That passage is from the Song of Solomon and essentially it means that while true love does outlive death, jealousy or at least some perception of rejection or insecurity can be far more torturous than even dying. Recall a piece from this site entitled "L'enfer C'est Les Autres"? I'll jog your memory, the phrase means, "hell is other people", it is from a play written by Jean-Paul Sartre and when he wrote that, he meant hell can literally be the torture of loving someone who does not love you in return. Jealousy is a bit like that too, with slight modifications. Jealousy comes in many flavors and like a junkie craving a fix, it's physical in nature and difficult to talk yourself through. Sometimes, even when you KNOW to knock it off, there remains a horrible, little, evil fairy who won't stop rap, tap, tapping at your chamber door. The longer you refuse to answer, the louder the knocking becomes. The fairy's name is "Doubt" and she wants you to question things. She wants you to question yourself, your worth, the motives of others and the trustworthiness of the universe. Therefore, here is the plan, we are going to briefly review the personality traits of that bitch called "Jealousy" and as we head toward the weekend, we are going to tell that fairy to FUCK OFF. Having feelings of jealousy is completely and entirely natural, you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel them; it's what you DO with them which makes all the difference.
The story goes that once, the world was perfect, with no hurt, no envy, no lies and no evil of any sort. Yet, man lived in darkness and fear. Clever Prometheus stole fire from the gods, thus bringing warmth, enlightenment and protection to man. However, this greatly angered Zeus, who took vengeance on both Prometheus (he gets his) and on man by bestowing upon lovely, yet naive, Pandora two things and then giving her to Prometheus' brother to marry. First, he gives her insatiable curiosity and second, he gives her a box filled with all the evil of the world. The container is beautiful, but Zeus warns her that under no circumstances may she open it, although it is hers to keep. Being insatiably curious, Pandora believes she can sneak just one peak (what harm could there be in just one taste...) and when she cracks the top, all the evil of the world escapes. Fortunately, one small thing remains with her (and thus with man itself) and that is the spirit of hope.
Therefore, to open a "Pandora's Box" is to make one small, seemingly innocuous move which has grave and unexpected consequences. That is a long way of saying, "You hate jealousy? Blame Pandora." That bitch really fucked us all over, didn't she?
I am intimately familiar with this chick and as I pack up my house, I find myself opening old boxes I just know belong to her. I didn't know when I started packing that a séance was on the menu, but when I started to open boxes and ghosts flew out, I realized I was having one whether I ordered it or not. I wasn't expecting to find some of the things I found; some of it was fun and funny, but a lot of it was not. Old ghosts climbed out of the boxes, with names like "Christmas of 1985", "Photos from Before She Got Sick", "Dangerous Religious Fanaticism", "Things We Bought Together" and "Things I Always Wanted to Do" and they sat down next to me and pushed on bruises I was certain were healed. At that moment, I knew those weren't my boxes, they were Pandora's, but like her, I was too curious not to open them.
Self-actualization has a drinking buddy named Remorse and as I flipped through years of photographs, Remorse sat on my lap and pushed on my bruises with an old Christmas ornament and asked me to tell him bedtime stories about my choices in life. I felt an overwhelming urge to protect the clear-eyed girl in some of the photos. I wished I could reach in and insulate her from what was to come and keep her face smooth and young and full of possibility and prevent the knowing look from clouding her eyes. Even the youngest girl in the photos had already seen too much. Thankfully, Self-actualization has another friend named Catharsis. He doesn't get along with Remorse and when Catharsis arrives, Remorse usually makes his exit. Certain activities, like packing and organizing sometimes temporarily conjure up difficult moments and Ghosts of Christmases Past and even though these two paragraphs are not specifically related to the topic of jealousy, I wanted you to know that it is possible to walk yourself through negative emotions and have positive moments come from them. Therefore, as it relates to the topic of jealousy, just as it is possible to release regret and remorse; it is possible to release envy and jealousy.
As I am guilty of curiosity, I am also guilty of jealousy. As I stated, it comes in many flavors. I am guilty of occasionally being jealous of my friends, especially when they get in great shape or get new fabulous jobs or experience periods of romantic bliss. I still try to be forthright about how I feel, to always be sincere and when I tell someone I am happy for them or proud of them, I always, always, always mean it. Although I am guilty of slinging insults I don't mean, I try never to provide insincere flattery, compliments or congratulations. I am also guilty of jealousy in relationships, although it always stems from a place of insecurity. Everyone is guilty of being jealous sometimes and sometimes we aren't even certain WHY we feel the way we do. Don't beat yourself up, it doesn't mean you're weird and it doesn't mean you need to be in therapy. It means you are normal and you feel the way every other human being on the planet occasionally feels. The most important thing is how you HANDLE jealousy, not that you eliminate feeling it. Being a little jealous reminds you that you are alive and you are able to feel things. Have FEELINGS, not CONSUMPTIONS.
Shakespeare told us in Othello, “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Get it? It's a fucking unflattering glowy-eyed monster, which will consume you and LAUGH AT YOU WHILE IT EATS YOU ALIVE. We mustn’t let Godzilla run the asylum, so what should we do?
Here is what prompted this post - On February 22, I received a random email through the contact form of this site. It was only about one sentence long and it indicated to me that this person wanted to write a post for the site. They indicated that they'd been screwing up for "57 years and wanted to help people avoid making the mistakes" that this person made. They indicated that they liked the site and wanted to write something for it. So, I emailed this man back and I told him that I was happy he reached out. I explained that there was no way he had been "screwing up" for 57 years and I explained that even when you make mistakes you are learning from them and not every "fail" is a fail. I encouraged him to write something and I explained that there are no rules about posting to this site, so we should just start a dialogue. I told him that I usually just ask people to tell me a story they were thinking about and we could go from there. I asked him what he was thinking when he wrote to me and said he was interested in posting to the site? I asked him to tell me about himself and his situation.
I signed off by saying I looked forward to hearing from him and I signed it, "Fondly, Saraswati". I would never turn away anyone who wanted to tell a story on here and I genuinely hoped this stranger would open up a little. I wrote my reply email on February 23.
On February 26, I received the following reply email from the same email address as the original email: "Hi, this is ____ ' s wife. By all means, let's start a dialogue. I'd like to start with who you are, why you are emailing my husband and how you know him?" Then she gave her name and email address.
Maybe I am horribly naive, but I was shocked when this happened. I just assumed anyone who reached out to me was either A. single or B. had permission to contact me (or at least wouldn't do so if it was inappropriate). Initially, I thought the whole thing was outrageously funny. How did I end up in the middle of this? I was completely innocent, wasn't I? Did I miss something? I couldn't help but laugh at this email, because it so totally blindsided me. Who are these people? What really is their story? I laughed at the mischievousness of it all, but then I started thinking about it, more and more.
I emailed her back. I explained that her husband was a stranger to me and that I write a blog. I explained the blog and I told her that I encourage people to contact me with ideas and thoughts and topics, etc. I explained that it's all anonymous and that I didn't think he meant any harm. I ended by writing this:
"I apologize if I offended you, but I don't think your husband meant any harm by emailing me. We are strangers to each other. I think he just wanted to write something for my website, because he seems to have some ideas and feelings and stories he wants to get out. I would suggest you have a discussion with him though, because it seems to me the two of you have some real issues. First, that he wants to talk about your problems in a public forum (I did not know he was married) and secondly that you are distrustful enough of him to email me directly without speaking to him about it first. If you read what he wrote to me, it's one line, in the subject line and it reads:
'Ok I want to be able to post to your site to help prevent others from screwing up like I have for 57 years. Great site to post to. thanks, _______.'
Seems to me he thinks he may have made some mistakes with you. Maybe you should ask him what those are. Perhaps the dialogue is more appropriately between the two of you at this point."
She has not emailed me back.
Did I help them? Did I hurt them more? I don't know. I know what jealousy feels like; in fact, I know that it is one of the most powerful and ugly emotions imaginable. That woman probably felt wrecked by seeing my email. Still, what was she doing reading her husband's emails? She seems kind of horrible. I imagine her beating him with a rolling pin. But really, in the end, they are just two people in pain, like a lot of people, a lot of the time.
I've been doing some thinking since that happened, about jealousy, about times when I felt jealous, what caused it and about scenarios recently when someone may have felt feelings of jealousy in relation to me. Being single for the first time in a long time at the age of 31 sometimes makes me feel like a developmentally disabled person. I just don't always recognize things I probably should right away. I am learning things late, which I probably would have otherwise learned in my 20s.
I recently experienced four separate occasions in my life (which I can easily recall) where I was overcome with jealousy and I would like to take just a moment to break down what I think jealousy consists of and how we can avoid it in the future. So, here are the emotions or feelings I actually perceive to be simple jealousy and how I suggest we all deal with them:
1. The feeling of undeserved good fortune: Why the fuck did she get that job? How in the hell did HE land that chick? I work my fucking ass off every day and I have more education/intelligence/drive, etc. and I never get any breaks. Or, I am a hopeless romantic and I would treat a girl like GOLD and he is an emotionally unavailable ASSHOLE and he gets a grab at the Brass Ring and I get these women who behave as if they'd escaped from a mental hospital for developmentally disabled mall rats. Why did she meet someone who wants to marry her? She's only been single for two MONTHS! I have been dating for SIX YEARS and I am open to meeting someone and she didn't even WANT TO MEET ANYONE. This, my friends is the feeling of - "But it's all just so UNFAIR". Yep. Yes, it is. It is all unfair and things like this will happen over and over again, but these are not bad people, everyone deserves happiness and the universe is not plotting against you. Read up on The Law of Attraction. You get what you put out there. If you continue being negative, you will continue to draw in negativity in your life. You must start thinking positively and you must stop delighting in other people's misfortune or hoping that at least they don't do better than you. Being happy for people (genuinely happy) will make them LIKE YOU and then WHEN something good happens to you, they will in turn be genuinely happy for you. Have an attitude that something good is coming and I swear to Brahma, it will. This is karmic and everyone gets theirs in the end. When your good thing comes, you will want people around to be happy for you. That means being happy for them now.
2. The feeling of low self worth: Being hyper-critical of other people and incredibly judgmental is usually a manifestation of jealousy. When jealousy manifests itself in this manner, that is actually an issue with self-worth or low-esteem. The person (or you) is building a wall, so that they don't have to self-analyze. Why haven't they finished their degree? Why don't they start a band? So on and so forth. They feel the need to cut other people down, because they are insecure. These people (or you when you're doing it, I do it) hurt others so that they do not have to feel hurt about the holes in their lives. Inexplicable criticism or judgmental behavior is usually at its root a form of jealousy, which is usually a form of low sense of value. If you feel this way, or you feel constantly defensive, you may want to take a look at where you are in life and why you are unhappy. What changes could you make to allow yourself to live and let live and be genuinely happy for other people? Satisfaction with your own life is key to avoiding jealousy. The next time you feel the need to throw a barb at someone, criticize them or rake them through the coals behind their back, ask yourself why.
3. The feeling of distrustfulness or suspicion: Classic. This is classic jealousy and this is relationship based jealousy. We are talented magician-fools, all of us. We will make up scenarios that don't exist, which never existed and we will torture ourselves with them. We will allow the Green Eyed Monster to laugh at us while it eats us alive. Who is she? Have they had sex in the past? Is she still interested in him? Does the chick I like, like someone else? Is she interested in another guy? Why does this guy spend so much time talking to this girl? Why does this girl spend so much time talking to this guy? It's incredible the nonsense the fairy will allow us to imagine. We will make up entire lives if we let our imaginations run away too quickly.
Or maybe... who is this chick emailing back and forth with my husband about writing?
All of these feelings have one thing in common and that is the name of our friend the fairy - DOUBT.
What do we do to say FUCK OFF to the fairy? It is both incredibly simple and deceptively difficult. We choose trust. Jealousy is doubt. It is doubting you will ever do any better than you are now and thus be as thin, happy, well-off as your friends. It is doubting you will achieve all the things in life you meant to achieve, which others throw in your face. It is doubting the people you choose to interact with are trustworthy and care about you and aren't out to fuck you over. To counter-act the doubt, choose trust. Choose to trust yourself, trust your choices, trust your future and trust those you choose to interact with in life. If you cannot; if you cannot trust yourself, trust your choices, trust your future and trust the people you choose to surround yourself with, then you are at a crossroads my friend.
You get to pick. You get to pick now whether you want to be a person who emails strangers and demands to know who they are and why they are emailing their husbands, or something else. You may now choose whether to run your own life, or be treated by Dr. Godzilla and one bitch of a motherfucking fairy.
I read yesterday while reading things about jealousy, a passage explaining that some people believe jealousy and love belong together. They believe that the greater the love, the greater the corresponding jealousy felt if scorn or rejection is involved; however, that perception is grossly inaccurate. Truthfully, love and jealousy are incompatible emotions. I agree with that statement. If I love you, I don't want to compete with you, I want you to thrive. This holds true for friends, lovers, everything. I will trust you and I will believe that you won't leave, won't reject me, won't scorn me. I learned last night that vanilla pods are the only form of edible orchid. They grow on vines, so they need to be wound around something in order to thrive. Madagascar produces the largest amount of vanilla in the world and frequently, farmers there grow orange trees in conjunction with the vanilla. They wind the vines around the trees and they grow up through the branches of the orange groves. When the vines reach the tops of the trees, the pods grow golden in the sun and are harvested. The vines and the trees don't compete; they grow together, without jealousy and they both thrive. Together, they create an orchard, which smells of oranges and vanilla. I think that's lovely.
I'll see you next week, please believe me when I say I have ideas up the Wazoo and I miss you terribly, but I am overwhlemingly busy with moving and my full-time job. I WILL BE BACK WITH REGULARITY once the dust settles. We'll go funny again next week, because today we did a head trip.