Yeah, I know. That prepositional phrase "green with" most commonly ends with "envy". But envy will make you nauseous. It'll make you sick, it'll make you CRAZY.
When I saw that the Studio Friday topic for Friday was Envy, I had to respond.
Actually, they've been doing all of the 7 Deadly Sins and I've missed most of the series, but boy, this one demanded my attention, because, envy and I? We've been doing some wrestling lately.
And these are things we normally don't talk about publically. Um, hi, everyone else in the whole entire world is more successful than me and I just want to stamp my feet and sit down on the floor and throw a temper tantrum, like I'm about two years old, until someone tells me why. Yeah. You try admitting THAT aloud to a room full of your peers and just watch the party die a painful death. Deadly sin? You betcha.
But sometimes it feels good to say: This is what's going on and it's just a bad patch and it's making me feel rotten and awful and I hate feeling this way.
The week before last, I was having a good week. It finally seemed like I was selling my art consistently. Not huge volume sales, not as-many-as-I-want sales, but every couple of days, I'd get one of those transaction e-mails from Etsy (love those transaction e-mails) like clockwork. I had quite a few commissions for custom pieces in the works...to tell you the truth the number kinda freaked me out a little, but in a bad&good way, like ohmygoshIcan'tbelieveithowwillIdoitI'lldoitifIhavetogowithout sleepforaweekyay way. (That's "Oh, my gosh! I can't believe it! How will I do it? I'll do it if I have to go without sleep for a week! Yay!!!!" for those of you who aren't fluent in KJ's In A Tizzy & Running Words Togetherspeak.)
Finally. Finally, after sitting on the runway, engine idling, ready and waiting to fly, for what seemed like fooooooooorever, I was taking off. The clouds. For a minute, I was in the clouds. I was soaring, baby.
And then. Everything stopped, all at once. I stopped hearing back from people I'd been working out contracts with. I stopped getting transaction e-mails from Etsy. I stopped even getting views at Etsy.
Well, it took a week for panic to set in. But when it came aknocking, it brought Envy along.
'Cause I started exploring the Art category over at Etsy.
And here's the thing: When you're already feeling down, you're going to get a total blind spot and only see the people who are more successful than you. Way more successful, actually. And you're going to start to feel like you're back in high school and as if it doesn't suck enough to be back there? Oh, yeah, you're THE most unpopular girl.
And then you're going to start to think, "Uh, do I smell bad? Am I an untalented hack who is just kidding myself? Is there a conspiracy of some sort?" Okay, maybe you won't get that far.
But it will start to look like everyone else is doing the same thing you're doing, only they're doing phenomonally, and they're doing it effortlessly, while you're failing all over the place. Yeah, because the earlier this-is-really-starting-to-go-well? That was just a fluke. Everyone in the entire world has obviously realized that your art is not good and they've gone and are never coming back.
And you sort of want to beg people to tell you what you're doing wrong. Or what they're doing right. Because obviously, they've all discovered some secret, or some magic wand, or something. Leaving you out of the loop.
And you may swallow your pride and ask for help, from a friend, or from someone who is doing well. And you may be ignored.
And then you'll really start thinking you smell bad, and the jealousy will sort of make your stomach hurt. And there will be a million whys.
This is not me looking for folks to chime in and assure me that I'm not an untalented hack that smells bad. This isn't looking for sympathy or pity sales. This isn't even looking for anyone to tell me that they've felt the same way.
But just in case someone has felt this way, and reads this. Sometimes we feel alone, because we don't have the courage to reach out and share those not-so-pretty feelings with others.
So, I'm reaching out, and I'm sharing. Because you don't get to read this side of the story very much. Do you? I haven't. I haven't seen this anywhere else.
So you start to believe you're alone. Oh, and alone? Yeah, speaking of that. Not only is everyone else wildly smashingly successful? They're also all madly in love with their soul mate. And you? Terminally single.
Wheh, wheh, wheh.
When you get in that kind of envyfunk, it's easy to forget all the wonderful things you DO have. Because there are plenty. And most days, life is good.
And two weeks ago, I couldn't stop thinking, I am happy, I am happy, I am happy. And I let Envy steal that, for a little while.
I am not a fan of complaining to complain, continiously, when there is something you can do to fix whatever it is you're complaining about.
This isn't always going to be easy. In fact, most fabulous things in life aren't, and it's lovely that way, because I know, personally, I appreciate things more when I had to struggle and work to get them.
The key is to keep your eyes on what you're doing. I've gone back to "they're doing it, so can I!" from "how come they're doing it and I CAN'T?!". I'm going to keep working. I'm going to work harder. And I'm going to try not to compare myself to anyone else, because quite frankly, as they say, things aren't always what they appear to be, and just because a play looks effortlessly onstage, doesn't mean there wasn't a heck of a lot of planning and rehearsing and changing things and perfecting and workworkwork behind the scenes.
But, yep, this may not be a particularly professional admission, but I'm a human first and an artist second. So, I present to you my deep, dark, dirty secret. This girl can get down. Way down. Pathetically down.
But somehow, some way, she always gets back up again.
It's not all back to sunshine and roses, but I'm acknowleding that it's been a bad week, and I let it get me down, and there will be more bad weeks, but maybe I'll cope with them a little better, and, hey, there will be good weeks, too, and plenty of'em.
A great deal of appreciation to my friend Sheila, who happened to call this morning while I was boo-hooing and feeling very sorry for myself and just being generally pathetic and not only did she not say, "Hey, I'll call you back when you're feeling better!" and avoid the whole ugly mess and actually let me vent and whine instead, she understood. She understood and she asked, "Would it make you feel any better if I bought something?" and I believe I threatened some form of bodily harm if she did. And she did anyway.
She's just started an Etsy shop of her own, by the way.
Reporting to you from a dry spell that's just that, a temporary, won't-last-forever will-end-soon spell,
P.S. There may be a typo or ten in this post. I might be tempted to edit out some of it or all of it if I proofread, so I want to leave it, as is. This may not make any sense, this may come across as me being Nancy Negativepants, but this is how I felt, at 7:01 P.M. on April 30th, 2007. I'm assuming they don't say "April showers bring May flowers" for nothin'!
P.S. x 2: Just realized I didn't really answer the SF questions, which were: "What do you desire that you are lacking and someone else has? If you could have it would you really want it or is it just a notion? How come you want to have it? What can you do to still that desire so that there is no need to be envious of any thing or anybody?"
P.S. X 3: Or maybe I kind of did?
P.S. X 4: I really also like and want to pass on to anyone reading this the advice Tine (who runs SF) left, with the topic, which was: Be gentle with yourself over the coming week and take extra good care of yourself.