just be with feelings like boredom or disappointment or the feeling of overwhelm and frustrate that comes at the end of a day with kids. In my brain I am totally an expert at doing that. I mean, knowing the solution is the same as a problem being solved, right? I’ve reduced this to the equivalent of a previously solved problem, what do you mean I have to do the actual work of living with my emotions and living out through each repetitive day with no shortcuts?! With no “similarly”?! With no “By Corollary From the Emotional Work I did Last Year”?!
But yeah, it’s difficult. Change is really fucking slow. Personal growth, which seemed to leap out in epiphanies a few years back, has become like iconic archaeology. I’m sitting here in the cold and mud, slowly scraping away tiny fragments of mud, trying desperately to uncover the truth, and to accept that truth. I’m biased by the desire to find something beautiful and meaningful, but I’m scared that all that’s going to be there is a bit of a broken teacup from 1977.
And what if that’s all I find throughout the entirety of my whole life? What if I have no meaning, no greatness in me. Is there enough amazement to be found in one ordinary life? Isn’t it enough of a miracle to actually exist and get to hear and see and smell and think thoughts? Isn’t it enough of a miracle that my pointy little fingers take the signals from my brain and tap-tap them out here, ready to be shared by you three dear-readers?
I can argue myself into that point of view, but the truth is (and I want to be truthful with myself) is that I’m disdainful of an average life. Oh, I can put up with grinding through hours and days and even years, but I need the promise, the belief, the lie that it will all mean something somewhere out there in the future.
I think that’s a pretty big set-up for unhappiness.