Return to site


Names changed to protect the human

I'm having progressively more difficulty living with an unattractive jealousy that lurks in my black little heart.  Also progressively more difficulty hiding it, which is making it harder for me to continue to be friends with this nice lady, who has done nothing at all to deserve any negative feelings from me.

It's Maria.  She's perfectly nice, and it's so not her fault at all that she gets all the men and I'm still waiting for them and may be waiting for many years.  But it just drives me nuts, because she's not an artist, or a thinker.  She has no imagination or curiosity.  She doesn't work hard at her dance, she doesn't bleed for it, it doesn't consume her.  She's not driven to dance, it's something she can take or leave, do socially, or not, whatever.  And I know for sure I'm a better dancer than she is!  And yet all those men who don't dance with me dance with her.

What drives me nuts about my jealousy is that most of the time I'm a champ at not comparing myself to anyone else and smugly stating that Everyone Is On Their Own Journey and Everyone's Process Is Irrelevant to Mine.  I'm usually terrific at believing in my core that everybody is wonderful in their own wonderful way and exploring their own wonderful lives with their own wonderful gifts and challenges.  But with Maria I just get stuck.  And I hate myself for being jealous.

What is it?  What's the magic elixir?  She started six months after me, takes long breaks, doesn't practice regularly, and when she does practice it's by rote instead of by mindful discovery.  What are the men all seeing as different between us and more tandaworthy about her?  Yes, our personalities are extremely different, and I wouldn't be friends with her if she didn't dance, because we have nothing in common.  So maybe whatever it is that doesn't come naturally to me and does come naturally to her is the thing they want.  In which case...I'm going to be sitting on the sidelines for a long time.

I also suspect it might say something about our lives outside of the dance floor.  It might just be easier to dance with, by which I mean be with, Maria.  She's easy to be with.  Everything is very medium with her.  She's a suburban housewife, for Pete's sake.  She spends her days getting her nails done and going to the gym.  I can only assume her dance embrace transmits a similar feeling to what she shares conversationally.  She's like a pair of khaki pants—just about everyone thinks khakis are ok and would be just fine with reaching for a pair and putting them on.  You can't go wrong with khakis.  (I have a couple pairs myself.  Khakis are great.  They make me feel like Kristin Scott Thomas in The English Patient, or, better yet, Meryl Streep in Out of Africa.)  Me, I feel like a pair of pants made entirely out of peacock feathers!  Probably going to sit on the rack a lot longer!  And khakis kind of go with everybody, because there's not too much obtrusive personality in the way.  Peacock feather pants don't go with ANYBODY, because they're all personality, enough personality for themselves and the wearer and a few other people besides.

But come on, fellers.  Peacock feathers are awesome.  They're beautiful and soft and iridescent and there's nothing else like them in the whole world.

And's not about her.  If she weren't around, it would be someone else.  And it's not about dance.  It's about what I've been dealing with my whole life: I'm just Different, and in this world, Similar has greater mass appeal.  It's not easy being green!  Or, that immortal line from Funny Girl: "I'm a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls!"

Well, here's to being a green bagel.  I know very well that if I try to be anything else, it's just bad news for everyone.  So, better to be an undisguised green bagel sitting jealously along the sidelines than (no matter how much more they get to dance) anybody else.

A yoga teacher once said, "better to do your dharma badly than to do anybody's else's."  I'll just repeat it to myself a few thousand times and eventually it may stick.