I’ve always had 700 words sitting on the tip of my tongue, some of them ready to swan dive onto paper and the rest prepared to jump out of my mouth at inconvenient times and sort of kurplunk at the foot of conversation. I’ve never been graceful, nor have I ever been drawn to the concept of put together. A lot of days I think my calling in life is to spill coffee on white clothes, or to have bad timing, I’m really good at both of them.
Something I know about myself is that there is nothing I appreciate more than brutal honesty that still knows how to be gentle and raw truthfulness that shows up at your door and invites itself in with a smile. So that is how I try to exist. A little bit in the way, but the type of in the way that’s like the family dog, you can only be mad at it for 10 minutes then you start to pet it again.
I don’t have a lot of answers, but I could write novels on the way I feel about things. I feel a lot about this word: Comparison. I think that it is a scary word, one that sort of kurplunks off the tongue. There’s no grace in the word comparison, no wiggle room for kindness or honesty. When we try it on, it tells us we’re ugly, it tells us we’re not unique or good or funny- Yet it still somehow convinces us that we look great in it. So we glare at ourselves one more time in the mirror, walk out of the changing room and straight out of the store still wearing it, tags and all.
There’s no easy way to approach the dynamic duo of comparison and jealousy- They are ugly bullies for words and it isn’t an aesthetically pleasing conversation to have. But if we don’t at least say them out loud, we’ll always feel like we’re alone in a room with them. We all struggle with comparison and jealousy, we’ve all tattled on them for pulling on our hair or telling us we’re too fat or too skinny or telling us we don’t have a cool enough job or trendy clothes. We’ve blamed other people for them, we’ve let them ruin our day, our week, our year. They’ve shown up on birthdays, wedding days, sunshine days. They come skipping in, arms hooked together and they beg to be paid attention to. They are satan in disguise.
And all we can do is laugh in his face, outstretch our arms, forfeit our human flaws and well up with the truth that we aren’t any of the things satan tells us we are.
It does no good to fall under the false impression that we’ll never compare ourselves to anyone- We are silly and we are stubborn, and we will. But the best we can do is pull ourselves back up and remain obsessed with giving grace. There’s no reward found in bitterness or resentment. You will not find yourself higher up the mountain by shoving other people down it or by comparing your pine tree to someone else's oak tree. We can't become a new tree by pretending we have the same kind of branches as them.
We’re our best selves when we’re caught in the middle of obsession with the kinds of things that give us new reasons to be ourselves- Truth, wheezy and squeaky belly laughter, poetry, live music, golden hour sunsets, middle of the afternoon thankfulness. It’s healing to remember how important it is that we are here, every new day we wake up is like a reminder saying “Hey, I liked having you here yesterday so much, I’d like to have you again today.”
After all, this is the skin you’ve been set here in. It would do you good to at least show up, proud to be wearing it.