On the subject of jealousy, I have to admit that I can be a very jealous person sometimes. Especially when in relationships with significant others. I do know where this issue comes from. As a child growing up, there was always something sort of “off” about me; I was an eclectic and fairly eccentric child (nothing has changed, really.) I did, however, have a “perfect” younger sister. She was the one who was on the Junior Varsity and Varsity girls volleyball and softball teams, she was the one that everybody fawned over saying “Your sister is so pretty,” which of course left me wondering what I was.
I was not popular at our very small private school. In fact, I think I may have developed a healthier self image had I attended public school where there are many different types of people and cliques. Public schools are not made up of only doctor’s and lawyer’s kids (even if I was one of them.) I did not play sports, I preferred books to the company of other students (they were mean to me so why should I want to be with them,) my GPA was much more important to me than being a popular “jock,” I did not dress like the popular kids (tried that; it backfired about 2 months later), I listened to the “wrong” music which meant that I listened to heavy metal and hard rock not the whiny albums by The Cure or Robert Smith. All of this and more equaled ostracism and bullying.
I figured there must be something really wrong with me, and became so depressed that I probably qualified for Major Depressive Disorder. I quite literally did not speak unless I had to for about 2 years. Anyway, back to the subject of jealousy. The first person I remember being jealous of was my sister; she was so pretty, and popular with lots of friends. She was who I wanted to be at that age. Now, I would rather be true to who I am. However, the seeds for a disposition to jealousy were sown. Every time someone told me how pretty my sister was my first thought was “What am I, then?” If she was so pretty, and she and I look similar, then why was I not pretty? Looking back, I can see how my eccentricity put people off. I simply refused to be part of the “in” crowd because they were mean to people who were different; I tried to be “popular” and that lasted about 2 months of the 4 years I attended this school with it’s warped sense of diversity (there wasn’t any.)
Growing up believing myself to be extremely ugly, I find this has carried over into adulthood. Even though I like myself inside (for the most part), I still have this struggle with my looks. If my significant other makes a comment about another woman’s attributes (which, in my opinion is rude), then I immediately compare myself to her, and wonder what is wrong with me. Then I get jealous of the woman especially if she is a young woman because I am climbing into middle age. The pictures below are the way I feel society wants women to look, and I have to say it is not the norm; although one wouldn’t be able to tell from the proliferation of photos like these. These women are probably half my age, and yet I am jealous of their beauty. I never looked like that although I came close in my late teens and early 20’s. This is not an attainable ideal for most women. Yet, women continually try.
Even though as I have grown into a woman, I have been told that I surpassed my sister as far as beauty goes (I am not a hag), I still find myself jealous when the significant other comments on other women. Why am I not good enough? What is wrong with how I look? What on earth is he doing with an insecure, Bipolar woman who is prone to anxiety both social and general? For that matter, why am I so insecure which is what jealousy is based on?
I have a sneaking suspicion that the activities of my ex-husband exacerbated a tendency to insecurity and jealousy. For the last two years of our 4 year marriage, I slept alone, ate alone, watched TV alone while he spent hours on the computer watching pornography. I was alone in a loveless marriage. I was being emotionally and, to an extent, verbally abused. He knew I had body image problems, yet he persisted with his hobby. I did not become truly jealous of the other nude women he watched for hours on end until he moved downstairs and began to treat me as if I were a maid. I couldn’t understand why he did these things considering that I am not ugly; I am actually quite pretty when I am in a good mood. Bad moods make everyone look bad. He ignored my pleas to at the very least cut down on his porn time.
Now, I find myself clinging to my boyfriend, and am extremely jealous of his friendships with other women. I feel threatened by these relationships even though rationally I know I shouldn’t be. I am not certain that I am worthy of being loved (thanks ex husband), I do not feel like I am sexy anymore (ex husband again), I have a really hard time believing that he means what he says when he tells me I am beautiful and “wonderfully made” (his words.) All of this stemming back to childhood. And, carried into adulthood.
I am going to end this post with a non-Photoshopped, unretouched
photograph of a woman many consider to be one of the most beautiful women ever, and she is not a stick figure; she is curvy and proud of it.