This week I went through a range of emotions my body is not used to. I live in the middle layers, happy and sad as my journey takes me but safe from extreme highs and lows. Every now and again something happens that tips the scales.
When a friend screams at me unexpectedly. My cinema girls going to see the film I really wanted to see. Without me. Anything to do with my children and their disappointment. Not getting picked for the team, being left out of a sleepover (them, not me).
Yesterday a lovely lady I know, a fellow writer and one of the few people who came to see me in hospital, won a big prize. The news came with a free ticket to the roller coaster for me.
First up I screamed the house down with joy. Honestly, not one negative emotion ran through me. Euphoria, ecstasy and pride. Woo hoo!
About an hour later envy started to kick in. I didn’t really notice it until I decided on a red wine or two. To celebrate. Or something. I picked up a green coloured wine glass when normally I drink from midnight blue. The green glass caught the lamplight as I poured my drink, the colour of blood, from the bottle. Was I channeling Snow White’s Step Mother? Cruella Deville perhaps? I drank while a vicious cackle caught in my throat. I would spike an apple, pay a woodcutter to take her to the depths of the forest. March on her house with an army of other forgotten writers.
Nah. I just watched the telly and tried to work out what the hell was going on inside me. I always support my friends. I love it when they do well, go on European holidays. I do, really. I don’t really do competitive. It’s not my thing. Yet everywhere I looked all I could see was green.
The first light of a new day. Was I still consumed in a soup of jealousy? Had I turned bitter and twisted during the night? Well no. I hadn’t. I wasn’t turning hoops and singing while I made my breakfast either. But the seething had passed and I could love my friend and her wonderful victory again. A bit.
The new day instead brought forth feelings of deep disappointment. In myself. I had worked hard for a decade and had earned rewards along the way but nothing this big had poked its head around my front door.
I performed chores I would have normally ignored as if they were a penance for my lack. Then I remembered a recent conversation with another friend, a seasoned writer. Her writing buddy had been shortlisted for a very big fiction award. She told me how awful she had felt, howling at the moon with the unfairness of it all. “Then I said, for goodness pull yourself together girl. This isn’t about you.”
That’s right. And this isn’t about me. Wow. The relief. I can feel my negative emotions dissolving like aspirin. I’ve dealt with and made sense of it the only way I know how. By writing about it.
I’m off the celebrate my friend’s victory by eating cake.