My life has been one filled with envy.
Envy at the other children in the playground who weren’t constantly ‘it’ during games of tag because they couldn’t keep up with the rest.
Envy at the girls who all the boys fancied at school, and those who were graceful, elegant, whilst I tripped over my own feet.
Envy at the school and University peers who were just as clever as I was, but somehow never had the social interaction problems and low self-esteem I had.
Envy at the friends who had long-term relationships with seemingly well-balanced, romantic partners who appeared to value and respect them.
Envy at the friends who got Firsts in their undergrad degrees whilst I, though academically capable, didn’t manage to do so.
Envy at my multi-instrumentalist bandmates who could co-ordinate every part of their bodies to simultaneously sing and play, and who could singlehandedly demo an entire song that they had written entirely by themselves, with every intrument, every part, audible and accounted for.
Envy at the people who started at the same pay grade as me, but quickly progressed above and beyond, often despite being younger than I was.
Envy at friends who appeared to have ‘found their niche’ in the world, whilst I still struggled to work out who or what I was supposed to be.
Envy at the people I knew who persisted with creative endeavours, whilst I, obsessed with and skilled in the visual arts before all else throughout childhood, had abandoned formal study of art aged 16.
Envy at the friends who were couch potatoes when I started running, but who went on to run multiple marathons, compete in long distance triathlons, and get faster, stronger, and better, whilst I remained clumsy, injury-prone, and forever having to start again from scratch.
Envy at other women who had babies at around the same time as I did, or months later, but who were quickly out running again even as I was still plagued with pelvic girdle pain, postpartum.
Envy at fellow parents of children the same age as my own, who somehow seemed more ‘with it’, and inexplicably more comfortable and relaxed with each other, as well as in their role as parents, than I appeared to be.
Envy at the colleagues in my immediate team who reportedly performed far better than I did in interviews for an internal management job. And the one who did get that job.
Envy at those same colleagues for having, or nearing completion of, PhDs whilst I have never undertaken one, and for achieving Senior HEA Fellowship whilst I am still working towards it.
Envy at colleagues and friends who can afford holidays and house redecorations, and who have more time to themselves.
And even now, despite everything, envy at those fellow autistic bloggers – many of whom, despite the fact I only ‘know’ them online, and whom I have only been in touch with for such a short time, I am now starting to consider as true friends – who write so beautifully, whilst I struggle to muster up the executive function to put my words together.
But all this envy is so fucking pointless. It’s a waste of time and energy to consider myself either lucky or unlucky in all of this. Some people – many people – have things far worse than I do, but comparing myself positively to them is just as pointless as comparing myself negatively to others and wishing I had what they have. This envy has to stop.
Life is what it is. We are who we are. I am what, and who, I am.
I have spent a lifetime comparing myself negatively against others. But the benchmarks are not relative. There is no control to this experiment. I cannot possibly have any idea what others might be going through beyond what I see, and what they reveal to me. In comparing myself to others I have conveniently ignored so many life experiences, personal circumstances, and instances of pure fucking chance that have made me who I am, and influenced what I have, or have not, been able to achieve.
So much of my envy has been experienced at a time when I didn’t truly know I was. Now I have my diagnosis, now I know I am autistic, and that, very probably, I have numerous other neurodivergences that influence my strengths and weaknesses, I need to let go of the comparisons.
I am happier, and far more able to love, cherish, and care for others, when I love, cherish, and care for myself, and nurture my own self-worth. I have achieved so much, against so many odds. There is so much I can celebrate.
I am me, and no-one else.
I am my own motherfucking superhero.