When I was younger, I always had to deal with issues of jealousy – both on the receiving and feeling ends. Anything I had, someone else wanted; and whatever I had, the grass was always greener somewhere else.

Not much has changed in some aspects, but much has changed in others.

Those that are jealous of what I have don’t understand the effort it took for me to get it and/or to keep it. I’ve constantly been surrounded by opportunists that genuinely can’t believe that anyone ever deserves success or has had to suffer greatly to achieve it; they have a sense of entitlement to ‘luck’ and a resentment of anyone who ever seems to have been fortunate enough to be successful. Talent doesn’t usually make success in and of itself; which is unfortunate, but it’s reality. Desire doesn’t make success either. Hell, even hard work is no guarantee. But resentment does usually create failure.

And what constitutes itself as success varies greatly from person to person. I’ve always found it surreal when people say I’m in any way/shape/form successful, because I don’t have/haven’t achieved any of the things that matter to me. But yes, I have achieved lots of superficial things, and I am grateful for them – and the key word there is ‘achieved,’ as in ‘worked hard and sacrificed much for.’ If you ever want to piss me off, tell me I’m lucky. Tell me I don’t get it, that I don’t understand because it’s easy for me. Tell me you wish you had/were [some bullshit thing that I have]. I wasted a lot of time at one point of my life trying to convince people that I was this Awesome Person that they should envy, because I hoped that maybe I’d buy into it and stop hating myself. Yes, there are things that come naturally to me, and I shouldn’t have to apologize for that. But most of it is hard – not just the I-had-a-horrible-tragic-life hard (though that certainly holds up under scrutiny), but the having-what-you-want-means-willingness-time-and-effort hard. There will always be people that will tell you that your dreams – or you – don’t matter, and there will always be people that try to knock you down. But there will also always be those who dismiss what you do achieve (when you overcome the naysaying) and will feel like they can take a piece out of your success because, well, you have it. Some people think that there is an easy track to success and happiness, and as long as they’re allowed to leech off of others who mistake their attention for genuine interest, I guess there is – for them. They see achievements and success as something to take or that falls into your lap, not something that is earned. To me, things that are worth having are worth working/fighting for and investing time and energy into; anything that comes instantly has no real value or substance or meaning. And I’d rather have something that matters than something simple or easy.

I still struggle with my own bitterness and jealousy; not because I don’t appreciate things, nor because I think that others don’t deserve happiness, nor because I expect things should be easy/convenient – but because I have had so many chances and opportunities taken from me by people who were petty and resentful of me, and that hurts. Because every time I got pushed down someone was there to kick me while I was on the ground. Because I’ve had to constantly hear everyone tell me that I need to change, that this-or-that is wrong with me, and that I’m not accepted as myself. Because it is harder when you can’t relate to anyone else and have to make your own path. I see the version of me that didn’t have to deal with the bullshit, that had someone on her side, and I’m jealous of her – but not of anyone else. It’s hard not to wish that things had been different, or that someone would have believed in me the way I believed in myself. I have to wear a lot of masks just to get by, and pretend that I’m someone or something I’m not every day. But I am talented, smart, and kick-ass, and find that I let that speak for itself a lot more now than when I felt like I had to overcompensate for being different (or, more accurately, for being myself). Those [external] things don’t define me as much as they used to; looking inward versus focusing outward tends to reduce jealousy a lot. I also know that when I see what I have overcome – what I’ve done despite the challenges – that I have a lot less to fear now. I do have a lot to be grateful for, and do have goals and dreams to aspire to. I do feel like I have accomplished a lot, and that I have a lot yet to achieve. And I know I have the ability to achieve success – my definition of it – even if no one else thinks so; and I’m comfortable with that. Who knows, maybe I could even achieve happiness when I can finally see how green my own grass is.