A Journal Entry of Jealous Chagrin

Under misty puffs of smoke and kaleidoscope lights, I flipped through my most recent journal entry. My mind skipped from the message on stage and I fell into my own scribbly pages…

I have this notebook but I never write anything important in it.

I spent all morning flittering through the blog of Gemma Land [name changed], who featured one of my favorite bloggers today. Gemma started her own jewelry business from nothing in the year following her college graduation. She used it to pay all of her bills, which required $1000 a week in 2007. It’s 2013 and together, Andrew and I bank a flat two grand in a month. Somehow we make it.

My reaction is about 100-fold. Or maybe it’s just one-fold… jealous chagrin.

Why haven’t I started a business from the ground up that makes six figures? Why the hell do I care about making six figures!? The irksome thing about Ms. Land’s whole deal is that everything appears so awfully jolly, all the time. She mentions, twice, having hiccups in the road and steep learning curves… but otherwise, I am left to assume she delicately ingests flowers for breakfast. Purple, white and yellow ones, because isn’t that lovely?

It’s as if everything I read and saw had been sifted through the tightest of all sieves. And then diligently re-touched with cotton candy brushes before a glitter lamination.

It’s dishonest! As I read, I tried to fill in all the perfectly choreographed white spaces with the truth. With something real. Something itchy.

Makes me love Joan Didion even more. Lord, please please make me like Joan. If I know anything for sure, it is that I absolutely, positively never want to make another person feel the way I do now about my story/business/website/image. I’d rather be Anne Lamott!

The world has changed, it is changing, ever-faster. Growing ever glossier, whiter, and sterile.

I don’t want to keep up. Seems to me the best keeping up is reverting back–that’s where we’re all headed anyhow. Momentum always runs out. In this life, all things meet an end. Seems that anyone with half a thought could anticipate it… This pattern of life is soul-sucking and people are starting to notice. Charades are never fun forever, and for a seemingly few of us, they’ve never been fun at all.

I love my little house and my chicken coop. I love my cats and my kitchen. I love watching golf and drinking red wine for $2.89 a bottle. I love clean sheets. Making things. Food. The grass. Hot weather.

I loathe technology. I hate the way I feel after I’ve wasted an hour reading about Gemma Land! Or on Pinterest or Facebook or Amazon.com. Something sick in me thrives on it and can hardly pry away–but the realer things in me despise and revile the life-leeching side effects.

Yes, I like to order my health supplements online. Yes, I like to tinker on my blog. Otherwise, I want to be free. It can and does make my life easier, the world wide web. But it makes it shallow and barren too. Not just the internet, but the whole pulsing lot of innovation that drives us faster and mindless.

I feel a deep and brewing passion for something much more significant. I mean to live it. And I want to bring it to everyone else too.

Andrew and I are at camp with our youth group this week. We’ve heard some really great words and sung some really beautiful songs. But my favorite parts are under the the sky with an acoustic guitar. My favorite times are in circles of gentle, confessional tears.

The smoky mist and giant, radiating screens just distract me. It’s not a criticism, but a preference.

My journal entry is full of those, preferences and opinions. I don’t want you to believe the same as me, but hope you hear the realness in my words, the passion and bias and misconception that make me human.

We’re all just humans, trying our best, failing, and picking ourselves up again. There is immense beauty in the vulnerability of that struggle.

I encourage you to share it.





  1. Enlightening, thought provoking, Amusing and wholesome. I like your style and your blog.

  2. omtatjuan

    I love your words. I happened upon then and I find much talent in your ability to get your points across.

  3. I used to spend a lot more time in jealous chagrin ๐Ÿ™‚ I sometimes still do. I guess living on a little piece of heaven, drinking goats’ milk and writing about the unknowable past keeps me from spending hours looking up which celebrities have had plastic surgery–I mean it. I used to do that a lot. Then I read Paul’s very cool words “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and get all inspired again.

  4. I have LOGGED OUT and LIVED LIFE beyond FB, too…and, boy, was it liberating…now I just live life and taking in some fresh air…except for WordPress, I hope I live in the 70’s when life, I think, was less stressful without the gadgets and stuff…Sigh, I can just spend the whole day in the middle of a farm…or on a beach…

  5. aashya

    Your thought is crazy and wild, and it seems so pure and true , that I I feel some of us can relate to it very closely. You’ve put down a number of emotions that we feel every day or may be some day out here. It’s nice to read how great distances our brain can map while we think. Splendid!!!

  6. am glad am not alone when i feel so…but you have left me with a splendid thought – ‘There is immense beauty in the vulnerability of that struggle.’ and I shall stick to that.
    thank you and congratulations.

  7. That is so beatutiful: There’s immense beauty in the vulnerability of that struggle.
    It is such reads that make me glad I landed here. But I do see how we can let things get out of hand and log out of the real world too often. Thank you for sharing straight from the heart.

  8. When I was on holiday and didn’t have access to Facebook on my phone, I was so much less stressed and felt so free! I’ve removed the app from my phone and feel so much better for it ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Been there, felt that. I am STILL jealous of anyone who “makes it” in this world through any legitimate channel.

  10. heeeyyyy…you got FP-ed. Congrats friend!

  11. The greatest tragedies occur when a person born unique forfeits who they might have been, in order to become a person who has already been born a thousand times. “Anthony Anaxagorou”

    Thanks for the post and staying unique.

  12. Great post. I can relate, very much! Thanks for being honest and genuine. It speaks wonders!

  13. Online few of us can ever be ‘real’ enough to stop others from turning us into something threatening. Even if we have the talent to reveal our complexity, our imperfections, people will then be threatened by how “real” we are and how comfortable we are with ourselves. There’s no winning online. The flatness of the electronic condition makes it impossible for others to see our true cracks. In my real life, I’ve noticed few inspire jealousy in me. It’s makes you wonder.

  14. What a nice blog! Thanks for making my day today!

  15. Pinterest rhymes with plagiarism, internet rhymes with ideas. (Well, maybe only in MY head.) Because I ain’t paying $40 for a scarf I can make myself in one hour out of stuff in the Maybe I’ll Wear It Again, Someday Box.

    PS: Cats and chickens rock. When enjoyed separately.

  16. I really feel just the same, but I don’t put it so eloquently. http://dawnpoints.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/day-211-screen-time/
    Thank you for sharing and helping me realize there’s someone else too.

  17. I read that Gemma Land blog too! And felt – conflicting emotions in reading it. I was amazed that someone can make a home business like that succeed and it gave me hope that if I had such a project, if I really put my energy into it, it could work out too. And then I also had to spend some time beating down the critical voices that cropped up asking me what I had to show for my life. Certainly not a book or a six-figure income.

    And I relate to what you say about the glossiness of it all. I found myself wanting to know about the hard times, the cracks in the veneer, because it all seemed too easy. Although maybe it was – and wouldn’t that be nice, to know that things could be so simple and fairy-tale-like?

    I read your kale blog and think the retreat center sounds lovely!

  18. Awesome……..Just Awesome Share.I love it.Looking forward for more.Alex,Thanks.

  19. Jane, this is awesome! It’s so easy to put all the wonderful things in life out for all the world to see and admire; it’s not so easy to share with the everyday struggles and failures. I applaud you for “keeping it real” and accepting that same realness in others. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I’m with Sarah – can I apply for a job at the retreat center, too? I call dibs on a job in the kitchen! ๐Ÿ˜‰ In all seriousness, though, the squeaky-clean, symmetrical, beautiful world of blogland/Instagram/Facebook can leave a person feeling… gross. I’ve been considering a break from Instagram and Facebook, and only reading the blogs that are nourishing in some way. Authenticity and vulnerability will always champion a perfectly curated online world – and we would all be better served by sharing more honestly.

    • Oh Katie, I can definitely find you a place! And I would encourage your break from Instagram and Facebook. I can’t see anything bad about spending more time in the real, tangible world and less online. I know I’m always striving for it!

  21. Totally relate to this! I feel the same way about technology. I want to throw it all out the window, but it keeps pulling me back and I hate it for that. Those REAL moments – the ones like you describe of being under the sky with the guitar – that’s what I want more of. Those rare times when you can talk to someone face to face and they don’t pull their gadget out of their pocket multiple times. I want to be in touch with what’s here, natural, now, and I’m glad there are others that do too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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