Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jealous Again. Help!


I've been waking up with it lately.

Being in a tight place makes it come harder and faster.  It feels a lot like Black Flag's little ditty above.
I should know. Jealousy is an old friend of mine. I know it well.

As I child I was jealous of the clothes/food/bikes/toys/homes that my friends had. When I wasn't jealous, I was just ashamed, and tried to hide my poverty by any means, especially as an adolescent.  As a 6th grader, I hoped no one would realize that the shirt I'd been wearing for the last three days had been left in a box on the front stoop of our rented house.

Once my parents bought a house in the town, it wasn't so great--at least not as great as my friends' houses (even the mobile homes some of them lived in)--I never wanted to be dropped off in front of my house.   As a high school student, I lied--when asked--about having a swimming pool.  "It's kidney shaped," I offered, when my family actually had nothing in their back yard but a patch of dirt.

I was jealous of the cars my friends were gifted on their 16th birthdays.  I was jealous of their clothes purchased during big shopping trips to the good mall cities like Phoenix and San Diego, a good three drive away in opposite directions.

My senior year, my mother wrote a letter to the editor of the town paper decrying the school district's perceived practice of recruiting teachers outside of our town and even state, instead of hiring local unemployed teachers like my father.  "Was that your mom who wrote that letter to the editor?" a male classmate asked soon after the letter was published.  "She has the same last name as you."

"No," I said, full of panic. "Absolutely not."

I was worse than Judas. 

And now decades later, I feel like I'm still scrambling through the emotion and the panic of not having/doing enough.  Whenever someone I know announce that they are going on a vacation (Japan! India! Paris! Thailand!), or even traveling for work (China! Argentina!), I am weak with jealousy, Stricken with it.

But the most powerful trigger for my current jealousy tsunami is the following:  Two people I know have books coming out this year.  While I'm working diligently on mine, I am still far away from the goal of a published book.  And there are no guarantees that anyone will be interested in publishing what I have once I'm finished with it.  Knowing that these two authors are prepping for readings this year (maybe even picking a new outfit--tights!--for their book promotions and readings), and will have their work available for purchase far and wide makes me double over in jealousy, which then leads to a kind of rage (see Black Flag above), and then my eyes fill up with tears and I begin to cry.

This can't be healthy.

I know I can make things happen in my life, too, and I'm trying.  Things just seem to be moving pretty slowly.  And my current "Maslowian" priorities (like basic bill paying) seem to be preventing me from attaining some of the bigger things I'd like to do in m y life. But maybe it doesn't have to be that way.  I don't know. Doesn't it?

I wonder--do you get jealous?  Do you feel stymied by it?  Even . . .in pain from it?

I welcome any tips to break-up with this long-time friend for good.  Because he/she really isn't working for me.  One thing I've tried to do is to pursue a friendship with gratitude--to being more consciously thankful for what I do have.  And that seems to work, until it doesn't.  I think gratitude must be a practice, no?  Because I really am lucky to have what I do have.  Just as I was lucky back when I was young in many ways that I couldn't see at the time.

I look down from where I'm typing now and there are holes in my tights, but I swear, I swear I am not coveting your tights, as much as I might be admiring them.

Jealousy, please be gone!

Here's another jealousy song below.  (Rick, you can do better than Jesse's girl!  I just know it!)


  1. this be a good break-up, jt. let me know if you figure out how to do it! btw, i'm jealous of you all the time.

  2. i remember one story you sent me a few years ago was about jealousy between two young girls, and it was SO GOOD!