Prompt: Who is an expert you admire and why?
Recently, I’ve made friends with a really cool girl named Jane. She’s an outspoken feminist and civil rights activist with a neat little girl and a passion for social work. She works full-time, goes to graduate school, raises her daughter, spends her free time petitioning for causes, and still has enough time to read and watch tons of comics and anime.
When I think of Jane, I’m torn between admiration and envy. I think what she does and, more importantly, who she is are so impressive. She manages to stay informed on major issues, and she finds the time to actually go out and help others rather than just talking about it. She makes me want to be more outspoken and try a little bit harder too.
But I’m also envious of her energy and dedication. Despite the fact that she’s been through addiction, abuse, and medical problems, she still manages to be high energy and motivated. She comes home from working with male addicts, many of whom are openly insulting and sometimes even threatening, and instead of just collapsing on her bed or vegging out in front of the TV all night, she takes her daughter to Shaolin, works on the young adult series she’s writing, and goes out to advocate for raising the minimum wage. Tonight I came home, hung out with my girlfriend, and watched an hour of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
I wish I could be as motivated as she is. I wish that I wouldn’t let things that are important to me like support for refugees or lobbying against Matt Bevin get set aside for rest and relaxation. It makes me feel ashamed and less than.
But the fact of the matter is that I’m not Jane. While we share many of the same core values, we are not the same person, and we don’t have the same priorities. Even if we had identical lives, we wouldn’t do the same things, so it is needless and even destructive for me to ever compare myself with her. It also contributes to our society’s flawed perception that women have to compete with each other in order to be noticed. I don’t want to compete with Jane, and I don’t have to. All I have to do is be myself, admire what she does, and try to comport myself in a way that makes me feel less wanting.
It helps to have someone like Jane show me the way.