I wrote my first poem in second grade. My teacher posted it on the wall with a big thumb tack and told my parents it was exceptionally well written for a seven year old. The topic was JEALOUSY.
My parents kept that poem. It was written on a half piece of paper, (each student was only given half a piece), and is now stored somewhere in my house along with all of the other stories and poems I wrote in the years that followed.
Does it seem odd that a seven year old would write about jealousy? It seems like a rather large concept for someone so young, but I believe childhood is often a time of comparisons. I often thought my friends were prettier or smarter or had nicer toys and clothes.
I struggled with this for a good portion of my childhood and early adolescence. Honestly I probably struggled all the way through college. Did that girl have a bigger chest? Did that boy like her because she was prettier? Why did that student get a better grade? Was she smarter than me. Why did other kids have more friends than I did?
At some point along the way I stopped comparing myself to others. Every once in awhile I caught myself taking note of someone else’s success, but for the most part the thoughts lay dormant inside of me.
Maybe it was because I got married. I no longer had to compete with other women to find a man. I was successful at work. I received promotions, pay raises and bonuses. As a result of my marriage and my career my bank account grew and as money was deposited we paved the way for more of my dreams to come true.
We bought a house and then another and then added on a third property. We no longer struggled to pay for things that previously seemed out of reach. I began to out pace my peers so their was little reason to feel jealous. I never flaunted my possessions or my money, but in the back of my head I knew the numbers in my bank account and no longer cared if others had more. I don’t need much in life and now had plenty.
Every once in awhile I dreamed of traveling to Europe with my husband, who is always bound and determined to vacation in the exact same spot every year, but otherwise I felt content and happy in my place in life.
When I was trying to get pregnant with my son I sometimes felt jealousy. Not for long periods of time or in a way that I didn’t want others to be happy, but I’d see a pregnant woman walk by and wonder ‘why can’t that be me.’
It took a bit longer than I expected to get pregnant. It boiled down to six months of ‘let’s see how it goes’ and a couple more months of ‘let’s get this show on the road’. But at the end of the day I conceived a healthy, beautiful, amazing little boy.
By comparison I know people who have waited years to conceive, so my little journey to parenthood might seem like a drop in the bucket to those who waited or are still waiting.
When my son was born a lot of people asked me if I wanted a boy. I’m actually shocked by the number of people who have asked me about this. I was so happy to deliver a happy, healthy baby that his gender was the last thing on my mind. I can’t imagine giving birth to a more amazing child and I feel truly blessed to be his mother.
With all that I have in life and all of the blessings I haven’t even discussed, like a strong marriage, strong family support, relatively good health, etc. etc. It’s very unusual for me to fell jealousy.
This past week it reared it’s ugly head in a way I hadn’t expected. It swelled in my throat and made it rather uncomfortable to breathe. I tried to swallow it back but couldn’t, so I emailed a friend and spilled out my guts about my feelings. She replied in the best way possible, by telling me that my feelings were natural, that I’m not awful and then related her own story. I wanted to know that I wasn’t alone and she let me know I most certainly wasn’t. Sometimes the easiest way to release pain and emotions is simply to let the universe know you are hurting.