I get jealous pretty easily. I dislike that about me.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be a stay at home mom and raise a family. I wanted to be crafty. Maybe be a freelance writer for extra vacation money. I wanted children that were wildly happy and successful. I wanted to retire early and spend time on my lake in the UP.
Instead, I had two children in very rapid succession with a man that *was not a good guy* and shed that dead weight and started my life as a single mom. I had amazing parent support, but I didn’t have a partner. I didn’t have the partner support I needed to raise kids. Having my parents help me was amazing and I’ll be forever grateful. But it’s not the same.
My marriage to Joe seemed to be a course correction, but it ended up being all cancer, all the time.
Unemployment. I lost a job that I loved. But they at least felt bad and covered the cobra insurance I needed to keep my husband in treatment. It was a mixed blessing. I loved that job. And everyone there.
Single Parent. Again.
I worked hard, but it was hard. I was by myself again, except this time I had the flowering mental illness in Alex to deal with. My life wasn’t happy children, it was frequent self harm and destruction and anger and fear and misguided attempts at talk therapy.
Would my child be alive when I got home? Would I find a suicide victim in her bed? Would all of the glasses be shattered? What mess will I have? Will I find out today that a drug addiction found it’s way into her life as it does in so, so many of the others that struggle with mental illness? Would she have cut so deeply that she needs stitches again?
The doctors at the walk in clinic stopped giving me literature on self-harm and depression and anxiety disorders.
I lost a job that I loved and thought I was going to stay at for the rest of my career.
I have only unemployment income and no prescription coverage. Alex’s meds were half of the unemployment benefit I received. The remaining $700 did not cover my brand new house payment. Luckily, my new partner floated me through this.
Mental illness strengthens.
Z is gone.
I don’t talk about this because want anyone to feel like they need to cheer me up or be positive, but because it’s the root of my jealousy.
I don’t begrudge anyone that’s had a good life or has the things that I want. It’s the further away from Z I get, the more deeply it sets in that life has given me more lemons than my bowl can handle. They’re leaking all over the counter. Spilled onto the floor. I have stupid lemon juice all over the floor.
I want to be the pretty one, I want to be the athletic one, I want to have the put-together house and the firm schedule and the dog that behaves and the supportive husband that was the only husband with a sweet and whirl-wind love story. I want to have lengthy summer breaks and academically accelerated children that have Saturday games and giddy sleep-overs.
There is so much to love about my life. Alex is generally coping with her life in a much less destructive way. She’s taking two classes at the college she paid for herself. I have an excellent partner and an amazing family.
Nor do I think I’m all alone. I mean, I have a group of other sad parents that I visit with every week. I know other young widows.
But in the back of my mind, behind all of the positives I project into the world, is this glowing ember of jealousy. I don’t want you not to have it, I just would like it too, please.
Maybe I didn’t make my vision board bright enough?
Maybe it’s because I feel summer closing out and soon I’ll have to leave Joe and Z behind for their first winter without me. Maybe it’s because there is far too much cemetery and mental institution in the fabric of my life.
Maybe it’s because (for those that know me) it’s easy to forget that my projection of happiness and normalcy is mostly because I’m trying to fool myself.
Tomorrow will be another start.
0 stars. Would not recommend.