The Green Monster. No, not the wall at Fenway or Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc.
I am talking about envy, about jealousy.
We have all felt it at different times in our lives. I know I have felt it.
In high school I felt it all of the time, like when I wasn't invited somewhere and everyone else was. I felt it when my friends had boyfriends and it seemed like no boys at my school liked me. I felt it when I wasn't good enough at sports and wished I had more talent.
In college I felt it when I couldn't hack it in a class and others could. I felt it when we were getting ready to go out and I just didn't feel pretty enough.
In my 20's I felt it when I was working my tail off as a teacher and my husband kept getting raise after raise. I felt it when I got my masters and he still made more than me with a bachelors. (I knew education wasn't a money maker, but it still hurt to see his salary quickly surpass mine when I had double the degrees.)
In my 30's I felt it when we were trying to get pregnant. My body couldn't get pregnant on its own. Everyone around me was getting pregnant, some people not even trying at all or still on the pill and getting pregnant. I felt it when I had postpartum twice and wished I had had a normal newborn experience.
All of these feeling of jealousy, of envy are normal...at least I think they are. I didn't let them get me down. I let that shit go.
The jealousy I feel now is different.
I am jealous of the families who have healthy children. Whose worst day is a child with an ear infection, the flu or even lice.
I am jealous of the cancer families who have cancers people know about. Whose cancer has a treatment plan. Whose cancer has a survival rate.
I am jealous of cancer families who get to go home with a child who is alive.
I am jealous of kids who have had a poorly differentiated clival chordoma and have survived. This one hurts the most. There are kids out there who have survived this tumor...there is one here in Central Ohio. One who was treated at Nationwide just like Sloane. One who survived and is living. There is another one in New Zealand. One who's tumor was discovered at 11 weeks old. That child is alive. That child is living. The treatment for these two children was different. Different chemo regimen, different order of surgery and radiation, different oral immunotherapy drugs, yet these children survived and have no evidence of disease on their recent MRI's. How do I know this? Well, social media.
Social media has taken jealousy and envy to a whole new dimension. Gone are the days where you hear about what you missed over the weekend. You can see what you are missing in real-time, with pictures, videos and narratives. You can see pregnancy announcements and gender reveal parties before, during and after the event. You see when someone's child is sick, the picture of a parent holding their little one, asking for prayers for the fever to break. You can see children ringing the bell after they finish chemo. You can see how great life is when childhood cancer can take a backseat.
I am envious of everyone around me. I am jealous. I want to let it go. I really do. I don't know how to. I am sure there is plenty for me to read on how to let go of this feeling. There is probably some Facebook group for this. I can talk to my therapist about it and find ways to cope, or listen to podcasts about letting go of jealousy. I can swear off social media.
I can try all of these things, but the truth is that this green monster called jealousy sits on my shoulder and haunts me every single day. I hope one day it disappears...because just like anger, it is tearing me up inside.