I wanted them so badly. Every other girl had them in 5th grade, and I wanted to walk around with that horse on my back pocket, its mane blowing in the breeze from my coolness.
I wanted to be like the girls I saw who could actually shape their hair into bangs that looked like Gehry designs and who wore Keds without laces.
The lining of my heart ached because I wanted that so much – to be that cool, that popular, that awesome. I was jealous.
I told my parents about the Jordache jeans. My mom took me to Roses and bought me the knock-offs that, I now realize, we could afford. Mom even permed my hair in an attempt to help me look like those girls, but instead, I looked like a poodle on a humid day.
As if junior high wasn’t bad enough without cheap clothes and bad hair.
He makes a casual comment on my FB page about how he’s sold 1,100 copies of his book. She gets 20 blog comments on a day I only get 2. I learn that the woman who wrote 50 Shades of Gray is releasing a book on writing.
The lining of my heart aches again.
It’s a painful thing, this tendency to jealousy that seems hard-wired in my heart. It rips me up and carves me out, leaving me a bitter pith that serves no purpose except for rumor and lesson.
I fight it with joy, with the enthusiasm of my own path. I fight it by imagining the joy on my friend’s face when two agents ask for her full manuscript, or the peace he will get when his first writing class fills. I fight it by remembering there are people in the Jordaches and under the awesome bangs. People who get jealous and need affirmation, too.
By 8th grade, I had half my head shaved, and I could peg my skater pants with the best of them. I’d given up the dream of what it was to be cool, and I found my people (even as I, shamefully, left others behind). I embraced the artsyness and hung out with the theater kids. I spent long afternoons reading microfilm at the library, engrossed in Mrs. Cable’s history project.
I took to my path with vim, gusto, and a lot of hair gel. . .
Until the next year, when we moved to Virginia, and suddenly my funky shirt with the roses on it didn’t fit in a town where camo and acid wash were the rage.
The lining of my heart twinged again, and I started all over.
When have you been jealous? How do you battle it?
Tonight at 8:30pm EDT, we’re going to have a little book launch party for God’s Whisper Manifesto on Twitter. So don your best party hat and your Jordache jeans; tease up your bangs and peg your pjs. I’d love to see you there. Just use #godswhisper to join in.