Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Ugly Green Monster

     I have a confession. I love monsters. If you know me, this comes as no surprise. While vampires are my first love, they are not the only creatures of the night I worship and adore. Ghosts; zombies; wights; werewolves; heck, were-anything; wendigos; chupacabras; demons; you name the monster, I love it. (I apologize to any monsters that have unintentionally been left off the list. I promise, I love you too.) Monsters are so much fun to write about. You can take all the legends and lore and use them however you like, while putting your own spin on things. It's just plain awesome.
     There is, however, one monster I don't like. The ugly green monster. Jealousy. Envy. Resentment. Does anyone feel like they're back in Elementary School? I do, but I feel the need to address this in order to make the feelings go away. I hate the green monster. It lurks inside me, hiding from others, but rearing its ugly head. It's evil, but I can't get rid of it.
     I thought about a stake to the heart, but it's just a giant green blob; I couldn't find its heart. I thought maybe I'd wear garlic to protect myself, but I love garlic so much I just wound up cooking with it. I put salt lines over the windows and doors of my apartment, wore silver jewelry, and even carried around an iron rod. Nothing worked. I guess that means I have to conquer the monster the old-fashioned way: by owning up to my feelings. Shiver.
     I am now up to 27 rejections on my novel, and it's not getting any easier. I have no intention of giving up, but each new rejection is a weight on my shoulders. I've recently started participating in a number of Twitter pitching contests. These contests are great. They help connect writers with other writers and create a sense of community. However, they are pretty competitive. Whenever something is competitive, that means there will be disappointment for someone. As it turns out, I am one of those someones.
     It isn't just the disappointment that bothers me. I know that's a part of the process, and I don't regret trying. What bothers me is that I'm so disappointed that I often have a hard time being happy for those who've succeeded. Looking at the Twitter feed for the most recent contest I entered and seeing everyone talk about how awesome the winners are makes me feel even more heavy with disappointment. Part of me doesn't even want to look at Twitter right now, because it's hard to see everyone cheering about the winners. It's a terrible feeling, but I don't know how to make it go away.
     I think maybe there's a part of me that believes there can only be so many successful people, and if one person succeeds, that's one less spot for me. In the grand scheme of things, I know this isn't true, but I also know these feelings aren't rational. It's not as though I wish bad things upon those who succeed, I just have a hard time feeling happy for them while I'm feeling sad for myself.
     About a year ago, my boyfriend interviewed for a promotion. He was narrowly passed up for the job for another candidate. This other candidate was highly qualified, a great worker, and a great person. My boyfriend was disappointed he didn't get the position, but it was obvious that he was genuinely happy for the other guy. I was both amazed and impressed that he was able to feel both upset for himself and happy for someone else. I would like to achieve those feelings myself one day.
     I don't want to feel this way. I want to be happy for the success of others, and deep down I am, it's just hard not to think about my own lack of success. To be honest, admitting these feelings of jealousy is very hard for me. No one likes the ugly feelings, and no one wants others to know they are having the ugly feelings. I'm hoping that maybe it's like the saying goes: admitting is the first step. If I open up about my jealousy, maybe I can vanquish the monster for good.
     I read through some of the winning entries. They were pretty darn good. Definitely deserving of being the winners. But it doesn't make me feel any better about my 27 rejections.
     If anyone has any thoughts and tips for how to deal with these feelings, please share. If you happen to know of a combination of herbs that will banish the monster, please share that as well.
     As always, thank you for reading.