feminism, writing

That Green Gentleman

I’ve had something on my mind recently, a weight I just can’t shake, like a snake that’s sunk its fangs into my spine.

Envy. Jealousy. Subtly different words that apply to every person in the world. I fall foul of them more than I should, to the extent where it just makes me look like an arsehole.

I’m not a great or even a good person. I’m selfish and egotistical, I envy others for things I could do myself if I just got up off my lazy arse and did something for once. I look at pictures of people I want to emulate and I feel myself despising them, just because they have more than me, just because they are better than me.

They’re better than me because they can face the morning without wanting to cry, and because they were confident and proactive and went for things without pausing to consider the jump. They probably felt like me at some point, too. But they got past that. And I don’t even know how to get past it. Which makes them better. Better than me.

There’s a girl that went to my sixth form, our book club is going to read her first novel next month. She’s tall. She’s pretty. She’s a model. She runs a blog, one much more successful than this tiny reading nook that I call home. She published a book. She got published in Vogue at sixteen. 

I’m sixteen, in this moment, right now. So what am I doing with my life?

I saw one of her first articles – on perfume being a rite of passage for young girls. I got my first perfume at twelve, wore it twice, then never looked at it again. Here’s another; she had a condition that formed her spine to grow wonky. That actually sounds horrific, and it’s something I’m very glad I don’t have.

But it makes her interesting. I am not interesting. She is interesting. 

Maybe I’m being melodramatic, or melancholic, or just plain spoilt. But sometimes, I don’t feel good enough, and I’m jealous of other people. I want what they have. I want that confidence, that privilege to have the life I’ve so desperately craved since I was a child, to see a book up on my shelf and know that yes, I wrote that. That is mine, and mine alone. It’s not anyone else’s.

Sometimes, I’m not good enough. I know, when I don’t feel ready to turn off the light and roll over to sleep, I’ll look back on this post and see it in my daydream eyes, laugh at the way I compare myself to other people and convince myself that I’m a feminist. I don’t do second best, let alone third best. That I need to raise women up, rather than put myself down beside them.

But right now, I’m not good enough. And we all feel that way, sometimes.

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