Thursday 26 January 2017

Jealousy And Not Feeling Good Enough

I want to start this post by saying firstly that I love living near London, and secondly that I have met so many amazing people down here who I love and admire! However, sometimes it can be hard knowing so many awesome people.

Case in point. I met Abi Elphinstone about six months before her debut novel came out, and Katherine Webber perhaps two years before hers. Both have grown to be incredible friends I trust completely and I am cheerleading them every step of the way - not just because they're friends who I love meeting up with and talking to, but because I genuinely adore their books too. That said, there is a teeny tiny part of me - maybe the part which years ago dreamt of being an author myself - which looks at them and sees that they're at a level which I don't think I'd even have dared hope to achieve myself. Also they are incredibly lovely people and have staggeringly hot (and nice) husbands; there are times life feels unfair!

Then there's some of the fabulous friends I've made blogging, many of them younger than me and already ten times smarter, more knowledgeable about the world, and better people than I am. (That's how it can feel, anyway.) Daphne is somehow juggling being a fabulous mother to her adorable baby with continuing to run wonderful subscription box Illumicrate, Julianne is not only the most organised person I've ever met but has also set up her own e-course, while Jess and the rest of the incredible Safe Space team are running a must read blog tackling so many important issues.  

In addition to being part of that fabulous Safe Space team, Debbie is one of the kindest, warmest-hearted, and most caring people I've ever been lucky enough to call my friend, Faye, as well as being a superb freelance PR, is a brilliant blogger whose more personal posts over the last year or so have inspired me to talk about topics like this (which are still out of my comfort zone!) and the pair of them, Julianne, Caitlin, Charlie, Chelley and others have been incredibly supportive of me over the past few years - I honestly don't know what I've done to deserve them.

And I think (and this is a massive realisation AS I WRITE; I'm starting to agree with people who told me blogging was therapeutic!) that the problem is only partly me being jealous; partly it's that I'm not really sure I'm worthy of having friends this amazing. For the years between leaving uni and moving down here, most of my friends were teachers. Others were people I'd known since primary school in some cases. It felt like we were all travelling along similar paths in life, at roughly similar speeds. And meeting people who have, as I said earlier, done more so far than I think I ever will has been something of a shock.  And while I had been ascribing that to jealousy, and to me being at least a semi-terrible person, I think part of it is that my faith in friendships was fragile for such a long time. Yes, there is part of me that wishes I was a bestselling author, brilliant at school events, who travelled around the world a lot (Hi Abi!) but also part of me worries that someone this awesome could clearly find many many better friends than me.

Even though I'm only posting about this now it's something that's been on my mind for a long time - mixed in with the jealousy. And I think that the reason I AM able to post about it now is that it is starting to become less of a worry and I'm feeling more secure in a lot of my friendships. This is mainly thanks to the numerous people (some but not all of whom are mentioned a couple of paragraphs earlier) who've reassured me when I've talked to them about stuff like this. (And talking to them was a BIG step for me because up until a couple of years ago I barely talked to people about anything happening in my life.) They've also told me how some of them feel this way at times too - one conversation a few days ago when I first talked about writing this post was such an eye-opener and a relief. However it's also because even though I'm still slightly envious of the amazing lives some people live, I am actually pretty happy with my own life too. While I'm unlikely ever to be a big name author, I HAVE chaired a panel which was one of the greatest experiences ever, I've appeared on Down The Rabbit Hole, I do some work for my absolute favourite bookshops (and a couple of years ago I'd never have thought I could have earned money from books) and my 'main' job is going pretty well (fingers crossed) - I have so many wonderful students, great colleagues, and seem to be making progress in that too.

So it's perhaps a weird time to share this, especially as my thoughts on the post sorta changed halfway through with that massive revelation to myself, but thought I'd post anyway. Does anyone else ever feel like this? 

1 comment:

  1. I feel like this every day, it's perfectly normal to see other writers doing better and think, hey, why her and not me, or whatever ... But at the end of the day, you need to use that sense of pique and that awesome inspiration to drive you on to keep writing and pushing, use it as fuel for your own journey. All our journeys are different, and accepting that some people will be ahead when you're behind just as you'll be ahead of others occasionally is an intrinsic part of belonging to society. So when things like this get to you, all you can do is take a deep breath, and let it go ... Then get back to work!