The lessons of this letter are about the color green. You don’t know your colors yet, but you’ll soon learn that green is the color of seaweed, a slimy and offensive plant that holds within it the possibility of pure delectability. The same is true of jealousy. This “green-eyed monster” is rarely a welcomed sight, but I want to show you how it, too, holds a unique capacity for greatness.
I am sure, as you have seen from the examples in my fourth-grade diary, that the forthcoming example is not the only time this monster has reared its ugly head in my life, but I can quite honestly say it is the only genuine example in the more recent chapters of my auto-biography. As you grow (both in height, but also in emotional maturity), you tend to master the formula of confidence > insecurity, the only eradicative weapon against jealousy. But I invited this woman into my life about two years ago and she has pissed me off ever since. At first she incited anger, because of her nepotistic success. Then she had to be awesome (and younger, I might add) right in my face, blowing up my self-soothing justifications for her titanic popularity. Eva, this woman is everything I’ve always wanted to be. Let me introduce you to my nemesis. Allow me, Eva, to introduce you to my hero. Her name is Lena Dunham.
Sure, Lena is the daughter of Carol Dunham. That’s only a fraction of the reason I resent her. The real reason Lena turns me into a Princess Fiona is her obnoxiously charming way of being wildly confident, yet endlessly (and comically) self-loathing. It’s her alluring in-your-face, I-don’t-give-a-fu*k spunk. It’s not just her willingness to be buck-naked, it’s how she lets ‘dem tatas hang, as if her skin is a big f**king onesie pajama (ie. I know you’re wondering why I have this on, but I’m as comfortable as a kid in a candy shop).
But it’s not just Lena’s disarming transparency or her enviable candidness that gets me. It’s also how she has a way of teaching me more about myself in one sentence than I have been able to intuit over the course of my lifetime:
Marnie: “All you’ve done for the last couple of years is disappoint me.”
Hannah (Lena’s character): “Well then maybe you should lower your expectations!”
Marnie: “I can’t lower them any further.”
Lena is who she is. Take it or leave it. Isn’t this the person that we all strive to be? Don’t we all want to be who we really are, and simultaneously not give a f**k what anyone thinks? I hate her for being that person. But that hate lives right next to a genuine admiration. Lena is totally lovable, despite her deeply flawed character. Everyone loves her for being her, but also for being approachable. For being human. You see, Lena has dropped an atomic bomb on my confidence > insecurity equation: she’s enviable, mostly, because she owns her insecurities. It’s a piece to the equation that I never accounted for. It is, ironically, what I envy her for. Well that and, damn, the girl can write.
So, Evangeline, what can you take away from this? What can you learn from Lena? Well, for starters, there is a lot of sh*t in this world to be angry about. Pollution, racism, nepotism, and the retirement of the Twinkie might top the list but, really, the list is infinite. But Lena shows us that there are two types of people: those that anger owns, and those that own their anger. Lena turns anger into humor. And she has taught me to turn jealousy into reverence. I’ve realized, why hate Lena? Instead, I should mimic. Sure, my dad isn’t a famous painter, but I can sure as hell learn how to rock a “onesie” like nobody’s business.