[Current condition: highly caffeinated and sleep deprived - here goes…]
I have been thinking a lot about the topic of jealousy lately, and how upon reaching the current stage of adulthood in which I now reside, I have not had to wrestle with jealousy nearly as much as in years past and in some contexts, there isn’t a single sign of struggle with it. Why is this?
Focusing on the context of jealousy in a relationship, there are two applications of this emotion-state which I recognize: Jealousy the Protector and Jealousy the Destroyer.
The Protector is a reflection of the concern one has for their significant other. It gauges how much a person is into the relationship and communicates that they will indeed give a damn if their SO starts seeking fulfilling happiness from someone outside of the relational bond. It forces one to realize that they need to be actively playing their own role in the relationship, and it will light a fire (inside them, and underneath them) to motivate them to keep them on their A-game.
The Destroyer is the evil-twin of the balanced jealousy that we find in the Protector. The provocation is the same for both, but they differ in their responses. The Destroyer seeks to compensate for the deficiency of attention or care from their partner by obliterating the new sources that have replaced the jealous one. Instead of taking restorative action, the Destroyer seeks to bring balance by leveling anything or anyone that would so much as threaten to get in their way and take away the precious attention to which they have at this point become critically addicted.
So why is this no longer a problem for me? The short-answer key version is that I now possess a great deal more of confidence than I did once upon a time. The free-response version goes a little something like this:
A dichotomy of emotional responses exist when it comes to my approach to reacting to a stimulus that would normally inspire jealousy.
1) I realize that I have a unique set of skills/attributes in a relationship that I am simply confident that one would have to look far and wide for to find again - a type of signature whose appeal is in the specifically blended synthesis of qualities rather than the strength of any individual ingredient. No jealousy exists in this condition, because I have no need to be jealous.
2) If it is the case that my (theoretical) partner finds someone else who “outmatches” me in every way (for sake of argument), I realize that this often if not always bears the implication that this other simply has a more compatible “signature” of traits with my current partner than I do. It may not even be a measurable comparison of strengths and weaknesses between us that tips the balance, and I should not treat it as such. The mature response to this is to “let the best man win,” even if it means I will lose someone dear to me. It has taken me a few iterations to achieve the ability to lovingly let go of someone without harboring the bitter Destroyer, but through meditating on non-attachment and putting my love for them above my own id-ish self, I now possess this skill, and I must say, it is freeing…
…it takes a lot to step back, admire the big picture, and then to continue the arduous search for the place where you fit the most, like a jigsaw piece which though it can be uncomfortably mashed to fit into all sorts of other puzzle pieces’ rightful places, it itself has only one true spot where it completes rather than distorts the whole.
A comic about the different types of attraction one might feel. I saw these floating around on tumblr. These were originally taken from a website about asexuality. Although, I think people who are not asexual feel these regularly too. There’s all kinds of attractions for all kinds of people. Enjoy.
Aha! Sensual attraction.
I now have a word to describe a good deal of the female relationships I’ve had in my life - a squish. Maybe I won’t confuse these all with each other now that they all have their own lexical address.
I’m not so sure anyone actually does follow my Tumblr. Hence, it has become by unknown open journal to the mostly anonymous world.
By and large, most Americans (at least those growing up in the suburbs) have lost their birthright of a culture passed down from the nation of their heritage. I estimate this is one of the greatest tragedies of the (post?)-modern world. Having spent the last several millenia learning to associate with other human beings, we are now cutting the ethnic ties that have resulted from this endeavor.
However, this problem presents an opportunity for individuals to choose the communities with which they associate. This is what I want to discuss today.
I never really grew up in a community which I did not actively have a say in joining. Even my family I did not really “accept” until much later in my life, with an exception here and there. The church that I went to as a kid I actively refused to participate in and only went because that’s where my parents were. As soon as I was able, I left there to find a church that I knew would better fit my spiritual needs, and it was in this new church community that I associated with most closely for the better portion of my life. I even got to choose my schooling at a certain age, bouncing between Christian school, public school, homeschool, etc. Thankfully, my parents have been flexible to support me in these decisions to uproot myself. However, just as the wayfaring stranger that I have been, it is time that I must uproot myself again and find a new place to call home… or do I?
I no longer think that I fit the qualifications to fit in with the church community, but this is where I lack certainty. Can the body of believers foster someone who does not believe? The thought of leaving this community behind frightens me; it chills my soul to imagine that any of my friends would reject me because I no longer share the same convictions. Of course, it’s rarely a flat out rejection. It’s always more subtle than that and works slowly like water on rock. Honestly, though this is a symptom of where I am in the chronology of my life, what worries me most is that the girl of my dreams would refuse to accept me as a soul-mate because of my doubts (cue the argument “well would she really be the girl of your dreams then?” Potentially, but I may never get the chance to find out). This is the first time in my life that I would ever let myself explore relationships with those outside of the church, but I’m afraid that I will begin to miss the familiarity and spiritual bonds of those within it. And so, while I endeavor to resolve this inner-dispute, I will hedge my bets and begin my quest for a new community… and I think I may have found one.
After lurking for years, I finally joined the mystical realm of Nerdfighteria.