Alex Watson: Jealousy will eat you alive – be a cheerleader…

Next time you feel like you’re getting green eyes, do your best Jamie Lee Curtis imitation and cheer them on, writes Alex Watson.

Remember when over 120 adults said they thought they could win a point against Serena Williams on the tennis court?

Another 200 or so said they didn’t know if they could beat it – meaning they couldn’t say for sure it was impossible. Which means that at least some of them read the question and thought, “Yeah, actually, you know what? If I got enough sleep and made some lunges first, maybe I could beat Serena Williams.

Serena Williams, the former number one tennis player in the world? Who won the second greatest Grand Slam title of all time? Who serves a tennis ball at an average speed of 106 miles per hour? Yeah, OK then.

The results of that survey were released in July 2019 and I still think about it. Is the judgment of certain adults (who might as well vote and even drive a car unsupervised) really so deficient?

But we’ve all been there, haven’t we? At some point, each of us has looked at a famous athlete, musician or comedian, shrugged nonchalantly and said, “I could do that.”

We are often led to believe that we could, simply because talented, well-trained, disciplined, star-quality people are so good at what they do that they make it look easy.

While we still have a long way to go, the dominant and highly visible worlds of culture, entertainment and sport are more diverse than ever. Members of marginalized communities are now more likely to see themselves represented in movies, TV shows and books, as well as on stages and podiums, which is wonderful.

Less wonderful is the way we internalize ideas about who is “allowed” to succeed. Routinely, women are looked down upon in the sports and music industries, younger and older people are dismissed as inexperienced or over the top, people of color are discriminated against across the board. We take it easy on white men from wealthy backgrounds who, society has taught us, deserve to be celebrated.

I realised I needed more Self Esteem

Last summer I saw artist Self Esteem (real name Rebecca Lucy Taylor) perform at a music festival and I found myself on the verge of tears. Read also : ‘It was a dream come true.’ Eagles Cheerleaders dance on stage with New Kids on the Block. For me and many others, her songs capture exactly what it’s like to deal with ingrained misogyny on a daily basis and struggle with your self-worth.

Taylor has deservedly gained fame in recent years. She is an incredible talent and is entirely responsible for her own success. And while I’ve seen countless bands I love play live, this was the first time I’ve looked at a stage in awe and related so strongly to the person playing.

I’m under no illusions about the hard work Taylor has put in to get to where he is now. I don’t look at Self Esteem singing and slyly think, “I could do that.” But I look at her and think, “I can do whatever I want.” Its success and its overriding message of self-confidence are inspiring and motivating.

Recently, she has spoken out about the volume of vile abuse she receives, often focused on her physical appearance. It’s clear to me that the main driver behind messages like these is jealousy.

It’s the quickest and most efficient way to put someone down when we feel envy or threat – tell them they’re ugly, fat, short or insignificant. As if none of this is completely subjective. As if any of this had anything to do with their contribution to the world.

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Hatred stems from envy, whether we realise it or not

Whether they’re targeting stars on social media or badmouthing someone they know, I find it sad how many people stoop so low on a daily basis, in a vain attempt to feel a little better about themselves. On the same subject : Falcons release depth chart heading into Week 11 of 2022 NFL …. I find it even sadder that most of them probably don’t even realize the root of their hatred.

They’re so resentful of Serena Williams’ success that they’ve had to convince themselves she didn’t deserve it; that she might not be that good at tennis

Many of us still see a woman (or a trans person, or a black person, or a person with a disability, or a working-class person, and so many more) breaking a glass ceiling and instinctively consider them lesser than others who are sitting around. exactly the same table. Like they’re letting anyone play Wimbledon and Glastonbury these days.

That’s why 320 people think they might have a chance against Serena Williams – because they’re so resentful of her success that they’ve had to convince themselves she doesn’t deserve it; that she might not be that good at tennis.

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Be more like Jamie Lee Curtis

Jealousy causes all of us to think, do, and say horrible things from time to time. This may interest you : The South Orange County cheerleading squad is rallying to support teenagers in need. But if that’s your main driver in life – if your default state is one of bitterness and resentment – ​​there’s something wrong.

At the same time that Rebecca Lucy Taylor was grappling with her latest onslaught of online abuse over her body, the 2023 Golden Globes Film and TV Awards were in the works. When Michelle Yeoh was announced as the Best Actress winner, Jamie Lee Curtis threw her arms in the air and roared with joy, pride, revenge.

Watching someone – celebrities, peers, friends, peers – do well or make progress when you feel like you’re treading water can be painful, I won’t deny that for a moment. But the next time I feel like I’m getting green eyes, I’m going to do my best Jamie Lee Curtis impression and root for them. Because your inspiring step is a step forward for all of us.

Alex Watson is head of commentary at The Press & Journal and wouldn’t hire a professional tennis player if you paid her

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