This may be embarrassing, but what the heck.
I’m not sure if you have noticed, but I am a little bit competitive. In some contexts, it’s a great asset. Like if I was on the Hunger Games, I’d probably live longer. In other contexts, it’s not quite as helpful.
Take friendships. Not everyone wants a super competitive friend. I don’t actually want to be a super competitive friend. As I made friends in the writing and blogging world, I worried that my talented friends would achieve great success and I would act like a sullen, self-pitying bridesmaid who was jealous she wasn’t the bride.
But like all those rabid Cross-fit fans on Facebook who are everyday finding new muscles and deep mental reserves to draw upon to lift high their kettlebells, I am finding new muscles too.
At first I didn’t trust my new muscles. Was I really able to let go of being competitive so I could celebrate others without making every damn thing about me? I read drafts of friends’ book– that were excellent– and I rejoiced for them without reservation. I didn’t worry about being “left behind” as they reached milestones that hadn’t materialized for me.
I genuinely want them to succeed. I visualize their books in the airport, on Oprah’s lists, and featured in the NYT.
Oh, and speaking of the NYT, a little publication that declined the services of one Outlaw Mama (read the rejection post here), one of my favorite friends made it there this week. From the moment I knew that Carinn Jade of Welcome To The Motherhood was headed for publication with the venerable New York newspaper, I felt unalloyed joy. (Read Ms. Jade’s riveting piece here.) I felt the jolt of ohmygodthenewyorktimesthat’samazing when she told me the news, and there was no subsequent crash wherein I wondered if something that great could ever happen to me.
I watched bloggers I love and follow (and who feel like my friends) all end up together in a fabulous new book that is skyrocketing through Amazon (I Just Want To Pee Alone by Jen of People I Want To Punch In The Throat). Would I like to be in the book? Sure. But I’m not. And I love those ladies and their successes are good for the world. I want them to kick Tina Fey’s ass and knock her book off its spot at #1.
I’ve become a person who can experience and express joy for others without feeling threatened.
Oh thank the good Lord for that because I’ve got some seriously talented friends and if my character development doesn’t keep up, I am going to end up in an emotional ditch somewhere down by the river contaminated with toxic debris consisting of my self-pity, immaturity and small-heartedness.
Yes, I know most of you learned to be good friends to each other and not make stuff all about you years ago. Late bloomer here. So as I celebrate my talented friends’ successes and look to the horizon for more and bigger things from them, I also celebrate my own ability to rise up and join these talented ladies in JOY.