In nearly every facet of my life, I have been privileged. Privileged to have two comical and creative parents in my life every day. Privileged to have friends to talk, to go to a school filled with friends that I could laugh, vent, and play with until I was sick of it all. But most of all, I was privileged enough to live an environment that gave me the confidence to be both ambitious and fearless.
Maybe it was the moment my aforementioned ambition and fearlessness was questioned by people with qualities tenfold my own. Had living in such a place where my intellect was highly regarded among my peers and teachers inflated my already cracking ego? Perhaps, but the moment I said such a claim out loud cemented it, and it became my new truth. I now existed in plane of questioning—questioning of my skills, my worth, and my value I had been told I had since before I could fully form sentences.
Some would say that such an experience would humble an individual, make them work harder. However, when one is thrown into such a situation, it can be so easy to slip from your own footing, as if a grand silk rug had been pulled from beneath your confounded self. You now live in a world of interconnected strings that latch onto each of your limbs and tug you into the direction of everyone else’s success. It is no wonder that even adults in their late 40’s will look at the careers of their old friends and dream… dream on and endlessly… dream on and endlessly compare… pondering on all the things they could have done for a more glamorous fate.
One could say that I am taking this personal situation to the extremes, but in all honesty, I don’t care.
I’ve seen people I knew and cared for nearly take their lives because the pressures bestowed upon their weak shoulders crushed them down into little shards of insanity. I am lucky that this instance of relocating to a place where success meant more than life itself did not sweep me into suicidal sensations, as of those prevalent and gloriously infamous in Japan. Comparisons plague our world in horrifying ways I do not have the heart to metaphorize. For as long as I live, no matter how close I am to the edge, I can remember that my time here on this earth is already so futile, so finite, and I would not have the heart to accept it—let alone turn it into a fanciful thing easy for your consumption.
I suppose that you want me to say, “Never compare yourself to others.” That in itself is a perfect, time-worn statement that is objectively harmless. Sadly, and realistically, many of us cannot begin to fathom the mindsets of the broken, and uttering such a phrase is as powerful as doing nothing. I don’t know how to enact change or get miserable people to only compete between their past and their present. All I can say for sure is that comparison is the thief of joy.