Count me as one of the few.
I’ve always found myself in the position of second best. Smart, kind, creative, but not as good as other persons in the room.
In grade school it was always a competition between my best friend and I (though she was the one competing and I was the one reduced to the size of an amoeba) when it came to who had the better parents, who did better in class, who was prettier, etc. She like to mention how I might have been ranked in the top 10% of my graduating class, but she was still a better writer than I was. Or how my hair was black, but her had highlights that shone brightly in the sun. I played violin well, but she started when she was three and was amazing (though no one ever heard her play). And she played piano. And flute. She drew. I didn’t. She sang better. She had more scars. She was more goth. She was better at living. Blah blah blah! Everything was a one-up for her. And we were best friends for YEARS.
This non-stop battle of the “better” sparked a ridiculous, negative desire in me to be better than everyone at the things I do or try. I figured this was normal, healthy behavior. Years of therapy showed me it wasn’t.
Truth is, I get jealous very easily. And though it might not show on the surface, such feelings are internalized and fester in an oak barrel of rage until the pressure is too great the barrel breaks and the toxic sludge of jealousy rises to the surface and I become something akin to Creature from the Black Lagoon. Angry. Bitter. Anxious. Ugly.
A certifiable asshole.
For a long time this kind of jealousy has been well controlled. I’ve been very happy with where I am, what I do. Life is good. But lately, though I am not sure why, these feelings have been surfacing more. Especially since I started Roller Derby.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a decent skater. I enjoy being on my quads, and am not scared of trying new things. But if you had to make a line of the best to the not best (but ever improving) skaters in our Fresh Meat, I would fall somewhere after second. At first, this really didn’t matter to me. We were are very wobbly, trying to find our balance. But now, more than seven weeks in, I am starting to resent the ladies in the class who are picking up skating faster than I am or are just better skaters than I am. Those ones that others in the class say they want to be. This jealousy came to a head after my mega fall on Sunday. Even though I am pushing myself to the max, skating faster, sitting lower, doing more push-ups, testing my limits, I am not as good at the best in the class.
Shouldn’t that be ok? To be not the best?
Of course it should! But the jealousy, the resentment, it’s lurking beneath the surface. And sometimes, it makes me want to quit, to say Fuck It, I will never be as good as *******. Of course, I would hate myself more for quitting. And I love being part of this league. Quitting isn’t really an option. It just bothers me that I even get that jealous to think about quitting.
So I admit it, lovers. I am jealous. Jealous of those better than me in my Fresh Meat class. And those who are craftier than me. And those with no student loan debt whose parents pay their way through college.
But I am working on letting it go. Working on being happy. It’s amazing that I try new things, like derby, and never sit out or bitch when it gets really hard. Sunday I did a derby start. I fell on my wrist trying. I can’t really transition. I can’t glide on one foot. Yet. But I will keep trying. And I am socializing.
I don’t even know who I am anymore.
I won’t stop pushing myself. And I won’t quit. I will try to let the jealousy go and try to be a better person. I swear.