Jealousy and Envy

Honestly, it’s not something I normally feel. The last time I felt jealousy in a serious way, that I can remember, was when I was thirty years old, and someone I went to high school with had just published her first novel. That got me. Then I read it and things got so much worse. It was this wonderful, evocative, luscious, brilliant work. I felt just sick.

But I spent a week or so meditating on it, and I came to terms with what I felt, and I was able to both neutralize the feelings, and turn them into inspiration. I didn’t deny my feelings, sometimes people have something you want, or achieve something you’d like to achieve. It’s hard to explain, but I embraced them in a friendlier way. I looked at what I had and what I’d done, compared it realistically to the rest of the world, and then I took steps toward achieving what I wanted to achieve. Slowly, over time, I stopped feeling jealousy for the most part. It was very liberating.

Last night an NYPD helicopter was circling right over my block, coming closer than I’d ever seen a helicopter come before. People on Facebook reminded me that Obama was in my neighborhood having dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house. I have to be honest, I felt a wave of envy. As that helicopter circled overhead, shining lights over the roofs (looking for snipers?) I desperately wanted to have a fabulous apartment and Sarah Jessica Parker’s wardrobe, and to not have to think about things like how much all this medication for my cat is costing me. I wanted the kind of fairytale life where a Barack Obama would come to my apartment for dinner, and all these magical whirlwinds of activity would start spinning around me as I was just going about, living my life.

I will feel much better when I finish the edits of this book, and if I can get it to a place where I love it. Because, in truth, I am leading exactly the life I have always wanted. I haven’t always been successful at all the things I’ve tried (hence the cat-medical-bills worry) but at least I’m trying, and the game isn’t over yet! I also realize how good I have it in so many ways, like living in the neighborhood I do, even if Barack Obama isn’t coming to my house for dinner. (And what would I feed him anyway? I don’t cook. Amy’s frozen pizza, my favorite dinner? Oh wait, do you think Sarah Jessica Parker is doing the cooking?)

I will also feel a lot better when my freaking camera is repaired and I can go out and photograph things like the president coming to my neighborhood for dinner! I’m not going to get over missing that opportunity for a while, I can tell you. (That’s Buddy giving me head butts above.)

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

9 thoughts on “Jealousy and Envy

  1. I’m a very jealous person. It’s what’s gotten me off my butt to put up or shut up. Or so I thought, until I recently read the Steve Jobs biography. I will never be that smart, that disciplined, that visionary. I will never set goals that high, or accomplish them. I will never have my phone calls taken by every brilliant person I had a whim to chat with because they knew I was a peer, or at least a seer. I hate Steve Jobs and I totally adore him.

  2. But you know, I sort of/kind of envy YOUR life. I always wanted to be a writer who lived in NYC. Yeah, it didn’t happen — never even left the city I was born in (other than vacations). I guess I found all those wonderful stories of writers who lived in NYC to be compelling and evocative.

    I miss your photos too, but I’m really, really glad that Buddy is getting along okay. I had a cat named Buddy; and he lived up to his name: always sitting on my lap, snuggling with me. I still miss him and he’s been dead 7 years. Give a {{{{{{{{HUG}}}}}}}} to Buddy from me!

  3. Funny, Stacy, I envy your life there in NYC. You get to live in the Village near people like SJP. You can walk everywhere or take the subway or buses (the buses that run here in Greensboro are called the maids’ buses as the routes go from the poor side of town to the rich side and the hours coincide with those of the maids . . .) You have all those wonderful museums, art galleries, shops, etc. Gosh, I could go on and on about how much I love all New York.

    Grass is always greener, isn’t it?

  4. Come on Stacy, SJP has no substance!!! She does what people tell her to do, you write and create from within. Quite frankly I still blame SJP and Sex in the City for the current state of the Village…..

  5. Hi Stacy,
    you know, I have been reading your blog for quite a while now, and frankly I think had you actually been invited, you would not have liked it.

    Candidly, I do not think you are presumptuous enough, narcissistic enough, or trivial and affected enough to get a kick out of such a gathering.

    My wife and I laughed at Anna Wintour’s radio announcement. She said that the only thing missing was the opinion of whoever won the contest. The very idea that Anna Wintour is concerned about some shop girl in flyover country is hilarious. She is almost the definition of an effete, superficial aristocrat with disdain for the middle class.

    I understand she got rid of all of SJP’s furniture and had people windexing the door knobs.

    My understanding is that she wants to be ambassador to the Court of St. James. And that is her essential motivation for co-hosting this event.

  6. I had to smile at your comments because, like some others here, I, too, have felt a touch of envy about your life. Perhap “envious admiration” would describe it better, with no schadenfreude whatsoever. I follow your blog because of common interests (particularly about people & things lost and forgotten to time), but I often find myself mumbling “wish I could play drums with a samba band” or “wish I could sing” & “wish I had her knowledge about computers,” not to mention “wish I could write a publishable book.” That said, my son DID get to meet with President Obama a few weeks ago, so I was one degree removed from the Leader of the Free World!

  7. I don’t know about Anna Wintour, but everyone who has met Sarah Jessica Parker speaks very highly of her. She’s supposed to be down to earth, gracious and considerate. I don’t know what the actual party was like, and I may have been uncomfortable. But the people may have been perfectly friendly and easy to talk to so maybe not!

    One things for certain: I would have had NOTHING to wear!

    Also, I don’t meant to appear ungrateful about my life. I realize there are a lot of wonderful things in it. Like, I’m going to get to sing a new Philip Glass piece in Times Square on Thursday. Everything about that, except for what the weather is supposed to be on Thursday, sounds so much fun. Singing outside, in Times Square, and a brand new Philip Glass piece that’s never been sung before!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap