the green-eyed monster

If my hair would just style as well as hers I would be so much happier.

If I could lose 30 pounds, I could wear cute clothes like she does and I would be so much happier.

If I could get a paid writing gig, I would be so joyful, just like her.

If we could go on a REAL vacation, we  would be happier.

If we had more money to spend I could do that and that and that to our house and be happy like she is.

If we had a bigger house I would totally be happier.

If I would make a Top Whatever list or Follow this mom on blah blah list I would be so much happier.

If I had a workspace that was cheerful and comfy I would be much happier.

If more people read/commented/shared my blog I would be happier.

If Cortney and I went out every Saturday night like that couple, we would be happier.

If we had more friends we would be happier.

If I had clearer skin, cuter clothes, less weight, longer hair, better shoes, more money, more crafting time, more stay at home time, more work time, better writing skills, more contacts…like her and her and her and her…I would be happier.

Oh the toxic thoughts that spin around in my brain.

ENVY.

I spent a good hour this morning just thinking and meditating and letting myself be quiet and I realized that so much of my sadness stems from envy.

Last Friday, I was picking Eddie up from my parents’ house and on their counter they had two cut-outs of their hands with a paper heart glued to the palms.  On each heart was writing.

At first I thought it was something for Valentine’s Day.  But when I got closer I saw one said, “Road Rage” and the other said, “Envy”.

My mom explained they were from something they were doing at church.  I chuckled because I knew my dad’s was the road rage one…and not just from the slanty, messy left-handed penmanship.  My own road rage is very much inherited from his.

But my mom’s…the one that said “envy”…surprised me.

I don’t ever think of my mom as wishing she had what someone else had.   But then again, I know growing up, she wished our family was maybe more “perfect” like other families at their church.  I know she wished that we had all maybe followed the “Go to College, Get a Job, Get Married, Have Babies, Go to Church Every Week” model that their friends’ kids did.

But we didn’t all follow that route.  Some of us took a LONG time to find a job after college graduation. Some had kids before marriage.  Some dropped out of the first college to return home and go somewhere else.

Life is messy, ya know?

I know she loves all of us anyway..maybe even more so because we all turned out great despite not following that model.  But you know…there’s always that…”maybe if…” thought.

So anyway, since then I have been thinking a lot about envy.

I realized that a lot of my sadness and stress comes from me coveting what other people have.

I mean, I know that I am blessed.  I am beyond blessed.

But there is always that nagging thought when I see someone get sponsored by a sweet company or another blogger get a writing gig I think I would be awesome at or I look at how beautiful my friends are and wish I looked like that too.

Or I see new parents that seem so damn happy all the time…no stress…no anxiety about who they are now that they are parents.  No going to an “ugly place” like I did/do.

I watch people embrace snow and play with their children and think maybe I am not trying hard enough.  Why do I hate snow?  Why do I suck at “playing” with Eddie.  I mean, is it that hard to pick up a dinosaur and make it have a conversation with his Pooh Bear?

I get crabby that I can’t live on Starbucks and wine and burritos and oreos and still weigh only 150 pounds and have clear skin.  I mean, isn’t that what all these beautiful people in my newsfeeds and reader do?  It seems like it.

Why can’t I love to run?  I want to run 5Ks and blog about my new healthy life.  Why can’t I love eating celery?

As happy as I am with my life {which I truly am} these thoughts still invade my brain in my most tired, vulnerable moments.

I am lucky beyond words, so why does envy still creep in?

Why can’t I appreciate beauty and talent and fortune of others and not have that twinge that I wish I had it too.

Because I do. I have my own beauty. My own talent. My own fortune.

I have just to look up from my computer and see it in the smiling eyes of the three guys that live in this house with me.

So why does my brain tell me that is not good enough?

Even though my heart knows it’s more than enough?

2013-02-19 14.07.25

Syndicated on BlogHer.com

*************

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. You are not alone. I think everyone feels what you so nicely expressed. I read somewhere that we often feel like crap because we are comparing ourselves to everyone else’s highlight reels. It sounds like you are driven and passionate and wrestling with appreciating your life. Hang in there. I’ve read a number of your posts, and if it helps, I think you have an amazing site with a growing following. I’m a little green with envy. 🙂

  2. This is a conversation i have to have with myself all the time.

  3. My worst vice is envy. I am always genuinely happy for my friends who lose x amount of weight, who score that writing gig, who got on some great list, whose kids can talk and have conversations by the time they’re 2, etc etc. BUT. But, I am envious. I wish, I wish, I wish.

    I have managed to take some of that and turn it around for me. I have said, well, if I want a writing gig, maybe I need to work on my writing. Read books on writing. Write more. Put myself out there. Apply for writing jobs. Ask someone to read my writing. Ask a friend how I can get in on the online site she’s with. And so on.

    It doesn’t always work, but it helps. Somewhat.

    It’s hard to shut Envy up though.

    Love you. xoxo

  4. I do it all the time. You know what really gets me is when my sisters, well one in particular, will point out how ‘wonderful’ my life was because I was mom’s favorite. How everything she doesn’t have is somehow my fault. It hurts. I struggle as much as they do. I am slowly learning to be grateful for the little things and make time for them. It is not an easy road by any means. We are taught by society to be more, do more, have more. Going against that is a tough uphill battle with not just ourselves and human nature but society as a whole. It is then I am reminded that Lucifer was once the greatest of all the angels and envy brought him down.

  5. does it help to know that when I have these moments (and I have them ALL..with you…I swear. Every single day) that you are the one name that I toss in that mix, if I could be SMART like Kate, if I could be popular, blogging, writing, teaching, twitter, witty, pretty like KATE I’d be happier. I can tell you that everyone that comments on this piece is someone (ALISON I’m looking at you) that I am so envious of, the skills, the talent, the words, the wit, etc that I wish I had.

    but yes, I think we are all green on the inside about something…it’s hard to get rid of those reels we have in our heads of what we WANT TO BE, WHO WE want to be.

    I think you’re amazing…and maybe that will help YOU when you have those thoughts…

    thank you for always writing what I wish i could…you’re courageous too…SEE?
    xo

  6. Yes.

    I feel like this all. the. damn. time. ALL THE DAMN TIME.

    Why can’t I be gorgeous & thin so that I can wear cute clothes? Why is there never enough money? Why do I feel like I’m failing in my career? & completely alone in my worry? Why do I not get to pick when I have my next baby?

    Anyway. Yes. All of this. Thank you for writing it down & making me feel less alone because damn it, I feel alone.

  7. I see other writers blowing up and I think “but didn’t they see all those typos?” I see other people in bigger houses, with nicer clothes, happier husbands, better cars. But what I don’t know is whether they are struggling inside their walls, away from my eyes. Maybe they too can’t afford that car or have a 12 yr old who is SUDDENLY BUCKWILD. This is so normal, Kate, really. I feel this every day. Hell, I feel envy toward you so know that I understand this fully. We can’t control what others see in us that THEY take as envious. Even though I know your struggles, I envy that you have Charlie still so snuggably little. I envy your curves and your hair. There will always, I guess, be something we’d rather have but as long as we remember, just like you’re doing, to be grateful and appreciative of what we do have, I think we’ll be just fine.

  8. You are the most perfect you I’ve ever known. 🙂 Besides if all of us were exactly the same… HOW BORING!

  9. I don’t have the words to express how much I know this.

    Thank you for saying it all. I hope you see you’re not alone the way I, and so many others, now see we aren’t alone, either.

  10. We all do this. At least I know I do. I keep waiting for everyone to figure out that I’m a fraudulent grown up. I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going. It seems like everyone else does. Or if they don’t they are doing a great job of faking it.

    Love your blog.

  11. oh yes, 100 times.

    And remember, people only allow us to see the good stuff, the right angles in the best light, the praises and pats on the backs. For everything awesome, there’s often so much sh*t buried beneath the pretty.

    Also, if it makes you feel better? I envy you tons for lots of different things.

  12. Yes. A million times over. Yes. Envy is a hard demon to shove down and keep at bay. Thank you for sharing this – good to know we aren’t alone with this one!

  13. I will never forget what my OB said to me after I went on a rant about how other Mom’s had their shit together and I didn’t…”If they are acting like having a newborn is easy breezy, then they are full of shit.” I know this isn’t related to having a newborn but whenever I get caught in that “they have it so much better/easier” I picture my OB with a Tom Selleck mustache saying this…while I was wearing nothing but a plastic sheet covering my snatch.
    Good times.
    I feel like this a lot. Just think of Tom Selleck. xo

  14. This is a struggle for me too. I so often think why can’t I have such and such home/yard/car/job/body. Why do my kids have to be such horrible sleepers?!
    Just a couple of my current struggles. I feel ya momma. You are so smart with your words. Xo

  15. God, I love this post. I have had it open on my computer ALL DAY because I just keep coming back to read it again and again. You have so perfectly captured the way I think we all feel so much of the time. And what I wish we all could also do (in addition to letting ourselves off the hook and enjoying what we do have) is realize that the people we envy are out there wishing they were someone else, too.

  16. A little secret–you are one of the people I envy…

  17. You wrote so honestly about something I also struggle with daily. I haven’t yet figured out how to turn off that little voice in my head, but if I do, I’ll let you know.

    In the meantime, keep being real like you always are. That’s why we love reading your words. xo

  18. I absolutely love this closing of this post. I love the whole post, but the closing lines speak volumes to me.

  19. I love that. Envy invades many parts of my daily life and I hadn’t realized how much until I read this. Thank you so much for sharing and giving me the reminder of how blessed I am too.

  20. YES. All of this, yes. I feel so much of this, all the time, but I feel alone. Envy is a terrible trait of mine, but I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one suffering through it.

  21. Mamaintheburbs says:

    Katie,
    I feel the same way! You are definitely not alone. Jealously and envy are two traits I wish I didn’t encounter everyday. It’s funny bc both of us have a lot in common. I would love to play more in the snow with Sylvia. All the pictures on my Instagram are from my husband Mike. I took her out the other day and lasted 10 minutes and bribed her to come inside for a lollipop. I also wish I was a runner. A dieter. A better cook. Actually someone who can cook period. I wish we had more money, a bigger house and more alone time as a couple. Sometimes I’m ashamed of my house when it comes to play dates bc it’s so small.

    So unfortunately I have no good advice!! Just know you are not alone sister!! I here right by your side. Oh wait one thing I want to say since reading your blog and seeing your IG pics and tweets….you are an awesome mom and your family loves you so much!! That’s all that matters anyway:)

  22. Oh, friend. Haven’t we all been there? Wishing we had something someone else had or getting pissed cause the damn blogger gets something else awesome like a washing machine and dryer or to test drive a car or to go somewhere awesome or or or…

    I think that it’s semi-natural to have feelings like that at some point or another, but what we do with those feelings is what matters. Do we dwell on them and sulk or do we acknowledge them and then maybe take some time to remember the blessings that we do have? That’s what I’ve been doing lately and it helps.

  23. This is an AMAZING post. No wonder it’s syndicated on BlogHer. Good for you. And I need one of those signs for my family.

    Envy is an extremely hard trait to deal with.