Sometimes the green-eyed monster I like to pretend I don’t have explodes out of my chest cavity and takes hostages. Sometimes it forms a kick line, prancing behind me like unfortunately complected Rockettes in sparkling green tutus and high-kicking tap shoes that batter my head until I get the point.
Note to self: The point is never that everyone else has what I want and WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT THEM AND SO TERRIBLE ABOUT ME THAT THEY GET WHAT THEY WANT AND I DON’T and boohoo for me, cue sad little pity party for one.
Nope. Never is that the point. No matter how much it feels like the point when I click to Facebook and see the professionally photographed stream of life events that I would like but that currently feel less attainable than a throne on the surface of Mars, with a crown of moon rock and AMBER: GLORIOUS QUEEN OF THE MARTIANS carved into the surface of the planet.
(I have not yet been made the Queen of the Martians. But you bet your ass I’ll be updating Facebook when it happens.)
Jealousy can leach away your power, if you let it. Because jealousy means you’re focused so intently on how someone else’s path looks that you forget to pay attention to your own. Maybe it’s easier to glance at the apparent ease of someone else’s journey and make yours wrong because it feels harder than theirs looks. But your reaction is packed with useful information. Jealousy is a guidebook your intuition is thrusting into your hands. You just have to learn to read it.
(Unfortunately, you rarely remember this when the alligators of jealousy are sharpening their teeth on your femur.)
In my quest to be vulnerable – no, but really this time – I’m admitting to a few days last week when I was stewing in the jealousy. I was jealous of friends with husbands, friends with babies, friends with jobs that looked kinda fun, friends that had published books, friends that have more money now than I may ever have in my life, friends with an adorably perfect Christmas tree when mine was only half decorated because half done is plenty for today, thanks. Even the alligators wouldn’t approach me because my nostrils were flaring so violently. Let’s just say that my inner toddler had a lot of opinions about how very unfair the world was and how deeply deficient I must be to not have exactly what I want exactly now.
But after burning through my jealous and self-pity via two bouts of sobbing on the carpet (yes this embarrassing and yes it helps), seven rant-ridden emails, three pep talks of the it’s-okay-to-have-these-feelings-even-though-it-doesn’t-feel-okay genre, and one run in the freezing wind, I couldn’t even remember what made me jealous in the first place. Because cycling through all that emotion gave me enough space to realize that I wasn’t happy – not because other people have things I think I want – but because I wasn’t living the way I really wanted to be living.
The object of jealousy can often be the cure. If I hadn’t spent several days getting so upset about what it looked like other people had and I didn’t, I wouldn’t have realized how badly I needed to shift my own life – and that would have deprived me of all the relief when I did.
Jealousy is just a nudge that tells you when something in your life is out of alignment. When you click that piece into place, jealousy disintegrates. And the green eyed monster disappears behind the couch for a little interspecies canoodling with the alligator.