Sunday, October 9, 2011
Those green eyes mean something...
I'm not, by nature, a jealous person. I can't really recall being ravaged by the green eyed monster when someone I knew got a new car, bigger house, lost 20 pounds, or a smoking new pair of kicks. No, usually I'm genuinely happy for my friends and family when wonderful things that they really wanted come into their lives--I'll be the first one to say, "That's so great!" and really, really mean it.
Except for when I don't.
There are two times that I clearly remember being mad with jealously. And I don't mean that, "oh, wouldn't that be nice...it's so unfair...blah, blah." I mean the bleeding canker of desire that sits somewhere near your esophagus. That obsessive fire of want that keeps you up at night. The slow moving rickety Ferris wheel that...okay, you get the idea.
Obsession. I'm talking about blind obsession.
The first time it happened I was 26 and it felt like everyone, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD was pregnant. And I just happened to be married to the one man who didn't seem particularly interested in having a kid any time within the next decade. Aagghhh.
The second time, well the second time is much more recent--within the last few years, really. I had become inexplicably jealous of another writer, who doesn't know me from Eve I might mention, but who's success is something I covet.
Now before you start worrying that I've gone all stalker crazy, realize that I have too many real world cares and responsibilities to put in the time, energy and effort to truly go off the rails. Furthermore, in both of the above mentioned character flaws, I've learned something exceedingly valuable about myself.
My jealously taught me what I wanted in this world.
I wanted to be a mom.
I wanted to be a writer.
Now that might sound like a simple epiphany, but these statements have become brightly lit signposts in my life. There are many things I could be, there are many things I already am--But these were the things I really, really Wanted. I wanted them so much for myself that it felt nearly impossible to be happy for others when they strode forward and achieved them while I still idled in neutral.
Over the years, I have found that there is only one cure for jealously of this kind--it's getting up off your ass and going after what you want. Because that un pursued WANT will claw at your brain like a monkey on crack. The jealous crazy that spins you inside out comes only from not trying.
So I say, jealously is not always a bad thing. Pay attention to your jealously, it can teach you loads about what you want in this life. I became a mother. I became a writer. I don't (yet) have the exterior trappings of success that the object of my writer jealously has, but because I'm too busy stretching for that brass ring myself, I almost never even notice the burn anymore.
Well, almost never.