Monday, August 5, 2013

Green is Not My Color

My daughter asked me why I didn't talk to her, she said, "I thought you were friends."

It was an awkward moment.  I really didn't want to explain to my daughter the thing that had happened in that moment when I had seen my friend - saw that she had seen me, but turned away, refusing or choosing not to acknowledge me.

I knew what had happened.  I have seen it before and knew what had happened.  Some things you just know.  Even though you don't want to acknowledge the truth or maybe, even, believe that you are accurate in your assumptions, you know.  Many of my friends tell me that I have the strongest intuition of anyone they know, and that so often it is absolute and accurate.  It is true, as I have experienced its accuracy my entire life, and have come to depend on it to guide me.

Why did I hesitate to tell my daughter?  Because it hurt me.  Not because the friend shunned me, while that was hurtful.  It was because of why I believe she shunned me.  The moment she turned away, I knew why.  So ... this reason hurt me, and ... trying to find the words to explain it to my daughter, hurt me.

But ... I told her.  I told her the woman and I had, indeed, been friends, until recently when it became obvious to me that I made her uncomfortable.  And, my making her uncomfortable, makes me uncomfortable.  So ... when I saw that she had turned away, I chose not to pursue her.  I could have pushed my way past the wall she had suddenly put up, but I chose not to.  It was one of those small moments in life when you choose to save yourself, protect your feelings, over someone elses.  It is not something I do carelessly, but when I finally make that choice, I have concluded that, in my mind, I am right about the situation, and whomever is hurting me needs to be let go.

My daughter pushed to know more.  I didn't want to go into it, as what I would tell her could and might sound presumptuous, could be interpreted as hateful on my part, could be construed as egotistical.  I knew that only years and years of experience with this sort of thing would and does make the situation more understandable.  I did not want to suggest anything to my daughter that might, in anyway, be taken the wrong way and influence her negatively in how she might treat or react to people in her life in the future.

But ... I told her.  I told her the woman was jealous.  I make the woman uncomfortable when I am around her.  It is never my intention, but it happens.  I told my daughter that because I was dressed up and the woman was not, I believed that is why she ignored me.  And when I saw my friend's reaction, my defenses went up.  My defenses went up because, in that moment, the woman made me feel bad about myself, when I had no reason to.  

It is the irony and ammunition of jealousy - the ugliness it can create in one person, can ripple out, a dark cloud that can envelop others in its path.  I told my daughter I would not allow that.  I would not allow a person that felt bad about themselves to make me feel bad about myself, just so it would make them feel better.  I've done it, many times in my life - sacrificed my pride and dignity to sustain and encourage others - only when, and because, I knew I had the strength to continue to protect myself.  I still have the strength and a strong sense of self - I just no longer have the patience for a monster that is unforgiving and rarely tamable.

I saw this quote recently, "Everyone pities the weak - jealousy you have to earn."  There is a lot of truth in this.  I also saw, "Just because she's beautiful, doesn't mean you're not."  There is even more truth in that.


  1. Well said! And I hope your daughter gleans your wisdom at her age to navigate this stuff in the future. I find I tend to land in situations where the friend who is jealous turns others against me. I never see it in the moment but until things have cooled down. The I see the aha moment but unfortunately the relationships are already wrecked.

  2. So good to see you again, Joanna :)