When There’s No Script

Erioluwadamiloju Shodayo
5 min readApr 30, 2022

How do I stay god?

Duty isn’t always honour

— Princess Jasmine, from Disney’s Aladdin. Y’know? The one where the blue guy slapped a comedian?

Duty isn’t always honour.

Okay, but I actually love my job, so what are we going to do laidis, Jasmine?

Writing is the only way I know how to live. Weaving words into complexities is such a powerful act, the bible says it’s how the world was made. It’s only natural I have a god complex at the keyboard, no?

Unlike the protagonist of the world’s most popular book, however, I do not have the capacity to oversee any worlds, whether it’s the one I’m in or any I conjure. Even on the pages I bleed during my rituals, I make nothing happen. Characters I don’t write about are characters I don’t know and, most times, ones I don’t want to know.

Lately, thanks to Tomide — one of the few people I have come to truly love, I’ve realised how much of a joy I am. It’s indebting, even, how much I love him.

I moonlight as a shining light, so I know a lot of people. Better put, a lot of people know me. But, I don’t have a lot of friends.

Emotions are volatility, and humans — for me — unfortunate bearers. To choose someone is to pick up a loaded gun and aim it at my malleable heart. If you’re aware of my problems with boundaries, you know I think that all it takes is one act of self-defence to unalive us both.

Me, a hole in my heart; them, an empty cartridge.

In the previous issue, I found the courage to admit my feelings of inadequacy. I’ve always thought that the most considerable reward for honesty is to be recognised as human. So, I’m grateful to and for everyone who could relate — which was A LOT of you.

At least two of my insecurities make me cry every other day. But let’s talk about a special one that outright drives me mad.

I can only get so sad before it becomes a literal struggle.

It’s an irresistible subject, this thing that Socrates called “the ulcer of the soul.” Paul Bloom, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, told me that many years ago, he taught a seminar at Yale about the seven deadly sins. “Envy,” he said dryly, “was the one sin students never boasted about.”

He’s right. With the exception of envy, all of the deadly sins can be pleasurable in some way. Rage can be righteous; lust can be thrilling; greed gets you all the good toys. But nothing feels good about envy, nor is there any clear way to slake it. You can work out anger with boxing gloves, sate your gluttony by feasting on a cake, boast your way through cocktail hour, or sleep your way through lunch. But envy — what are you to do with that?

— From It’s Your Friends Who Break Your Heart by Jennifer Senior.

You see, I believe if you want to be good at something, it’s pretty logical to surround yourself with people who are. Sometimes, you don’t even have to try. You just find yourself gravitating toward them.

But what happens now that you’re surrounded by people who are good at what they do? People who are good at what YOU do. I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I become a jealous bitch.

Even as I remind myself that my timeline is mine and mine alone, I occasionally get caught in my feelings. To remedy my affliction quicker than I actually can — quicker than I should — I tell myself that we’re all some kind of struggling. Rather than remind myself that I am a 20-year-old who can afford to buy herself ice cream at least twice a year without my father’s help, I say: ‘x isn’t doing that much better either, so you’ve got this.’

Then I remember ey has 2 more followers than I do on medium.

Wrong drug, so now I’M SICK twice over.

Dissatisfaction conjures jealousy out of thin air. When you’re not revelling in your own joy, it’s all you can do not to notice that of others — even if it’s mostly your idea of joy, not theirs.

Still, jealousy isn’t all bad. It’s a little nudge. A means to identify what you think you want. Drive to do more. To be more.

Envy, on the other hand, is almost illogical.

“Wanting what someone else has,” I said.

“Wanting to destroy what you want that someone else has.”

“Fling poop at the breast,” I said.

His owlish face broke into a smile. “Exactly.”

A desire that seeks to destroy: that is one definition of envy. “The professional thief is less tormented, less motivated by envy, than is the arsonist,” writes Schoeck.

— From There I Almost Am by Jean Garnett.

I’ll stop here, not just because the articles I plugged say PLENTY but also because I’m not ready to truly be vulnerable about it. Someone please, remind me in a couple of months. I might be a god, but I don’t doom what makes me uncomfortable to hell. That’s more of the big guy’s forte. Maybe if I did, I’d have 2.4 billion followers. I’m grateful for all 24 of you, nevertheless.

Still, it’s like Jennifer Senior said Paul Bloom said: envy isn’t something people do well expressing. The specific topic of envy is only about 20% of the article. But, it’s so heavy.

So, I leave you a song that isn’t exactly about envy … but running away because — believe me when I tell you — that’s something I’m great at.

Say — song by Ruel | Spotifyopen.spotify.com
Listen to Say on Spotify. Ruel · Song · 2018.

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Erioluwadamiloju Shodayo

On growth and neuroses. She/they. Libertine. Anxious person on the journey to self-discovery.