On various occasions, I have heard people say, “I am not the jealous type.” To this I say, “Malarkey!” There is no such thing as a jealous type. Jealousy is an emotion the same as happiness and anger. And like happiness and anger, although it can be masked and denied, it is inevitably felt.
Jealousy is a demon that feeds on doubt, insecurities and the neurotic fear of being replaced in a relationship. Children are possessed by its toxic grip when they first see their parents giving extra attention to another child. Students are left feeling its burn when teachers shower other classmates with superfluous attention or praise. Lovers are sent into a frenzied rage when they see their partners flirting with someone else. As long as there is a fear of losing someone’s affection or attention, jealousy will be felt.
My first memory of jealousy’s stinging bite was in grade 12 when I started dating. (What can I say? I had a good childhood. Either that or my brain is working overtime to repress the memories.) And as I reflect back on the numerous times since then that my vision has turned red because of this beast, I wonder how I could have better handled the situations. More often than not, I bottled up the feelings inside. I’m not sure if I was afraid of looking like a jealous fool (which, for the most part, I was) or if I was afraid of finding out that my fears were warranted (which, a few times, they were). I think it was a bit of both. The point is that I never directly communicated my feelings of jealousy with my girlfriends. I didn’t express my fears and doubts except through passive aggressive behaviors and silence. As you can imagine, neither approach worked to relieve my pain or remedy the situation. Alas, that was who I was. And direct confrontation was never my forte.
The good news is, my emotions haven’t been seized by this demon in many years. Since 2004 to be exact. I was DJing at Savannah one night and put on, Dilemma, by Nelly and Kelly Rowland. This was one of Rachel’s and my jams. (Countless times we have floated around the dance floor breathing in this melody.) I remember looking up and seeing Rachel dancing with a customer and good friend. Jealousy immediately dug its sharp claws in to my belly once more. And then Rachel looked at me, smiled and blew me a kiss. I realized in an instant that there was no need to feel doubt. Before me was the woman who had given herself to me and I knew, in my core, that she was there to stay. To steal a phrase from the King himself, “Jealously had left the building.”
I am sure, years from now when my daughter grows into her life and finds a partner. that jealousy will rear its ugly head again. I just hope that I am able to express my feelings directly and with the wisdom and maturity that hindsight has given me.
Dilemma youtube link