Jealousy and other stories…

Apologies in advance for the length of this post. Like that girl in Mean Girls, I just have a lot of feelings. I am aware that putting this disclaimer here is only giving you more shit to read. 
As you were. 

It’s been over a month. And people have started pointing this out to me. So, as The Bastard Dissertation was handed in 14 days ago, and all I’m doing with myself is melting my brain in an office in Uckfield (East Sussex is weird…it’s no West Sussex), it’s probably time I wrote some shit on the internet.

But first, I’m going to recommend you some cool stuff.

Number one on the list of Things I Can’t Currently Get Enough Of is ‘Moranthology’, by Caitlin Moran (‘How To Be A Woman’, anyone?). It’s a collection of her columns from The Times, and while I cannot recommend it enough, I will say, don’t read it in public. A young couple and their toddler genuinely edged away from me and scuttled down the platform at East Croydon station while I was standing there sniggering at her description of how girls dance in music videos.

Number two on the list is the film ‘Shadow Dancer’. If you can find somewhere that’s still showing it, then I beg you to go and see it. ‘Whoa there, internet wench!’ I hear you say. ‘We don’t know enough about Northern Irish politics! We’re not going to get this film!’ Yes, you will. It’s a clever and well-acted film that’s as beautifully-shot as it is bleak, and you will be thinking about it long after you’ve left the cinema.

Finally, I’ve recommended them before, but I’ll say it again. Check out Brontide, ’cause they’re fucking awesome. And they have the most beautiful drummer I’ve ever seen (oh, wait. That’s awkward). I saw them live for the second time on Sunday, and they were bloody excellent. There were also so many hipsters present at the gig that you couldn’t move for questionable haircuts, over-thought facial hair and jumpers. It was like a live version of the internet.

Here, try this:

The following isn’t especially relevant to my life (at least, not currently), but for some reason I started thinking about it on the train the other day, and wrote most of this post in my head while proofing car insurance policies. So here goes.

Jealousy’s a funny old bug, isn’t it? It’s one of the few emotions that you can’t say anything good about. Blind rage? Well, it gets shit done.  Frustration? It’s lovely when it’s relieved. Grief? Tends to follow the loss of something good. But jealousy? Oh no.  It achieves precisely nothing. 

 I didn’t really ‘get’ jealousy until I was in my late teens – until I was in my first relationship, in fact. My secondary school years were spent in a mostly envy-free zone. It wasn’t as if I was an especially secure, confident, well-adjusted teenager (I spent five years in an all-girls school that had a reputation for academic excellence; of course I wasn’t secure or well-adjusted). I just never understood the concept. If someone was being particularly possessive and jealous over something or someone, I just wondered why they’d never learnt to share. 

It’s something you have to really think hard about in order to overcome it, I’ve decided. You have to come at it from all angles, slice it and dice it until you’ve dealt with it absolutely and thoroughly. 
Take jealousy within friendships, for example. Most people can probably think of a friend that has a bit of a Midas touch – everything seems to go right for them. Or, you can probably think of a friend you’d happily life-swap with, just for a few days. A very dear friend of mine has just got herself a job and a flat in London (she’s worked bloody hard to get where she is, mind), and when I saw her place on Sunday, I totally had an “aww, I want to be living and working in London. Like, now”. But then I thought about it properly. Would I want to be working in the City, in a hugely competitive environment, spending all day in heels and pencil skirts? No, actually, I wouldn’t. For starters, I’m shit at Maths, and I don’t have any interest in business (I loathe and detest The Apprentice).  And secondly, I struggle in any footwear that’s not a ballet flat or a Converse All Star. Wobbling round London in Kurt Geiger’s finest isn’t really going to suit me. 

Jealousy really takes on its monstrous, green-eyed, ugly form when it rears up in relationships. It’s incredibly frustrating because it’s such a paradox: feeling jealous can lead to some pretty relationship-ending behaviour, but it usually comes from a fear of a relationship ending. By acknowledging that you’re feeling little flutters of jealousy, you’re telling yourself that you’re not good enough. And then you probably chastise yourself for feeling that way, and hey presto, you have one sorry vicious circle. (I spend a frightening amount of time either apologising for having feelings, or silently feeling guilty for having feelings. Sad but true.)

This is where the role-reversal thing comes in. Or the do-as-you-would-be-done-by thing. If I’m kicking off about something (I say ‘kicking off’; getting blunt and angsty is more my style), I make an attempt at asking myself if I would expect the other person to do the same if the situation was reversed. Generally, the answer is “No”. Sometimes, it is a struggle and the “YEAH, BUT -” part of me wins out. 
This makes more sense if you can apply it to an actual example, so let’s try this one. I get on really well with guys, and almost prefer to be the only girl with a group of male friends (don’t make it weird. Also, this doesn’t mean that my female friends aren’t brilliant and very dear to me, ’cause they are). I also tend to like boys who have a lot of female friends and get on well with women generally – what I’m saying is, I would never kick off about a guy in my life spending time with female friends because I would never stand for them getting in a tizzy about me being friends with boys. I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

And going on from this, I’m also a total and utter flirt. Not in a predatory way, you understand (though after too much wine, that one’s probably up for debate), just in a harmless way. Caitlin Moran actually puts it really well: two people being lovely to each other and just enjoying “being total lovelies together”. It’s fun, it makes the day go quicker, and I’d never have enjoyed any job I’ve ever had without it. (Except working in a school office at uni last year. History and Anthropology lecturers are, on the whole, pretty hard to flirt with.) The point being, I’m never going to be able to have a “you were flirting with her! You so were!” hissy fit because I’d be throwing the mother of all stones from a rather ostentatious glass house.
About the bajillionth frustrating thing about feeling jealous is that it’s incredibly hard to talk about it in a sane, rational manner – and talking about it doesn’t necessarily help.  It’s almost more acceptable to be jealous and possessive when you’re around the 16-18 mark and you’ve got your sixth-form boyfriend/girlfriend; you’re still young and making a hash of things. Like a young lion cub, you haven’t really got a handle on how sharp your claws and teeth are, so you use them freely. No amount of reassurance from the other person in the relationship is going to help; the change has to come from the person doing battle with the monster. You have to decide that you’re not going to give into that nagging little voice. It’s like waves, I think – you feel the first one, then the next, then the next – and you can let them pull you into their freezing tide, or you can plant yourself firmly on dry land and march briskly away from the water. 

You’ve had some Brontide, now have these guys:

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