TEXT MESSAGE RECEIVED AT 7AM 12.19.15
“Sorry I’m texting you so early… But I feel like you are the only one who can understand how I feel right now. Kindra, how do you deal with the feelings of jealousy and hurt when you see your friends around you getting what you’ve always wanted? I got a text this morning at 5:30 from my friend saying she’s pregnant again, and I have not one drop of happiness or excitement in my heart for her. I feel like a HORRIBLE person saying this, but it’s just not fair. Why them? When is it my turn? Is it ever gonna be my turn? And how do I maintain a friendship with my two best friends when I feel like I don’t know them anymore, and they are too busy being wives and mothers to afford to care about me? I can’t tell my single friends my feelings, cause they just don’t get why I’m “in a rush for those things” or “I should just have fun and enjoy my life” and I can’t tell the ones who have it cause they say “oh just wait, the right person will come along” or “I miss my freedom to do what I want like you!” Or “why are you in such a rush? You’re only 28?” How do I accept that it’s just not my time (or may never be) and still be happy to have some type of friendship (although vastly different) with those who seem to have it all?”
I receive these inquires quite often. It’s assumed I have the answers when the truth is I’m still navigating through life just as you are and doing my best to learn through the hardships. Maybe it’s because I disclose parts of myself that others keep hidden in hopes no one will ever see. I continue to practice radical empathy. I live it. For me, every piece matters. Every sin, belief, tribulation, and feat. I hope in my writing you find that you are not alone in your hurt. There are people all over the world feeling your pain and crying your tears. Please don’t be foolish. I am not the only one who understands your pain, but I will do my best to shed some light on this dark hour for you. The more honest we become with our pain the more revered we will be in our strength. We are all in this together.
Jealousy. She’s a real bitch isn’t she? She and I met and became great friends when I was just a wee little babe. My Mother warned me not to hang around her for too long, reminded me she was a bad influence, but still her company I kept. I remember being a teenager and thinking thoughts like, “Why don’t any of my friends have to take care of their siblings the way I do?” I grew up with a slew of emotional responsibilities that lead to my angry jealousies, but this one was particularly prevalent in my youth. I tried desperately to relate to my girlfriends and the mundane happenings in their teenage lives, but behind closed doors I handled business like a boss in our home. My Mother has always joked that I am her “Manager” in life. We make jokes of my role because laughing it off makes light of the heaviness I’ve had to endure. It takes that sting of the pain away and oddly enough shifts our focus to the good. There’s always good. Keep looking.
My Mother had us kids young and throughout her own youth raised us as best she could. She is an amazingly strong woman whom I hold immense respect and compassion for as an adult, but as a stifled teen I had yet to see her light. I wondered with jealousy why I couldn’t stay as late as my girlfriends at the parties. Why I had the responsibility of driving my brothers to and from their football and basketball practices and games. I wondered why when my Mother had to mend her broken heart (several times over) it was my responsibility to make sure my brothers didn’t see her pain. Oh yea, and were also fed, clothed, and shipped off to school on time. I wondered why my young eyes had already seen so much pain in such a short amount of time. I was jealous of my girlfriends and what seemed to be the normal teenage lives they led. Going home, doing homework, watching Dawson’s Creek, and staying up late talking on the phone to boys they liked until midnight. Fueling fire to my jealousy was my typical teenage angst and the curiosity if anyone would ever rescue me from my life.
Coming into my thirties it’s astonishing how the phases of life have expanded. My jealousy tries to linger, but I’ve busted out of her tight grip. Mine and my friends lives have shifted and shaped into a whole new paradigm. We are no longer contemplating whether or not we should skip 4th period to smoke a bowl before lunch, but whether or not we should breast feed or bottle feed our children. Of course, myself being the outsider of the mommy and wifey club, simply chiming in with my well intended pieces of competent opinion.
I’ve had my moments of jealousy in this new realm as well. I have, and I am ashamed of it. I too have felt pathetic misery at times. I’ve wondered why in the world did these girlfriends of mine whom have had such seemingly normal upbringing’s also get the luxury of the love of a husband and children hand delivered to them like this morning’s newspaper dropped on their doorstep. It’s as if God handpicked them from our circle and then looked down on lil ole me and said, “Nawwww, I think you should suffer through 2,317 more terrible dates before you find someone you’re even remotely interested in, then watch that crumble, all while finding the time to shop for yet another baby shower gift. You can handle it champ.” Verrrrry cool.
I let my imagination run off and far away from me often. I’m curiously passionate and strikingly volatile. In my past, with my lack of maturity and exceeding self-righteousness I consistently and successfully fueled the fire of my jealousy. Jealousy is an awful energy-sucking emotion that often spawns unnecessary fear. I lived so deeply in that fear for so long that anything else made me uncomfortable. I realized to overcome this part of myself I had to start asking better questions. When I started asking more sophisticated questions I started finding more reasonable answers.
What would my brothers have done with out me? I don’t want to know.
What would my Mother’s life look like if I hadn’t helped her manage her pain? You’re welcome Ma.
Where would the four of us be today if I hadn’t taken my role seriously? Not here in the safety of our Love. 3724
What really happened behind the doors of my girlfriend’s childhood homes? I learned later, things I could never imagine possible.
Why did I think it was okay to compare my pain to another’s and assume mine was more tragic? Don’t be foolish.
How would I learn and nurture their pains if I was so focused on my own? Love yourself so you can better love others. It’s why we are here.
Am I ever going to find love or have babies? It’s highly unlikely if I’m so severely focused on everyone else’s fairy tale.
How am I supposed to know what I want when my focus is on what my girlfriends have and what I felt my Mother had robbed of me and my childhood? I can’t. There’s no room. I most definitely do want a family. But what kind? What do we look like? Where do we live? I truly don’t know. I have to become more curious. I have to ask better questions. I have a natural talent for nurturing, often knowing exactly how to make people feel comfortable and secure. I’m loving, gentle, intimate, and understanding. I am kind-hearted but definitely not soft. I’m romantic and devoted, but only to those I feel safe with. Once settled I know I will enjoy being a homemaker and everything associated with it. Although I hear my inner clock ticking with uncertainty of what exactly it is that I want, I at least am certain of what it is I have to offer. I am a divine, evolving, fiercely loyal, complex, and loving woman finding her way just like you. Honor this space. It’s in these dark hours that we find our light.
So how do I rationalize my jealousy? I don’t. I accept it and then I do work. It takes practice. I stay diligent on keeping my thoughts free of wishes I do not hope to materialize. I do my best not to misuse my imagination. Anything placed and held there long enough ultimately becomes our reality. I ask better questions. I find gratitude even in the tiniest most mindless endeavors. I’ve found the more I practice gratitude the more I have to give. In being lost in my frustrations I had no room to truly share in the joys of the lives of the people I hold dearest to me. The first time I realized I had done a lot of inner growth was when my best friend Britton called me and told me she was pregnant. She was my fourth bestie to deliver the exciting news to me over a two year span. I remember feeling a difference in my inner being. The hair on my arms stood up and I felt a literal shift in my presence. The absolute joy I felt for her and her new adventure of motherhood overwhelmed me to tears. I remember saying to another friend, “I’m ACTUALLY happy for her!” I shocked myself. I had overcome that B jealousy. I was genuinely happy for her and I still am. I didn’t make it about me this time=grown up. I am glad I’ve taken the time to do the work because I believe we are here to relish in these moments with those that we love. It’s what makes life worth living.
Accepting that it’s not my time right now is a process for me. Our disappointment in not “having it all” is justified, but let’s get straight to the facts. Love and babies are two separate dreams that can be so intricately woven together that we mistaken them for one dream. Love is mysterious and could come into our lives at any given time. The question of when and who is out of our hands and we must trust that when we are ready our magical mystery man will be presented to us. Sperm however is not so mysterious, so I make my suitors wrap themselves up with caution tape, for real! I want both dreams combined, partner + baby. Until it has been presented to me as a two-fold I plan to play it safe. You should too or the text you’ll be sending me will read something more like, “I thought I wanted it all, but…” Pull and pray is not a safe game to play. Please play, but play it safe and play it smart.
My friends are my rock. They have continued to become my family over the years. As I’ve expressed my upbringing was not always easy and thankfully my friendships provided stability in my life. Dealing with the differences in our lives has been difficult for me at times. The only thing that’s ever given me peace of mind is communicating how I feel. I also learn in expressing myself that they in turn share themselves with me. My friends have struggles of their own, the married and the mommied. I guess “having it all” isn’t all it’s chopped up to be. Be a solid friend no matter how hard you think your life is. Show up for your friends. They need you too no matter what your marital status is. My 30th birthday was important to me and I wanted nothing more than to be with my main chicks. A few of them decided to leave the shindig early, one’s breasts were imploding because she needed to feed her babe and the few others because they “just don’t like to party that hard anymore.” Well, I like to party, hard. It was MY birthday, my 30th! Let me tell you, Kindy was POPPIN! I was devastated when they bailed and I let them know it with unnecessary sassy comment(s) that I fully regretted the next day. My birthday was in July and I only mustered up the courage to talk to them about it recently. I expressed to them that they are my “husband and children.” That I need them on those important days the way that they need their family units. When I put it into those terms they understood, it stuck. When I look at my tribe, I know I already “have it all.” I would have been content if we had all sat in my studio apartment and watched movies on my 30th, I just wanted to be with my husband and children that day. So don’t hold back, tell them. Be brutally honest. Instead of playing it cool tell them the scary and ugly details. It’s what will not only unleash the pain you’ve had bottled up, but it will uncover the truth which is: we are ALL fighting some sort of battle. Your vulnerability will bring you closer.
Live to express not to impress. The secret to having it all is realizing you already do.
So buck up champ, you CAN handle this. Let your imagination run wild hand in hand with curiosity instead of fear. On the flip side of jealousy is acceptance, courage, and grace and they have all served me better than that bitch ever did.
Catch ya on the flippity chick