Jealousy

This one isn’t pretty. I wish I didn’t, but I absolutely do get jealous. Regularly. And I bloody hate it. Like I said, it’s never pretty. Anyone who has (and really, isn’t that everyone?) will know the horrible, stomach clenching, seething anger and jealousy that starts in your belly and just gets noisier and noisier until it’s completely unbearable roaring for attention. I hate the fact that even when you know its illogical, when your brain knows you aren’t being fair, or that its dumb, you can’t align thoughts and feelings…you can’t just switch it off with understanding that there is no need to be jealous.

What I’ve really been thinking about is the things I get jealous of… I’ve been thinking about how I used to get so, so mad and jealous when pocketcanadian and I would be talking and then she would have to leave because her family needed her. Or how I would sometimes hate hearing about her having a good time with her friends. I would go crazy, and it has been the cause of an argument multiple times. I would tell her I didn’t matter, I could never actually matter, because I was over here, in the UK and she was in Canada, and I’m not actually in her real life. Oh god I would tell her that all the time. That she doesn’t actually care, that I don’t count, that she tells me that stuff to pacify me but doesn’t actually mean it. That she wouldn’t want to ever meet me in real life. And even though she told me I mattered so much and that she cared and loved me, I would still get so jealous of the people that got to physically see her all the time. I would try hard not to lose my shit a lot of the time, but I couldn’t always help it. I’m better about this stuff these days, because I’m more secure in knowing that I actually am important to her, I really am. But still, it crops up, and when it does, just ugh, so so much ugh.

The other people I get jealous of frequently, and they aren’t even specific people, is anyone with a loving family. It makes me enraged, to see loving parents and kids, and to not have that myself. Sometimes it makes me smile to see, sometimes (most of the time) it hurts my heart, and sometimes I’m really just jealous. How dare they get that? What was wrong with me, what did they do that I didn’t, for them to be loved and supported like that, and for me not to? How is that fair? And, I hate them, just because they got what I want and never got. (I don’t actually, that’s just the jealousy talking.) How come my therapists son got to have her for a mum? How come he gets someone that will give him freedom, but love him no matter what, and support him (in a career in art – something that would never have been allowed for me)? How come he gets a mum that will be attuned, that will care and be gentle, and be present? I hate it. I hate the jealousy, and I hate the anger. Because it’s not rational, and yet it’s still totally there. And, even though I have no real clue about her other clients, I’m jealous of them too… I bet she prefers them, I bet they get more of her time and more of her care. I bet shes really gentle with some of them. I wonder if she ever sits next to them on the sofa, or hugs them, or holds their hand? She would never do any of those things with me. And, following on from that, I’m jealous of other people’s therapists. I hear about pc’s therapist and I get so fucking jealous. I read about peoples on here, and I think, fuck, I can’t even pay someone to want to do any of those things for/with me. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Finally, the last thing I’ve been thinking of is how people judge other people for being jealous. How they’re seen as bad, (and they can be if they act it out badly), but normally really are just hurting people. People wishing for something they don’t have, which hurts them. Normally jealousy isn’t really acted out, or the person tries so hard not to. It’s kept in, not given space unless it pummels its way through, and the part that annoys me is that people seem to be so quick to forget that it feels fucking awful to be jealous. Nobody wants to feel like that. It’s not an emotion that you choose…”oh hey, you know what I feel like feeling today…that bottomless, constricting, raging, jealousy. That sounds like fun”. I wish jealousy could be met with a little more gentleness. But also I know that’s so hard; the very last thing I feel like being with myself when I’m like that is gentle.

twenty-five: belonging

um, i’d appreciate a break in the heavy words, you bastard randomizer.

this is another toughie for me.

*

i can remember, quite distinctly, being 10 years old, and slipping a note under my parents’ closed bedroom door after we had argued. the ink was smudged in places from where tears had dripped off my chin. i apologized for being different, for being difficult, for not fitting in. i was not like them, i didn’t belong. i was wrong. i was sorry.

something i said that in that note touched a chord in my mom; i remember her, in return, knocking on my door, her own face tear-stained, coming in and hugging me tightly. it was unexpected, and i didn’t quite understand what was happening. yet younger, ten-year-old me, the girl with the mournful eyes? was glad and sad…and confused. (but was i being seen? or was i a trigger?)

*

i also remember a couple years later, in junior high, the easy way in which my friends slung their arms around me and each other, the way they leaned in, the easy way in which they touched each other and showed affection. it made me feel like i belonged. it made me yearn for more of that easy, relaxed intimacy, in ways i didn’t understand. i had a place. i was wanted.

*

i remember studying it in graduate school; the illusive and coveted sense of belonging. how it was esteemed in our textbooks as a way to mobilize and heal communities. how we could assuage hurting hearts, bridge divisions based on socioeconomic disparities. to instill a sense of belonging in our participants was the the desired core of every program we tried to implement. the antidote to brokenness.

*

when i first met my therapist, i told her that everything was ‘fine’ with my family. it was my inlaws that were troublesome, my own family was close-knit. but, when i think about it now, i was tethered to them, to their sickness, to their stories, to their lies. i belonged to them, i was theirs.

it was not until i stepped away that i could see the the insidious, deadly, silent ways they ruled my life. they fucking owned me. belonging to them, being a part of their tribe, nearly obliterated me.

*

in some ways, i understand the sense of ownership…the need to huddle in, to maintain a secret language. we want to stake our claim, hold our beloveds near. we all want to belong, be close.

but what the fuck, friends. what does this even mean? how can we even stand to believe these sorts of platitudes, that we belong together? when will the other shoe drop?

*

the truth is, i rarely let my guard down, i rarely let myself consider that i may fit somewhere, that i may belong. that i am in the right place. that where i stand is where i’m meant to be. that i am welcome. that i am loved. that i belong.

which is why i cursed the goddamn randomizer up there, because fuck you, i am loved. i do belong. i belong as a wife and a mom, i belong to this beautiful family i have built. i belong as a friend to my sweetest pocketbrit. i belong as a valued colleague and health care provider. i belong to my community. i belong on this earth, i belong to the universe, to the collective capital-l Love that holds us all.

…but fuck, if i could only just feel all of that, in my darkest hours. if i could only just collapse down into that sense of belonging, lean into its constancy, sob into its lap when i feel lost and alone. if i could just trust it, if i could truly know it, if i could have faith i would still belong, even when i’m terrified and young and afraid; when i’m not my best self, when i’m not trying, when i’m petty and horrible and spinning and angry…

if i could feel like i belonged, even then, as imperfect as i am at any given moment, i will know i am healing. all i want is to be enough, to be okay enough somewhere, with someone(s), that i will continue to be invited back forever, however i am.

security.

comfort.

love.