Friday, May 27, 2011

The tar pit of envy and self-pity

Photo of La Brea Tar Pitts by betsyweber, used under cc licence

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know this has been a very difficult year in my personal life. Loss and disappointments have been hard at our heels and we've been struggling to keep ahead of them as best as we can.

I say this not to start a pity party.

It's simply the backdrop to where my emotional state of mind is at, and since I strive for honesty in my writings here, I have to admit my less attractive qualities along with the more positive attributes I would rather highlight.

I follow a lot of writing blogs/twitterfeeds, etc. (Bear with me, this is connected). Lately, I find myself reading about someone's new release, not with joy and hopefulness, but with envy and malice in my heart. The inner voices start to agitate.

Why him? Why her? Why not me? It's not fair. I'm better. I deserve it. Stupid editors.

This is the La Brea tar pit of negativity. And the more I let those voices set my internal landscape, the deeper I sink into the sticky blackness.

Life is not a zero sum game. I know this with my head, but the fear isn't a rational actor. The fear says "If you get this cake/candy/publishing deal, there won't be any left for me." The fear is a 3 year old. The fear cannot be reasoned with. The fear just wants what it wants.

So I work hard to be honest with myself. To acknowledge my selfish, self-centered, whiny thoughts in an effort to move past them. Yesterday, I stopped by the ceramics studio. (Yes, this will be connected, I promise.)

A set of 4 bowls I had worked on were glazed and fired, ready to take home.

The image inside is a dragonfly, one of my 'totem' images.

I'm not a professional potter and these bowls are not perfect, but they represent over 4 years of practice and hard work and I am very proud of them.

I made them, as part of a request to be auctioned off to help a colleague of my husband's who had been diagnosed with a virulent kind of cancer.

I look at the bowls and see in them a kind of pure offering.  Something done for another, without expectation of recompense or return, simply because it is needed and it is right.

And suddenly those voices full of fear are not so loud anymore.


  1. Sometimes, you just gotta wallow in the tar before you can rise out of it. Hang in there.