It's a strange thing to come around on this side of it. To feel like I knew what envy was before. And I could feel it. But now that I don't have the same experience of envy, I think I've learned a lot about what it is.
Before I put in the hard work (I'm still putting this in actually) but before I started to consciously put in this "hard" work I would often wish I could have the life of people I looked up to. Or maybe didn't look up to but felt cranky about because I believed they had something I deserved, but I thought they didn't deserve it for some reason. I would think to myself, "how did they get there?"; "what's their secret?"; "who do I need to meet to make it like they have?"; "I should make work like that. Their work inspires some random part of me, so I should do what they do, and I should like it, and then I will make it too."
Welcome to. There is no "making it". There is no "should be doing". There is no "someone else's life that I want".
When I started to put in that hard work. I didn't realize that on the other side of it, I would come out appreciating the beauty in other people's lives, so much more than I had ever realized before. I didn't realize that I was envious. Envious in the worst way. In the way the dictionary describes it. In the way that we wish we could be something that we are not.
I never want to be anyone else. But me. Ever. Not now. Not ever again. And that is one of the most beautiful gifts all of that hard work has given me. I have come around to deeply respect the life that I know-is-mine, so much better now. My life. My self. My thang. I want to repeat that. I respect. Me. I have come around to the other side. Of learning to appreciate. Honor. And respect. Me.
True. There of course are still moments I say to myself, "ohhhh deargadd, I want THAT". And then I think again. In the adjacent moment. That I can either have that. If I really wanted it. Or. That is not me at all. And so stop it. Ego. Quiet down. We know who you are now. And go be quiet and meditate and remember who we really are.
That hard work. Turned out a lot of beautifull amazing artifact. In words. And drawings. And journal entries. And conversations. And exponentially enjoyed discoveries of other-peoples-love-work like their words, their images, their lives. Yes, I do believe that all of the time I've spent enjoying other peoples lives is in fact part of my artifactual life. It is something I make too. Because when it all comes together, in that mash-up of our experience, our experience is the artifact. I spend some of my most precious time making objects out of that. Some of my favorite time in fact. But that's me. That's my life.
And ultimately, that was the hard work. Getting to know what I most deeply love. To do. To make. To experience. To live. And honoring that. Truly, honestly, wholly living that. It was not at all, in no-way, still-in-no-way, easy to find that, figure it out, discover it, keep doing it, know what that is. Every day. I still do that hard work. To get to know, "what makes my heart sing". A dear friend of mine has said these words to me a few times, and it always stuck with me. (Thanks MP). The singing. Is desperately the most crucial part of my existence. Why do any of this? All of this? Parts of this life thing? If you cannot feel your heart singing about as much as you possibly can?
I'll repeat. This is not easy. I struggle. With this. A lot. I hear the word "inspiration" frequently. I don't know how I feel about this word. But for what it means. I want to feel that every day. All the time. I want to feel so much of it that it's hard to part ways with my doing/making/whatevering to get my ass to sleep, and I want it to wake me up in the morning. I want my heart-to-be-singing because I am deliberate about it. Because I put in that hard work.
It's hard to quantify that hard work. My mother and I talk about this often. The finding part. The knowing what it is part. The be-quiet-part so you can hear the singing part. I know that for me. This meant commitment. It meant that if I was ever going to be "one of those people" who clearly found what they loved and got to do that, that I had to start doing things that I had never done. I will never claim this happened entirely of my own volition or solitude. I was swaddled by loved ones, brilliant loved ones who helped me find my own way, and helped me get out of my own way in particular. There was however, a very clear shift of my own intent that did occur before any help was accepted. Before any recognition that I needed anything. It took years and years of building anxiety, acquaintance with insomnia, and known void-ness (repeat "envy"), to get me to a place, of finally, begin to listen. To me. Listen to me. Listen to me. Listen. To. Me.
That continues to be the hard work. Because there are a ba-ga-gillion distractions around us all the time. Always. Distractions that lead to distractions. That lead to other distractions. That all. Distract me away from doing the one thing, that will get me to the one thing, that will make my one-heart-thing-sing. I don't think I can illustrate what that means. That listening part. Because it's different every day. What me wants everyday seems to be different. And what me does everyday, when me is listening, is usually different. Sometimes me needs quiet-meditating-time. Sometimes me needs drawing time or keyboard-writing-time or journaling-time or dialoging-time. I don't know. Until I listen.
But the result of that listening. And then honoring that listening by doing the doing. Over months and months and months of deliberate commitment. A lot of the time with the lights off. Having no idea how any of it would turn out. And in constant refusal to self-criticism and judgement and goal-setting. Has brought me to this new place, where I can viscerally feel the difference between the old-kind-of-envy and the new-kind-of-understanding-it. I respect what me wants now, because I know what me wants now, and I do what me wants now, instead of assuming I should have wanted what I saw other people doing.
I don't want your life anymore. I want mine. And I choose it. Deliberately. Every. Day.