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Expatriates and the Comparison Trap

Quick link: The Expatriate Balance Sheet

At A Life Overseas today, writing about comparison and envy and the grass that’s always greener.

A friend visited me once, coming from a country further east. She brought boxed blueberry muffin mix, Cheerios, and other American brand name goodies. I thought, ‘oh, her life must be wonderful and easy.’ When she left, she packed a few cans of Dr. Pepper and bags of Doritos and thought, with such luxuries at my fingertips, ‘Rachel’s life must be so easy.’

I also read Under the Tuscan Sun, or From Paris to the Moon and I think, well of course they love being an expatriate. They live in Paris. They live in Tuscany. For crying out loud. What are they whining about?! This makes me feel both proud, look where I’ve lived! And sad, look at where I could have lived!

Expatriates easily succumb to this lie that the grass is always greener. This is especially true when there is no grass, like where I live. If you have grass, even dead grass, I guarantee you it is greener than my grass. That small truth aside, believing the euphemistic meaning of the phrase is dangerously easy.

*image via Wikimedia

Mom-Envy, Comparison, and Dresses and Underwear

Quick link: What I learned about Myself When I Saw Another Mother With her Dress Tucked Into Her Underwear

Hint: It wasn’t about endlessly long essay titles. This title was not mine but oh well. If you made it through all 17 words, you just might make it through the short essay. Its about envy and me being all high-schooly petty and ridiculous and trying to be better than that.

When THAT mom has her dress tucked into her underwear

I have a nemesis. She doesn’t know this about our relationship (mainly because we don’t have a relationship), but nevertheless, there it is.

We recognize each other and say, “Hi,” if we pass each other in the grocery store or while out walking. Our kids are at school together and have been for years.

Another reason she doesn’t know she is my nemesis is that I’m pretty sure the feeling is completely one-sided, all stemming from me and my terrible jealousy.

To read the rest, go here: What I learned about Myself When I Saw Another Mother With her Dress Tucked Into Her Underwear

On Wearing Ugly Pants (and envy)

ugly pants

the actual pants, ten years ago

Quick link: Envy and Ugly Pants

You know those ugly pants in your closet? The ones you pull on when you have to run to the grocery store and don’t expect to see anyone you know? The ones your husband tries to burn or cut or irredeemably stain? The ones you cling to and respond to his burn attempts with, “If you burn these I will destroy your black beauties!” and the fight ends?

I wore those to Lucy’s first day of school.

I shouldn’t have, they are really, stinkin’ ugly. But this was my ninth first day of school and the heat index hovered around ‘hellish’ and I just didn’t care.

Until I saw her.

That woman, every school has one, every woman knows one. Your nemesis. The one who seems to show up at every awkward moment of your life and while you are on your knees wiping up vomit, she is waltzing by on high heels  untouched by Djibouti’s dust. She smells like roses. You smell like vomit.

Even though we are far from the first day of school, I decided it was time to post the essay I wrote while Lucy was at school that day.

You know the woman I’m talking about. The one whose only flaw is that her well-dressed, wealthy husband’s chin sort of melts into his neck, deeper and deeper as he ages. The woman that makes you feel less than. The one that makes you discontent. The one with whom, in your own mind, you will never measure upShe has it all and no matter what you do, you never will.

This woman’s son is in my daughter’s class. Again.

This means I will see her on a regular basis for the rest of the year. Again.

This means it is time to battle the green monster of envy.

This means it is time to crush the concept of scarcity, the ‘mythical they.’

Click here to read more about how I battle this monster, how I face down the scarcity: Envy and Ugly Pants

How do you?

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