I’m going to level with you here. I compare. Constantly. My competitive drive hungrily jumps on every setback I experience and starts to decipher why it happened. This inevitably means comparing myself to whomever succeeded in the midst of my failure. Comparisons rot your soul, but I do them because they’re an attempt to make things alright. To find a reason I failed that is outside the territory of my talent. God forbid I think of my skills as anything less than divinely inspired.
A few weeks ago I had a callback for a film I felt really good about. I paid for coaching to make sure I did my absolute best, and the director and producers were totally on board in my callback. I had hoped and somewhat expected to get the call that I booked it within a day or so. I’ll save you the anxiety: I didn’t. So I looked it up. I almost can’t help myself but to go and see who got the part. I lie that it’s in order to analyze what I could do better, but in reality, it’s to find/fabricate a reason to prop up my ego. The winner? A woman 15 years older than me (so it wasn’t even my demographic! nothing I can do about that!) who had been on Baywatch and was clearly selling a very sexual image in her career. I patted myself on the back that sexuality is something I have never and likely won’t ever sell- I’m more of the funny, weird best friend than the sexy seducer- so not only am I more talented than her (I don’t have to rely on my sexuality to get roles, I’m a gifted actor and funny!) I also didn’t stand a chance because she was older and had way more credits. Whew. Off the hook.
It’s almost as if it’s not enough to win or lose. Everyone else has to lose, too. When I don’t succeed (which is more often than not) my obsession with fairness and world of scarcity steps in and screams
“But what about me? Will I never get my piece of the pie??”
When you’re living in an ivory tower of ambition and perfection, you have to work hard to manipulate the losses to become wins. In the end, though, we’re all losers and that’s why it’s so amazing that we get to win. Grace can’t set you free if you’ve no idea you’re a prisoner, right? So, for the record, I’m a loser. I thought with all my self deprecation and “truthfulness” others would see I’m a complete mess. But people keep telling me I look like I have it all together, so I must be selling a lie somewhere. Let’s end the game, shall we? I’m starting what I will call
wherein I will make it abundantly clear (to the detriment of anyone’s good opinion of me) that I am a loser. Not in the carefully crafted seemingly negative commentary that is actually said to make me look good- i.e. “I use dry shampoo until I can’t get away with it anymore!” AKA- I don’t give a shit what others think, which is cool- but reality and vulnerability and doubt and anger and whatever else makes me feel like the most pathetic human being on the planet. No ego props, no justifications, just truth. (hopefully without hurting anyone I love- that’s not my intention) If you and I can both be aware of how much I suck (and maybe how much you do too), I think we can make positive headway into humility, shedding our hubris, and ending the comparison game.
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