Creativity · Personal · Publishing · Writing

Artistic Jealousy

I’m curious if anyone else has ever run into artistic jealousy. What I mean is finding that another creative person is jealous of your accomplishments.

The reason I ask is that I think I’ve just experienced it with someone I know, an artist who up until now had been encouraging and supportive of my endeavors. They were one of the people who motivated me to start podcasting and to publish a collection of my short stories. The thing is, now that I’ve done both they don’t speak to me.

It’s weird because we had a great creative friendship. We’d share our work with each other, give each other constructive criticism, and we even collaborated on a couple of projects. But as soon as I started to complete some of my projects the relationship changed. The artist became distant, acts annoyed when I try to speak with them, and no longer seems to want to be a cheerleader for me. They won’t listen to my podcast and won’t buy a copy of my book.

At first I was hurt by this. I mean, the two of us have had a great time offering suggestions to one another, talking about our creative processes, motivating and inspiring one another. We’ve been doing it for a few years now. The artist pushed me to complete several of my short stories after reading the first drafts, offering me encouragement along the way.

I kept wondering what had happened. Did I do or say something? I wanted to ask, but the artist barely acknowledges me. So I wrote about it in my journal…my personal therapy session. And that’s when I realized that I hadn’t done anything wrong. The problem is that the artist was jealous of me.

I know that probably sounds egotistical, but hear me out. One of the things I noticed about the artist is that they don’t seem to finish any of their projects. The start a lot of them, but nothing ever seems to make it to a final form. I used to encourage the artist to post to their social media accounts so other people can see what their doing. But no, they won’t do that. It’s like they live in this little bubble of creativity and never venture beyond the borders. Despite the fact they encouraged me to chase my dreams, they don’t seem to like the fact that I did what I set out to do…that I did what they pushed me to do. Did they expect me to fail, to give up and abandon my projects? Or does my accomplishments remind them of their own shortcomings when it comes to completing projects?

I find it sad that it’s come to this. I feel that, as creators and artists, one of our purposes is to inspire others, to make people think and feel. It’s not a competition to see who can do something better or faster. It’s about being honest in our work, putting our heart and souls into the finished product, and to hopefully appeal to and inspire an audience on some level. And it not just an audience we’re trying to inspire, we should also be encouraging and motivating each other as artists.

I know this post is more personal than what I usually write on this website, but I need to get this off my mind. It’s a shame that something as silly as jealousy would damage a friendship, but I guess it happens. I’ve seen it first hand. And yeah, it hurts my feelings, but at the same time I’m also a little bit angry. All I did was complete a project, achieve a dream, and because of that I’ve apparently lost a friend. How shitty is that?

I try to always remember that everyone has issues and baggage they’re carrying. Just because someone is in a bad mood doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your fault. People have bad days, have bad lives, and sometimes they simply don’t process things in a healthy way. I get that. But at the same time, I also try to be cognizant of other people’s feelings. If someone is excited about some accomplishment, then I’ll be happy for them and tell them so.

While this artist I’m writing about has ignored my minor success, I have another friend who bought a copy of my e-book on the first day it was available…and she doesn’t even have anything to read it with. She bought it just to support me. I think that speaks volumes and shows what a true friend really is. I guess I’m lucky in that respect.

Jealousy, however, is an ugly beast. But at least I know who my real friends are. It’s just an unfortunate way to find out.

RB

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