The mere mention of Laura would send me spiraling into an abyss of emotional distress. She was the unicorn that I could never compete with –– Marcel’s first love for 15 years of his life. Whenever she called him at home, she would leave messages on his machine in German (they are both German), and I could only imagine what sweet nothings she sang to him.
Yes, I became jealous because Marcel and Laura transformed me into a crazed psycho. To me, it was obvious that they both still loved each other, and this justified my bitchy behavior.
And yet, one evening, in the midst of a particularly nasty fight over some furniture from Marcel’s life with Laura (“I hate your loveseats,” I hissed), I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, holding a decorative pillow in my arms –– a pillow that Laura had bought for the couch. The mere sight of my reflection instantly brought me to the realization that this person –– this irrational, moody, negative person that I had become –– must have been hidden away for 26 years, lurking just around the corner, waiting for the right moment to jump out and pounce. My jealousy was nothing new. It was just something that hadn’t surfaced yet.
I began to wonder why Laura, a woman I had never met –– who Marcel claimed he no longer loved –– was so capable of destroying me. I sought friends for advice, but the most common response was, “Can’t you just believe that Marcel loves only you?”
The answer was, No, I could not, but I did not know why.
I have always felt secretly competitive with other women. To admit this is difficult because my sane and very rational side loves all women and believes we should live a kumbaya life together. I have a twin sister, though, and having a twin means being pitted against another female for your entire life. It’s only natural to comment on who’s the prettier one, the smarter one, the more datable one. Sadly, I do not think I won most of these competitions.
The other factor was that I was floating through life when I met Marcel, unable to define myself as anything. I had just quit my job as a teacher. Now, though, what was I? I was a 26 year old who had no real idea what she wanted to be in life. Laura, it turned out, was the VP of a major law firm in California. She was something.
The fatal flaw in my jealousy monster was that I could not forgive or accept myself for everything that I was, even the jealous side. I had secretly (and perhaps rightfully so) condemned myself for behaving like such a bitch. I was as hard on myself as I was with Marcel, wilting under the shadow of my jealousy as though it defined me. The more fights I picked, the more awful I felt. I could not see beyond my own imagination. I clung to my own justifications, trying my hardest to prove that Marcel was, in fact, in love with Laura. The jealousy became a black hole; my entire identity orbited around it, biding its time before it got squashed in the gravitational pull.
It was a dark time.
I had forgotten that I was smart. Beautiful. Sophisticated. Funny. Loveable. Perfect. What I have noticed in my 34 years in life is that the things that try to mangle us, like cancers or immune disorders, are also already apart of us. I worked at understanding my jealousy –– its roots –– realizing that somewhere, deep down, it may still exist. I simply know the triggers and focus on loving every cell within me again, even if I don’t feel so lovable in the moment. Negativity does not live long within the overpowering spirit of love and acceptance.
So, where did my jealousy come from? It came from me.