Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms)

When I was growing up, I remember my mother once told me, "A jealous child is an ugly child, and I didn't raise an ugly child."

Yes, good old jealousy. The Green Eyed Monster if you will. Things are going alright in our lives until we meet that person that is smarter, more athletic, or better looking than us. Sometimes they are all three of these things in a blender, an overachiever with no seeming faults. Meanwhile, they are human and have faults. We all do. But we have our blinders on. Why can't we be them? Or worse yet, it's that someone we view as inferior that gets the job we so desperately want, the house we dreamed of, or covets the object of our affection. We all have been the target or experienced it. Welcome to this wonderful journey called life.

I still remember when I saw The Green Eyed Monster in action. At the time I was 14 and doing the summer teen program at The Pittsburgh Playhouse. There were two groups, Musical Theatre and Acting. When parts were distributed, I got a decent supporting role despite not having come up through that feeder system like some of the others. One girl got the lead in the musical. A beautiful mezzo, she also had a shock of gorgeous red hair. However, not everyone was so eager to toast her winning. Her fellow cast mates were quick to report on how she was slow to learn some of her lines, had trouble with some of her music, and wasn't as strong as a dancer. They also said she was a "stuck up bitch."

Well I saw this girl whom I will call Belinda in action. None of this was true. Her voice was perfect, as was her acting and dancing. Belinda Carson was one of the only true triple threats I have met in my life. She also came to support our show, and gave me a huge hug and told me how great I was. I found Belinda lovely and talented. These idiots, on the other hand, were looking for dents in her suit of armor that weren't even there. So they took it upon themselves to create little chinks. Truth be told, I was disgusted by all of them. Most of all, because some of my so called friends in the program went out of their way to bad mouth her, I believed she was the bitch they said she was. They were wrong, and when they described her they were really just talking about themselves. It was a lesson to say the least.

High school of course is where that crap flourishes. I remember freshmen year bon fire when two of my friends, both close, decided to fight over a high school guy who wasn't worth it. Needless to say it was a cat fight. The loser guy, like most men who let women cat fight over them, sat back and enjoyed the show. Both of my friends decided they were no longer friends after the hair pulling and stuff. And by the way, Sir Lancelot created this situation by lying to the both of them. Afterwards, both would bad mouth the other in front of the one I was with. It got to be a lot, so much I ended by friendship with both of them. And they were fighting over what? A guy. Big deal. They do the same tricks and all have the same equipment.

And then there was the literary magazine. My first two years, we had editors who decided to trash both love and God poems. Most of the love and God poems were awful. I get it. However, sometimes poems would be trashed based on the fact the person that wrote them was from a "popular" group. One cheerleader wrote a poem that wasn't half bad, but they trashed it because she was a member of the pom squad. Another football player wrote something that again, was actually decent. They trashed it because he was a jock. For a bunch of people who claimed they hated bullying and oppression, it seemed they were inflicting the torture whenever they got the chance.

This is a lot of the reason I didn't enjoy high school. I loved my teachers, classes, and friends. But I didn't care for this drama filled bullshit. Yeah, I had a cable access TV show. Now it is "awesome" according to people that I grew up with when I am on TV. In high school, it made me the butt of snide snips by a bunch of idiots who had no goals and weren't doing anything with their lives. Now people think it's incredible that I am a ventriloquist. But my gym class in high school didn't, especially when they tormented me daily. Oh and people think it's cool when I publish and write books. Winning writing awards doesn't make you popular with ANYONE in high school. This shit was so oppressive that I almost elected to leave high school a year early.I even had a scholarship to a college, too. My Pops told me if I stayed for my senior year I could go to New York.

I can't say I was always white as snow in not getting jealous. In high school there was a girl who was a great singer and dancer that got a tour senior year. I wanted that. Everyone thought she was going to be famous. In my simply wired mind, if she was successful I couldn't be. Truth was, I got into NYU and went to New York. She toured for a bit and then got married. She didn't became famous, but sings in a successful event band. I have my life and she has hers. Yeah, she is still the better singer. Not to mention she has a great husband and great family. I would be blessed if I had a husband that loved me and supported me as much as hers does, and a son who was a third as cute. Yeah, I am a career woman in NYC. It doesn't mean I don't salute and support her gifts.

Things also got a little tense with rivals in high school, especially around musical time. When I got the Wicked Witch lead, there were people who wanted to claw my eyes out. One of my rivals especially did. However, I found myself jealous of her because she was a great test taker and kicked my ass on both the SATs and PSATs. Another rival made no secret of the fact that she wanted my role, but it seemed like she could take it away because her voice was that much better. So yeah, occasionally we all locked horns on the Aztec Ball Court of Achievement. But as time went on, we became more focused on our sides of the street. We went our different ways, and I am the only one still performing. They have fulfilling lives though, and most importantly are happy. Actually, they have grown up to the point where they follow me and support me sometimes. It is a kind turn around. It shows we have all grown up.

In my early days in New York I was guilty of being jealous. I sized my competition up. She was prettier and I was never going to get those spots. I wasn't an ethnic comic, therefore I was never going to get the "easy breaks." In an art form dominated by men, I felt like the doors closed on my fingers like coffins because I was a female. As a prop act, there was no way I was ever going to make it.  Or they were a suck up so they only got the spots in the stuffy rags. As I continued this compare and despair I began to walk a rocky, slippery slope. Nothing was happening and I didn't know why.

Then one day I met one of the people getting what I wanted, and they were gracious and kind. We had a chit chat actually, and we agreed jealous only set a person back. Also, after that chat it occurred being jealous meant you had a fear that there was never enough. You were grabbing for what was there because you were afraid there would never be enough, perhaps you might lose what you already have. And being friends and knowing successful people didn't mean there would be no breaks or chances. It instead meant good energy was around you. As I began recommending friends with certain skills for jobs, they did the same for me.

I began to see there was enough. And I started to focus on my game, my side of the street. I began to see everyone's path was different. Doors began to open. I began to get the coveted spots. I got published in the so called stuffy rags. Most importantly, I began to be happy for other people. I also began to realize every opportunity was not mine. Therefore I could enjoy the skills of others. Some of my coworkers at the telegram company have impressive voices. Other friends of mine can paint and draw. Some write excellent poetry and take fabulous photos. I can enjoy gifts that aren't mine. And they can laugh at my hacky jokes and enjoy my puppets.

In closing, this terrible behavior on the part of others is still difficult for me to deal with as an entertainment person. Several days ago I was assailed by a whacky belly dancer online, whom when I saw her live should have taken the stage name Titanic because her fat ass just sank. She attacked me for no reason, and just went below the belt telling lies. What had I done to her? Then I remembered I performed well and stole the spotlight on a night that was supposed to be hers. (I was just performing well and doing my job, sorry).

Then I remembered my mom saying, "A jealous child is an ugly child, and I didn't raise an ugly child."

Sorry you weren't raised better. Sorry you are such an ugly child. 

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