First of all, I should tell you school started back last week so I’m a little bit BLAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHH because we at Casa Riley are trying to adapt to the new routine, which is essentially nonstop action from 6:00am to 10:00pm.
Having said that, tonight I was talking to my friend Sophie about something that kind of blew my mind–and the funny thing is, I already knew this was probably true. It just didn’t really hit me until she mentioned it out loud.
You see–and this is a significantly embarrassing thought even to entertain, but I truly believe it’s for real–there are apparently some people…
Okay. Here we go.
There are some people in this world who are jealous of me.
And not jealous in a good, I-admire-you kind of way. I’m talking about a you-have-what-I-want-and-I-hate-you-for-it way.
If you’re wondering how I came to this conclusion, well, I’m not going to tell you because I’m afraid it might make for an uncomfortable situation. Let’s just say… I’m 99% sure I’m right.
This whole idea makes me sad, because my life? Probably isn’t what these people think it is. Yes, I’m married to a wonderful man. Yes, I have two adorable daughters, both of whom were conceived easily (and fertility problems are a special kind of pain I can’t even begin to identify with). Yes, I have a great job at a great school with hours that allow for plenty of family time. Yes, I have a published book and more novels in the works.
But you know what else?
My husband and I disagree sometimes, and sometimes I cry about our disagreements. There are several times every day when my daughters frustrate me, disappoint me, and exhaust me (especially the two-year-old). Sometimes I walk into my school and I’m bombarded with kids who don’t want to be there and don’t care if I show up at all, and I wonder why I bother. Sometimes I compare my book’s sales to others and I wonder what I’m doing wrong.
Sometimes I feel sad, angry, and resentful.
Sometimes I feel as though everything in my life is a joke or a sham or it’s just plain falling apart.
Now, before you start telling me I’m blessed, believe me–I know it. I love my family, I love my job, I love my writing. I love that I’m sitting here watching Duck Dynasty with my husband and blogging on my school-issued Mac.
I have so much to be thankful for.
But my point is this: no one’s life is what you think it is.
That NYT bestselling author you admire so much? She may struggle with insecurity, depression, or disillusionment. Maybe she’s sitting in front of that computer screen with no idea how she’s going to write the next book, but she HAS to because she signed a contract and it’s burning a hole in her desk drawer. Maybe she’s not happy at all.
That mom you wish you could be? She may feel lonely. Perhaps she even feels as though she doesn’t serve a great purpose. She may have forgotten what, exactly, she’s good at other than making the perfect PB&J. When you look past the home-cooked meals and the expertly organized schedule, maybe she’s not happy at all.
That guy with the high-level job? Maybe he feels totally overwhelmed and out of his element. Maybe he throws up before he goes to work every day because he’s so nervous. He could have a wife at home who hates his long hours and chews him out about it the moment he walks in the door. Maybe he lives every day in terror that this will be the day he messes up big time. Maybe he’s not happy at all.
The best example of this is a couple I used to know. They were happy, they were funny, they had tons of money and they traveled all the time. I often wondered what it would be like to lead such a charmed life.
Years later, I found out the husband had been bipolar for years. He was terribly depressed and angry, and often dangerous toward his wife. She had spent years shutting down her emotions just to deal with his instability. People who were close to them feared that the situation would one day end very, very badly. They wanted the couple to seek help, but the wife was determined to pretend everything was fine.
Everything wasn’t fine. But dang it if it didn’t look that way from the outside.
What I’m saying is, the next time you find yourself feeling jealous of someone else because of something they have or something they do or WHATEVER, try looking past that thing and get to know the person.
It could be that your jealousy is causing you to miss out on a great friendship. And it could be that the person you’re jealous of desperately needs you in their life.