Written on October 18, 2014.
Sometime last summer I got bitten by a bad case of envy. In such a short span of days, three different friends of mine had gotten boyfriends seemingly out of nowhere. It was only weeks ago that we had sworn to a lifetime of awesome spinsterhood together and suddenly they were going on dates and falling in love. It was disarming.
As they messaged me the details, the important moments of their didn’t-see-it-coming whirlwind romances, I felt partially betrayed and abandoned. But, most of all, I felt wrong.
You can ask any of my ex-boyfriends: I am not a jealous person. Not really. But in that moment, while navigating through that sea of shiny happiness, I felt duped. Because while they were out there exploring the beauty of relationships, I was at home scrolling through Tumblr. What the hell was wrong with me?
That jealousy stirred in me. It clung to my heart and unleashed an endless string of whys. I mean, wasn’t I good enough?
I was 25-years-old. I fell into the bracket people often allocate to one’s ‘prime marrying years’. But I spent most of my weekends doing activities that were so contrary to the fact, like sitting in a restaurant alone with a book in my hands. I had always thought that that I was empowered enough to find joy in my own solitude but in that moment, when placed next to the light of glorious couplehood, I couldn’t help but think that what I was, in fact, was really, really sad.
The night ticked on and the texts continued to trickle in and I sat stewing in my own jealous filth. It was terrible. When I could hardly stand it anymore, I stood up, threw my phone on the bed and spoke out loud like a crazy person. (To be fair, at this point, I had already descended into a very shallow layer of madness.)
“No. NO. You are not going to do this. You are not going to throw yourself a pity party while the rest of the world is out dancing. No, no, no, no, no. No. I refuse to be the kind of person who can’t be happy for another person’s happiness. Nope.”
And when the initial feelings of silly envy had died down, I took a breath and told myself one last thing:
“You are okay where you are. You are okay. It doesn’t matter what the statistics tell you or what people think. You are in a good place and you are okay.”
Because I was. I truly was.
The next day I texted my friends and told them that I was sincerely happy for them. It felt good to mean it. It felt good to dive into the sea of shiny happy feelings and know that I could belong there, too. That a change of relationship status didn’t make anyone’s happiness any more special or valid or real.
And I’m writing this now because today is a wonderful day. Today my cousin, Erika, got engaged. We grew up together in houses that sat side-by-side. We have seen each other through childhood and puberty; through college and all the mini breakdowns and breakthroughs in between.
(Erika on the left, me on the right. Circa 1994 at a Barbie Fashion Show)
Er was my protector and defender growing up. Even though she has always been shorter than me, her fire and strength have built walls around my quiet and docile demeanor, making life safer through the years.
If there’s one person who I’m certain will always have my back no matter what, it’s her.