Friday, 29 November 2013
A Jealous Heart
I remember it well in the early days of our relationship. Fueled by insecurity, passion and cider and black, I'd flounce off in a jealous rage, then while away a few hours endlessly dissecting and discussing the situation from every possible angle with my flat mates. And after that, of course there was the making up to look forward to. But call it maturity, call it complacency, call it having kids and just being knackered- thankfully that kind of drama has no place around here anymore.
I also remember feeling a jealous surge when I glimpsed petite, blonde girls wearing 501s. Those lucky, fine boned creatures, whose jeans hung effortlessly on their tiny hips, exposing just the merest hint of perfectly toned, lightly tanned stomach. They are my absolute polar opposite in every way, but lying on the bed, shoehorning myself into size 20s and beyond, they became the holy grail to a big girl with a ginger perm and zero self esteem. Call it maturity, call it self acceptance, Hell, call it spanx, but blessedly I don't feel that way anymore.
I should make it clear that sadly, I have not yet evolved into a Zen like state in my old age, because I
DO sometimes still feel envy, which I like to think of as jealousy's less intense, much more laid back brother. Maybe a friend's great haircut, talk of a fabulous holiday, that ever elusive flat stomach, and I'll feel it brush against me as it flits by.. and then it's gone. To me, it's just part of the whole being human thing, but when its not invited in and entertained for tea, it holds no real power over us.
I tell the children that we all must accept that there will always be people in life with more or less than us - in terms of gifts, talents, intellect, money, appearance - and that it's much healthier to focus on feeling grateful for what we have, rather than resentful for what we don't. I tell them this because I wholeheartedly believe it to be true. Which is perhaps why the other day, I was utterly blindsided by a current of jealously so strong, it knocked the wind from my body. So suffocating that for a moment I could hardly breathe, and so dark I could scarcely focus.
And the trigger? I had simply bumped into a friend who told me about an upcoming lifestyle change.
A lifestyle change that I want for myself so badly I can taste it, one that I would happily sell a kidney, or possibly even a child, in order to have. And yet, for various complicated reasons I can't see happening anytime soon, if at all. But for this friend, it appeared to have landed effortlessly in her lap without the need to compromise and under the best possible circumstances.
But before you understandably brand me as a terrible person, can I tell you that even in the midst of my jealous fog, I was happy for her. I knew how much she'd longed for this and I genuinely wished her well.... I just wanted it too. Thankfully though, I managed to smile and tell her how pleased I was for her...and I didn't cry until I was safely back in the car. There I fiercely reminded myself to focus on the positives of my own situation, to remember how very lucky I was, and that now was her time, not mine...but it all just felt a bit hollow.
And later, in the aftermath of that green eyed tsunami, I found myself feeling vulnerable, weak and
full of self pity. It took me hours to regain my equilibrium and I was left with shame and
bewilderment at my reaction. Turns out I wasn't better than that after all. Emma x
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