Growing up there was always a monkey on my back. More like a hulk really. Big, green and monstrous. A monkey I’m sure you’re all familiar with, in one way or another – jealousy.
The problem was in my case jealousy didn’t just extend to the regular things like feeling bad about yourself or being a bit uncertain about your life. For me, jealousy consumed me. It controlled me. I found it hard to be happy for anyone else over anything at all because all I could think was “it should be me”.
Jealousy led me to do some pretty nasty things in my teen years. Rather than quietly seething inside my jealousy would come out in harsh words, in putting down others, in bullying and in ownership of concepts, ideas, things that couldn’t possibly be owned in any way. Things that it wouldn’t harm me to encourage others in.
I hurt others, a lot. I would make fun of people behind their back over things that simply didn’t matter. That weren’t my business.
The problem was never them. It was me, my problem. Mine and the green monkey on my back’s.
I was a bully.
The thing is, when you’re caught in this spiral of self loathing, and the misguided belief that if you can’t be happy or succeed others shouldn’t either, it becomes very easy to justify harsh behaviour to others, and to yourself. It becomes easy to say “they deserve to be torn down” just because they have it together, and you don’t.
I’ve been struggling over the last week with jealousy again. I helped someone get an engagement ring, and because I helped I know the price, and I know the price is similar to mine, even though the diamond is twice the size. And I struggled, I wanted to tell them I couldn’t help, I wanted them to have to pay what I paid. I wanted to lie. But I didn’t.
Many of my friends have now announced their pregnancies, all at different stages, and I’m jealous. In the words of the Viking my biological clock has finally ticked, and it’s ticked LOUDLY. Even though I know, logically, it’s not the right time for us, I am struggling. But I am still supporting them.
The monkey is there and I can feel it gnawing on my shoulders. I can feel the weight on my back as it whispers in my ear “it should have been you”. I can feel it breathing down my neck, willing me to hold it against them. To let it control me again.
But this time it’s different, and I don’t think it’s that my circumstances have changed, even though they have. I have changed. I am stronger. And the load, although no lighter, is a little easier to carry.
Have you ever experienced the green monster on your back? Are you finding it easier to carry as you get older?