I had a mammogram this morning and my radiologist was this very nice woman I’ve had before. She is very chatty and somehow we got to talking about the impending LIRR strike. So she says to me, “these people make almost as much as I do and I have a bachelor’s degree! They make, like, $80,000 a year!” It’s not bad enough she’s squeezing my boobs within an inch of their lives, she has to remind me she makes a hell of a lot more money than I do while she’s doing it! Now, I don’t want to appear, oh I don’t know, devastated, or anything, so I har-har a little and reply, “they make twice what I do, and I have an MFA!” She says, “are you a teacher?” And I say, “no, I work in the billing department of a taxi and limousine service. ” and she laughs. She thinks this is hysterical. So then I have to qualify…”well, I changed careers completely, and I’m actually a jewelry designer…” See, now she’s impressed! “Ooh. Aahh. I love jewelry. Do you have a card? ” Whew! Thank Goodness, I just narrowly escaped feeling inferior to someone! The truth is, we don’t walk in someone else’s shoes. We live the life we choose, as much as we’d like to blame everyone and everything else. There is always someone who has it better, and there are those that have it worse. Some will be lucky enough to live their dreams and some will find it hard to remember what their dreams were. Some will strive and sweat, and others will get out of breath reaching for the bag of M & M’s we know are hidden at the top of the pantry. Why is it so hard to not be defined by what we do? To look at ourselves and like who we are just because we are, and to not resent ourselves just because we do or don’t do. Just writing these words feels like marbles in my mouth. Foreign, unfamiliar, and a little stupid. The trick is to spit out the marbles and not replace them with the M & M’s.