Advice can come in the unlikeliest of places; proof of this came today. In this instance, "Don't Let Comparison Steal Your Joy," from my ex-boyfriend (through a third party). This particular bit of advice seems ridiculously ironic to me, considering the source, because the whole relationship I felt that I was constantly compared to other people. And unfavorably, may I add. I was never smart enough, never serious enough, never pretty enough, never pious enough, never tidy enough...just never enough. It kind of got to the point of being verbally abusive, or if we don't want to throw that term around, let's just say downright cruel. So I have to be honest, when I found out this was a piece of advice he has been bestowing, it chapped my ass something fierce. I was pissed and my first thought was to cry "hypocrite". But I then took a step back and realized, this is the most appropriate piece of advice I could have ever heard.
This is a piece of advice I needed to hear, especially coming from him, because it made me realize that even though the relationship has ended, I still let some of the tapes play in my head on repeat, the ones that told me I would never be enough. I was letting the comparisons continue, and I was letting them siphon away joy, without so much as a word of protest. And maybe I needed a jolt to realize it, but I've realized it now, and it's time to turn the tapes off, close that chapter in my life, and just be done.
Sure, there will always be someone out there who is -er than you (e.g. prettier, smarter, thinner, funnier, etc) but if that cripples you to the point that you can't even be yourself--you lose, and only you. So from now on, instead of trying to be thinner or prettier or smarter, I'm going to try to be happy. I'm going to be how I am, pursue the interests I enjoy, continue to think the things I think are schmaltzy and stupid are in fact, schmaltzy and stupid, and stand up for what I think is right because God didn't make me a meek little church mouse. If it's good enough for Him, who am I to say it's not good enough for me? I'm bawdy and funny, and always too much. But that's not a bad a thing. I also am genuine and honest. How many other people do you know that always mean what they say and say what they mean? I'm not embarrassed that I haven't learned to lie convincingly for the sake of civility, I'm fucking proud. And no, I don't think cursing is a sign of unintelligence, but if you do, that's cool. Just don't talk to me if you think I'm so stupid and beneath you.
So instead of trying to be the first or the best, which I think is impossible anyway, because everything is relative, I'm going to just worry about squeezing the best juice from my mind-grapes (30 Rock reference, anyone?). And if that means I'm not good enough for some people, that's cool, because if they're such judgmental pricks, they're not good enough for me. Compare that.