If you’ve read the title, you’ve read the post. There’s this thing that I hate about myself, this hideous quality. I am, without a doubt, a jealous woman. I think this is something a lot of women (people?) are. I don’t know if other women are jealous to the same monstrous degree that I am, though. I don’t covet bodies, or beautiful skin and hair, or stunning rehabilitated lofts in the city (although I admire these things from afar). My jealousy is more all-encompassing, and thereby more dangerous. I am jealous of entire damn lives.
In the first year or two of dating Husband, I wasted stupid amounts of time angry about the existence of his ex-girlfriend, cursing her every slight intrusion into our lives (these intrusions were mostly imagined by me; she lived halfway around the world). It bewildered Husband, because he knew very well that I knew very well that she was no threat or competition. He always loved me more. The thing he did not understand was that my jealousy had nothing to do with him and everything to do with her. It seemed grossly unfair that she spent her formative years being loved by one of the good men in the world, by my good man, while I spent high school and the first part of college doing stupid things so that unworthy boys would think me worth their while.
And then one day I’d been with Husband longer than she’d been with him and we settled into our relationship just in time for everybody I know to get married. And I was happy for them, or for some of them, but also angry at every circumstance that stopped me from marrying the love of my life right then and there. I did not envy these other women their hasty husbands; I envied every decision they ever made that led them to the uncommon and joyous circumstance of finding another person who shared their beliefs. I loved Husband. I hated that he was not Mormon. I hated that I was.
And then we said, let’s do this thing anyway, expectations be damned. My jealousy went into remission for about a year, when I was newly engaged, and graduating from law school, and embarking on an exciting career in an exciting city. I’m not so self-absorbed that I don’t realize that I myself have an enviable life. But there will always be other people out there, with things that I want but cannot have. Yes, I am fully aware of how ugly that last sentence is. But it’s true.
Now is the part where I write about women with babies, and how I am jealous of them. But that’s not true. But I realized recently that I can have babies whenever I please, and that’s enough to temper the life-envy until I actually want them. It’s not adorable wide-eyed babes and their adorable wide-eyed child mothers that inflame my jealous passions. It’s the bloggers. Specifically, the bloggers that don’t work.
I am NOT talking about bloggers whose blogs are also a business. I am talking about bloggers who do not earn money and whose blogs do not earn enough money to pay any kind of bill, in spite of the vast array of sponsors running up and down the sides. Yes, even the ones with kids. I’ve axed swaths of them from my RSS feed. Not because theirs is not a legitimate lifestyle. It totally is. The problem is that I want it too badly. But my reality involves working a job that pays well enough to support not one, but two, in an expensive city, and working that job with the knowledge that this situation is not going to change anytime soon, if ever. And it’s hard for me to be happy in this life when I’m pining over the lives of others.
So I kept working and blogging and turned the pane on my computer into a window around the lives of other working women. I fell in love with working mommy blogs. With stay at home daddy blogs. With personal finance and career advice all strung through with threads of personal narrative. With writerly types. Every so often one of these people quits their day job, and I realize that as much as I identify with them, we are different in a key way that I somehow missed before. I still have to work. I can’t quit my day job. And, briefly, I am jealous. Ugly. But, I’m hoping the beautiful words from all walks of life can temper this disease and help me to be happy in the life I have, while building the life I want.
I can certainly relate to this post in many ways. As a single LDS woman over
30, it will be no shock that the thing I am jealous of is people who are
married in general. I’m jealous that that decision is settled for them, that
they have someone to support them (emotionally, mentally, occasionally
financially though that part I’m less worried about). I don’t think being
married would solve all my problems (something married people love accusing
single people of thinking), but having been in a long term relationship before,
I am aware of the benefits and deem being in a good relationship better than
being single any day. And I’m definitely jealous of the babies.
So much so that I just had to stop writing there.
If I’m not careful, the jealousy can make me really unhappy REALLY fast (like
so fast it’s shocking), so I work really hard on looking at the positive in
my life and trying to not think about it.
For the most part it works. When it doesn’t, it sucks. I really try to not
be too jealous because immediately sucks the happy right out of me.
Thanks so much for this comment. I really hesitated posting this, because it is something that I hate so much about myself (because you’re right, jealousy just makes you unhappy, and fast!) but, as usual, realizing that another person can relate to what I am saying makes me feel better.
And I hate when married people belittle unmarried people for wanting to get married/be in a relationship and vice versa (when single people belittle married people who talk about the perks of being single — there are a few!). None of us have a perfect life, and we shouldn’t guilt each other for wanting something different or more. The trouble for me is striking a balance between wanting what I want and enjoying what I have.