Jealousy

Once there was a young woman who grew up wanting. It was the kind of wanting that leads to aching which leads to more wanting.

She wanted to be given the same favor that her older sister received from their parents. She wasn’t.

She wanted to be strongly disciplined like her older sister, with the kind of discipline which attends strong expectation. She wasn’t.

She wanted to be sent to the same elite school as her older sister, but she wasn’t. She was sent to the mediocre school near her family’s home.

The upshot of this down-shot was that she was shot-through. But she didn’t tell her parents that, and she didn’t tell her sister that, and she didn’t tell her friends that, and she didn’t tell herself that either.

Off she went to college to try her luck there, excelled, graduated, got a job as a professional, got married, had two daughters, went back to school for an advanced degree, moved up the professional ladder, switch to the same profession as her sister, succeeded, and was left — still wanting and not knowing why.

She had a conflict with a rival at work. She went to therapy.

She talked, and she cried, and she talked and she said, for the first time in her life, “I’m jealous of my big sister,” and she hid her face.

“Why am I forty-three years old and for the first time in my life I am admitting to an emotion I have had since I was two?” she said with sobbing voice.

“Because,” said her therapist, “to admit to jealousy is a social crime. Jealousy, when exposed, is always punished severely, with disgust. We all know this, although we have never been told this. You are no different than the rest of us in this. Jealousy is the emotion everyone experiences but no one admits.”

“What do I do?” she asked her therapist.

“We may become thirsty in one place,” said her therapist, “but find that there are other places to get a drink.”

So she went home. She cried. She got up from her tears. She was resolved.

“You,” she said to herself, “are the little girl who needs to be special. And so, I need to tell you,” she went on, “that you are special, just as you are, to me, and I love you very much!” She said this to herself in the mirror, and that night, she got on the phone, and invited her parents and her sister over for dinner.

“I love you,” she said when they arrived, and welcomed them into her home.

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