Some time ago I wrote these two posts (here and here) about a friend of mine. If you've read my blog on a consistent basis you'll know that this friend (Jake, I call him) served time in prison and blew his chance when he was in a work-release program (which I talk about here and here). Jake has been a constant source of frustration for both Jonah and me. He can often be so self-centered and selfish and often uses people to his own advantage. We both helped Jake when he got out of prison. We helped arrange his bail. I put up my own money to cover his bail when his parents' check was made out to the wrong court. We housed him when he was paroled. We attended his hearings. Another of his friends gave him a job. And we just feel that Jake kind of put his own interests above those that helped him once he got what he needed from them, including us.
Jake and I were in the same graduate program and his arrogance and ingratitude really turned me off. Although I corresponded with him while he was in prison, I always felt guarded with him; always afraid his pride would get the best of him, which it sometimes did. Jonah, who is such a giving person, wanted to help Jake, but like me, Jonah eventually discovered that Jake can be an unappreciative user. We're both kind of over him. We remain cordial, but distant.
I was reading Jake's Facebook post and saw that he had been cast at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer. I'm not proud of it, but my first feelings were annoyance and jealousy. I have auditioned for the Utah Shakespeare Festival probably ten times now. I've always wanted to work there, but it is very competitive. While a couple of my auditions were not as up to snuff as I would have liked, most have gone well. The casting directors have always been very complimentary, and each year I am hopeful that it will finally be my year to work there. So I admit when I read that my friend had been cast, I admit my feelings were not very congratulatory. I always feel like Jake just sort of floats into good luck without ever really having to work for it, and I often find it frustrating, and it especially stings when I have so wanted something and tried for years to get it, and he gets it so easily so quickly, it seems.
So many of his Facebook friends were so congratulatory and complimentary, and I just wasn't in the mood. I know it's petty of me, but it's what I was feeling at the time. I had to remind myself that I have a job I like, and maybe that's where I'm supposed to be right now. I'm also teaching, and there is something gratifying about that, and maybe I'm meant to be with these kids right now. I also reminded myself that I am an Equity actor and Jake is not, and there are less Equity spots (which are also more competitive) than non-Equity spots.
Still, at the time I actually felt like crying. I'm not one to normally cry, "woe is me" or feel sorry for myself, but for a bit yesterday that's exactly how I felt. I admit it. Now I'm moving on. Maybe soon enough I'll feel happy for Jake, but I'm not quite there yet. Fortunately, I usually get past stuff like this pretty quickly.