aIn response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Green-Eyed Lady.”
Jealousy can be an excruciating feeling. It is not clear like envy. It incorporates a hatred, a sense of betrayal, a desire for vengeance, anger or rage and pain. There is one dramatic event inspired by jealousy that occurred when I was but 3 to 4 years old that far outweighs any incident that I have ever felt as an adult. It puzzles me to this day ! I continue to examine it, and i have never shared it due to the shame that i feel over it.
Oddly, I am not jealous by nature. I am blessed with the ability to feel great joy when good things happen to people. I am not particularly materialistic, so have not felt jealous over the wealth and good fortune of others, although I can wish. I can remember feeling twinges of jealousy when gazing upon a fine painting… thinking boy I wish I could do that. I have painted, but considered my work less worthy of praise, and am extremely impressed by other people’s talents. Competition in my opinion is best placed between me and myself, and not others… It is needless to compare myself to anyone else as we are all unique individuals with our own way of seeing things.
I was born to and raised in a house divided. My mother had a repulsion for me from birth and my father a great love. He was in effect my primary parent. Meanwhile, my sister who was three when I arrived had already been well ensconced into a bond with my mother. Most of the time my mother would ship me off with my dad whether he were off for errands, friendly visits, the tavern, or the great Farmer’s Market that met on Saturdays. My dad was a talented furniture maker, and I spent hours in the basement with him as his assistant.
Fairness was nothing that my Mother and Sister were concerned with and the inequality of our treatment was evident even to a 4 year old. I say 4, but I might have been somewhere between 3 and 4. I have a photograph of my mother standing before my sister in order to protect her from me as I tried to retrieve my balloon; we were each given one and when my sister popped hers, she snatched mine and my mother made me give it to her.. This type of thing took place constantly.
Some children are more sensitive than others; I was extremely sensitive and often was unable to decipher my feelings from those of others. I was also the child that acted out the feelings of other family members.
It was a fairly regular day at our house, and if I remember correctly it was just after lunch. My father was not at home and my mother was free to the practice her favorite activity called “Divide and Conquer” My sister and I sat at the kitchen table. It was one of those heavy chrome and arborite tables popular in the 50’s and ours was red with a image of a pear on either side. On the center of the table sat a pair of scissors. My mother approached us with a treat. In her hand she had three Chiklets, some of you may not remember the little whtie sugar coated pieces of gum. She handed me one and I happily placed it in my mouth. She then gave my sister two pieces. I had no reaction to this, but my sister began to goad me saying that my mother loved her best, and that she always got more than I did. My sister kept looking at the scissors and then looking up at me. The energy at the table became very intense as my sister continued to taunt me and my mother simply watched from a short distance. Suddenly the scissors were in my hand and I flung them towards my sister. Luckily my sister ducked and the scissors lodged themselves into the window pane behind her and remained there in a little hole they had made with their point.
So many decades later I can still feel shame for this horrible act. I thought myself a demon. My first 10 years were very difficult. As I matured I came to understand how negative an environment I was raised in. I am glad I have made this disclosure.
I will never forget that day…when at the tender age of three, I was driven by jealousy to strike out.