I have been literally green with envy for the past few weeks.  It has bothered me to a point that I was letting it affect nearly every aspect of my life – including my writing.  I am finally learning how to let it go, but I thought that if I shared it with the world (or at least the people who care to follow me) then I can get rid of the last vestiges of guilt that has ruled my life.

I’m sure by this point you are sitting there in shock.  Kay?? Jealous?  What in the world could she be jealous of.  Well… let me tell you – there are probably many things in the world that I want, or that I pine after, but true jealousy only rears its ugly head at times.  This particular incident centers around “The Christmas Carol” production that my dance studio is putting on in December.

I have to start out by saying: I’m not a fantastic dancer.  I only started ballet a few years ago for the first time, and although I have a mind that can easily learn steps – grace and style are something that I am slower to pick up.  I have a tendency to lumber across the stage, shorten my kicks and jumps when nervous, and in general look like an adult who hasn’t done ballet her entire life.  Next to the young, graceful girls, I know I look like an aging actor, but that hasn’t caused me jealousy.  Envy?  Yes – for I wish I could have done ballet when younger, and I wish I could do it better now.  However, I am fully capable of accepting my own inabilities.

No, my jealousy doesn’t stem from watching the younger dancers succeed in life.  I am genuinely happy for them, as I am for the rest of the cast.  In my immediate family – only my youngest son, who is 4, is not on stage with us this time.  That means 5 out of the 6 of us will be on stage for the ballet.  I am proud of my children for getting good parts and acting them out well.  I am proud of my husband for not only being the Ghost of Christmas Present, but handling several other roles.  Their success makes me happy and I love seeing them on stage and performing.

"Green Ballet Shoes" by Aya Mesbah

Strangely enough, my jealousy stems from the other adult dancers.  I love these women – we dance, sweat, complain, and socialize together.  They are more like family to me, then just friends.  The adults in our studio are a very close-knit group who look out for the welfare of their friends, and who motivate each other on the floor and off, and push themselves to succeed harder than any other group of dancers I have met.  I love these women, and yet I have to admit it is hard for me to stomach when my friends get named parts, or chosen to dance in special dances.  I don’t know why the jealous bug hit me so hard this year, other than the fact that I only have two run on parts in the opening and closing scenes (and by run on, I mean that literally – in both cases I am running across the floor either being dragged by a child or chasing after a child) and I am one of the dancers in the adult party scene.  It wasn’t so bad until I found out that all my other adult dancing friends have extra parts.  Not only that, but in the opening and closing scenes they have dance parts, where mine is all acting.

So what did I do?  Nothing.  I let the knowledge that each of my adult dance friends were getting more parts fester and stew until the green monster rose up and took over.  I not only felt jealous, but overlooked, undervalued, and terribly disappointed.  I was turning into a bitter, snarly dancer who was doing nothing positive for the situation.

The thing is – this isn’t me.  I don’t like being this person.  I see that I am behaving this way and it makes me angry, because I am then disappointed in myself.  Once I let go of that disappointment – I realized it was okay that I am let down because I wasn’t chosen this year.  It was okay to accept the parts I do have and play them to the fullest.  I had to turn my thoughts around to the positive, because I knew this wouldn’t be the first time I would be put in this situation.

This is a wake up call – a magnificent motivator to turn me into a better dancer.   This may just be my kick in the pants to push me to the next level.  I am obviously lacking in some regard, and my cockiness needs to turn down a notch so I can see where I need to improve.  I know I won’t ever be the lead in a ballet production, but with hard work – next year I hope to improve enough that I will be an adult force to be reckoned with.  I am putting on my big girl dance shoes and working my tail off.

Lastly, I ran across this quote and I found it worthy of sharing.  I know I didn’t divulge any great insights into a solution – but I hope that by sharing my story I can let others know that it is normal to experience jealousy in a production.  How you handle it, though, is what ultimately defines who you are as a person.

Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have value.  Jealousy scans for evidence to prove the point – that others will be preferred and rewarded more than you.  There is only one alternative – self-value.  If you cannot love yourself, you will not believe that you are loved.  You will always think it’s a mistake or luck.  Take your eyes off others and turn the scanner within.  Find the seeds of your jealousy, clear the old voices and experiences.  Put all the energy into building your personal and emotional security.  Then you will be the one others envy, and you can remember the pain and reach out to them.

~Jennifer James

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