Prompt Images

Congratulations! You know a lot of people who are really successful. They have better jobs, come from better families, have better faces than you do. You wake up every single day thirsty for the shit they already have.

  • Thicker, fuller, more compliant hair
  • The perfect candid photo of themselves cannonballing into an azure sea, free as the day is long
  • Smaller pores, fewer wrinkles, no scars
  • A well-worn passport with only two free pages left
  • A relationship with some benevolent angel person who gives out free tickets to desirable events, games, and concerts with no expectation for reciprocity
  • A work-sponsored trip to SXSW
  • Stories from their 3-month hookup with a prominent campus athlete
  • An alluring cultural heritage that is neither too impoverished nor too privileged
  • Enough Instagram followers to have a comma, decimal point, or checkmark
  • A predictably linear career trajectory with equal amounts creative freedom, valuable mentorship, and considerable compensation
  • A closetful of clothes to support and execute a discernable, opinionated personal style
  • The perfect nickname
  • A hummingbird’s metabolism
  • The necessary genetic predisposition for muscle development
  • The necessary genetic predisposition for getting tan
  • The ability to flake on commitments without fielding any meaningful blowback from friends, family, or colleagues
  • An attractive and/or wealthy and/or reliably monogamous sexual partner
  • A Tesla

But here’s the fucking deal. Everything you have, you earned one way or another. Often the hard way, sometimes the dirty way, and on rare occasion, it came easily. You’re not always proud of who you are or what you have or how you got it, but at the end of the day, you did all this.

This is you. This is what you have.

This is your kingdom. Everything the light touches, Simba.

There’s an old expression—a warning, really—which never quite got the same circulation as “a stitch in time saves nine” or “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But so what if it isn’t as catchy. It doesn’t have to rhyme to be true, you know.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Comparison, that clever little deviant, skulks around the corners of your mind. He waits patiently and quietly for his opportunity. Right now, he’s listening to every waking thought you have, even the ones you’d never admit to having. He’s hacked into your subconscious. He’s downloading the dreams and desires you don’t even know you have.

You didn’t even know he was there, but he’s been casing the joint.

He knows where you keep all the valuables—the memories you treasure, the love you covet, the life you wish you had. He wants it all. And if you let him inside for too long, that little fuck is going to steal every ounce of joy you have.

While you scroll through Instagram feeds, he reminds you of the vacations you didn’t take, the abs you can’t achieve, the romance you’re missing out on, the body shots you never drank from a stranger’s bejeweled bellybutton.

He shows you the best things you don’t have, can’t have, may never have. He teases you with brilliant Technicolor alternatives to your monochrome beige life. Every moment, shot in HD and presented with filters or in slow-mo, is better than what you are doing right now, which is scrolling for happiness and fulfillment and connection and identity and something more than what you have.

You’ll never find any of those things here.

So why do you keep looking? You can’t absorb joy from someone else’s life in pictures. This is your life.

You try desperately to keep up with the Joneses or the Steins or the Kardashians. It’s pathetic. It’s sad. I fucking feel bad for you. Such a fool. Such a sucker.

You stare up at the sky, wondering why you can’t shine as bright as the sun. Now your eyes are watering; you’re seeing spots; and you’ve probably done permanent damage. Is it any wonder you’re just sitting here, letting him rob you blind?

You could have been celebrating, but you were too busy throwing yourself a pity party. Now look what you’ve done. You’ve let comparison get his sticky little fingers on everything, now it’s all painted green with jealousy. And those stains don’t come out, you know.

You had enough. You were enough. You just didn’t want to see it.

Kelaine Conochan

The editor-in-chief of this magazine, who should, in all honesty, be a gym teacher. Don’t sleep on your plucky kid sister.

learn more
Share this story
About The Prompt
A sweet, sweet collective of writers, artists, podcasters, and other creatives. Sound like fun?
Learn more