People Are Jealous of You. Yes, Really. You. | by Jodi Tandet | Medium

People Are Jealous of You. Yes, Really. You.

Image for post
Image for postImage for post
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

4:16pm on Facebook:

6:39pm on Instagram:

8:02pm on LinkedIn:

8:03pm in my apartment:

Oh jealousy, my dear ‘ol frenemy! It’s been such a displeasure to know you all these years.

Ever since my babyhood, when my mom had the audacity to ignore my cries for a brief moment to tend to my toddler sister, you’ve been there to make me wish I was in someone’s else shoes.

Or job. Or relationship. Or role in the camp musical.

And ever since the invention of social media, I’ve seen jealously pick up speed, strength, and cruelty.

Jealously has graduated from occasional pangs to constant remembers — or at least nagging claims — of my own inadequacy.

But I highly suspect that I’m not alone.

It’s like we’re each competing in a marathon (yuck) and in addition to being able to see and feel other runners racing past us (double yuck), there’s also an exuberant announcer blaring out random pace times (triple yuck).

Oh and add in spectators cheering on everyone up ahead, celebrating as they cross each mile marker (an infinite number of yucks).

We know we should recognize personal progress and set unique goals.

Focus on our own race.

Image for post
Image for postImage for post
damnit, runner #1512 (Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash)

I thought about this last night as the daily social media humble brags flooded in.

That voice is an asshole. (Maybe it was Mark Zuckerberg’s?)

I’d had enough. I decided to argue back.

I reviewed my supposedly lame life, or at least the Facebook mirage of it, by studying my own profile. For over an hour, I scavenged through the deep dark depths of long-forgotten chipper words and photos.

There was 17-year-old me, making her Facebook debut with college plans declared in all caps.

There was 20-year-old me rocking a new internship, 25-year-old me on a Caribbean cruise, and week-ago me sharing my latest pieces of writing.

Then it dawned on me. Maybe people have felt jealous… of me??!

I don’t typically feel all that fabulous. Sure, I have my moments, but I’m less Olympic champion in the game of life, more at-home Olympic viewer.

I’m just OK.

Nothing special to see here, folks. Move along.

With the occasional exception of my family and closest friends, my social media connections don’t see my failures, my disappointments, or any of the other dazzle-free moments that could best be described as humdrum.

To thousands of people, I only exist through the select life-snippets I’ve meticulously crafted into triumphant stories.

Megan from middle school doesn’t know how many rejections I got before finally landing a job. Josh from summer camp never saw how I sprained my ankle a few days into my vacation, nor how discouraging some days were at my internship.

And David, my college crush, certainly doesn’t know that I sing to my cat every morning while endlessly scrolling through dating apps.

(Oh hey David, you’re reading this??!)

They only see the highlights.

Image for post
Image for postImage for post
image made by me

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” — Steve Furtick

Social media is a collection of highlight reels.

I dare you to try it for yourself; flip back through your social media account(s) and see what moments you’ve carefully selected to showcase.

As the hardworking editor of your personal anthology, what stories have you deemed worthy of publishing?

I bet no job rejections, relationships woes, or bouts of diarrhea.

When I looked through my profiles, not only did I note the curious absence of unfortunate personal news sharing, I also noticed a trend among what I did share: the timing.

Many of my enthusiastic brags were grandly proclaimed around the same time I was deeply grappling with Tough Shit.

  • When I posed in my college graduate cap and gown? I was deeply worried about the future.
  • When I accepted a prestigious internship abroad? I was struggling to find domestic employment.
  • When I cradled my newly adopted cat in my arms? I had just moved thousands of miles away from my family and was living alone in an unfamiliar town.

Presenting an image of success, happiness, and wholeness is especially alluring when I’m sad.

This is another habit I suspect I’m not alone in — the inclination to cover up life’s lows by displaying a high.

Maybe we’re all magicians, shrewdly misdirecting our viewers.

Don’t look at the tears I shed last week… no, no, lookie here at this beautiful pie I baked! OooooOoOOh aaaAaaAhhhh!

So, I have a theory:

People are jealous of me.

People are jealous of you.

And of you, sir, with the six-pack abs, a six-figure job, and six million cravings a day for chocolate cake.

And believe it or not, they’re jealous of you, bud, a high school student earning stellar grades but few friends.

You might be losing your own imagined race, but to many onlookers, you’ve already won.

Image for post
Image for postImage for post
Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Written by

recovering em dash overuser writing about mental health, dating, pop culture & other oddities — all with humor + Hamilton references //

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store