My older daughter is an artist who makes a decent living by selling her work on eBay. She has control over when she works, how long she works, and her colors and designs. She has no control over how much bidders are willing to pay for her work.
Sometimes an auction ends at a price that’s so low it scares her. How will she pay her bills if she can’t get more than that for her work? Why didn’t the bidders like that piece? Has she lost her touch?
More often, lately, the prices soar beyond her expectations, and even though she is delighted, she worries that her customers might be disappointed that they’ve spent so much once they get her work in their hands. So far, there have been no disappointments, and buyers keep coming back for more.
Once in a while, like yesterday, an auction climbs so high that there’s no rational explanation for it. When that happens, the online bulletin boards begin to buzz as my daughter’s peers watch the auction action and call it to the attention of others. People in Germany and the U.K., in addition to the good ol’ USA, chat about why this particular auction is going so high. Ninety-five percent of the posters are positive, praising her work and writing variants of "You go, girl!" But five percent cannot stand it. They criticize the work and the artist, question the authenticity of the bidding, and comment about the "rich bitches" who spend their money so freely.
My daughter smiles as she reads the posts of the ninety-five percent and then, somehow, those posts vaporize and she doesn’t think about them anymore. But the negative five percent, those are sticky. They cut, they burn, they don’t go away. She reads them again and tries to understand why people would write such mean things. The whole time she reads them, the whole time we talk about it, and the whole time they sit in the back of her head and nag at her, the posters are achieving their desired result: to bring her down. Down to where they are.
So here’s something else for you to think about, Sweet Girl:
"It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered."
Envy is like a fly that passes all the body's sounder parts, and dwells upon the sores."
"Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all. "
"Fools may our scorn, not envy, raise. For envy is a kind of praise."
"If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang."
"I love you."