Everybody has a story to tell and a battle to fight. It’s quite amazing actually because when one thinks of how much time one spends idolising other people’s lives, one doesn’t realise that they’re coveting that person’s problems as well. When we look at so and so driving their BMW (at the age of 27), living in that beautiful townhouse and constantly updating about how great their weekend was, we can’t help but think their lives must be so darn perfect. And Facebook really doesn’t help things either! Because no one puts up photo albums called Tough Times or Barely Made it Out in One Piece. So we have no choice but to believe that it is true: they’re always going on great holidays and probably never fight, cry or wake up feeling bloated. But the truth is we are all fighting silent battles, hiding scars and covering up tears from one point or other.
Everyday we encounter incredible people who touch us in one way or another. Men and women, young and old, who (for whatever reason, season or lifetime) leave imprints in our lives and introduce us to a whole new world of wants. Hippie friends, who can throw caution to the wind, live on bare minimum and still always seem to be fulfilled. High rollers who want for nothing, holiday on beautiful islands and can afford more shoes than one heart should be allowed to desire. Talented people who move mountains and make the earth shake in ways some of us only daydream about. The point is most of us are coveters; never realising that the people we covet are also battling inward and outward demons of their own. Insecurities, daddy issues, bread and butter issues… the list is endless.
But you know what the really messed up bit is? That when we uncover these battles, after having built fantasy scenarios of how we would look in their shoes, we find ways to trip them; we belittle their problems. Because it somehow reaffirms our own sense of self to know that we may not be coping with what we’re faced with right now, but if we were given what so and so has, life would be so much better. So those who struggle with bread and butter issues trivialise emotional issues and sentimental bull crap. Those with emotional issues wish those with bread and butter issues would just get over it already. Married people think single people have it easy and those who didn’t go to school think those who did have it easier. In essence, we find nice ways of calling people who live “perfect” lives but are still sad, LAZY. Because once problems have been trivialised, they are overcome-able. And failure to overcome them is a waste of something I could have done so much with. It’s so consuming actually: this coveting business. And not even the slightest bit rewarding. Which sucks because all that effort should at least have some kind of pay off right?
I came across a beautiful quote by Patrick Hillies that I think paints an apt picture of what coveting does. In its entirety, he was talking about his brother but I think this particular line applies to most of us really: “small beauties dressed in garments of tragedy”. I think generally, we are: Struggling with dreams that/ may never be/ in a world that will/ Never change/ to cradle [our] insecurities.
And when we set sail on someone else’s star, we not only dress our beauty in tragedy but we taint theirs as well. Living someone else’s dream won’t make ours come true. And pushing someone else down won’t pull us up. It will distract us, and rob us of the beautiful garment that is our SELF. Instead of embracing our own Life’s Purpose and allowing The Universe to conspire in our favour, we will end up empty. Small beauties dressed in the garment of tragedy.
*FIRST PUBLISHED BY http://www.consciousness.co.za/ *( May 2010)
 Extract from In Reality I Am by Vangile Gantsho