I’m feeling some kind of way.
All up in my feelings.
One of the characters from Golden Girls called it “magenta”.
What is this feeling? The short answer is jealousy. The long answer is like a Facebook relationship status: its complicated.
Here’s what happened. One of my classmates went on a date with a guy I used to be interested in. Right now everyone reading this is groaning and yelling at the screen, “what do you mean USED to be? You obviously still like him.” And when I got that strange “magenta” feeling after learning of said date, I agreed with you. However I’m not concerned about carrying a torch, necessarily, if that’s what it is. I’m preoccupied with my preoccupation with actually KNOWING about a burgeoning relationship between a girlfriend and the guy formerly known as “Friend Boy”.
Watching someone I used to like get interested in someone else must be some kind of aversion therapy. It makes me feel so odd and uncomfortable that I have to keep doing it to prove a point. Like, I don’t know, I’m a masochist and I like to wallow in my own misery? Like feeling uneasy makes me feel alive or some shit? Apparently it does because I find myself going out of my way to be the virtual third wheel with Friend Boy and a friend I’ll call “Class Girl”.
It so happens that I had plans to have dinner with Class Girl and some other friends the same week that she and Friend Boy were going out on their first date. I knew something was going on because Friend Boy told me about her and I felt simultaneously empty and envious. Empty because I believed I was over Friend Boy, and envious because…I don’t really know exactly, but it didn’t feel nice. Cue positive self-talk: “Friend Boy was unreliable in our friendship which showed me that he was unworthy of my romantic interest.” “I am too wonderful a person to spend time worrying about those who are not worth my time.” “I deserve to be with someone who wants to be with me and wants to pay attention to me.” See, my rational mind is as much an overachiever as my intellectual mind. But it’s very hard for me to toe the therapeutic line when I see a man I wanted to date, or used to date, being the person he never was with me.
Believe it when I say that the force is strong with my self-saboteur and she is hard to vanquish. I’ve gotten to the point that my emotional mind has nearly been silenced, but it asserts itself most frequently when I confront my romantic shortcomings. When I make a misstep at work, instead of crumbling amidst self-doubt, my brain effectively repeats, “What I do for a living is not what I am,” and all is well. Not so in the face of an ex-boyfriend or – in the case of Friend Boy – an unrequited love. My first, emotional reaction is a ping of envy and, thanks to 8 years of therapy, I acknowledge my negative feelings then accept their existence. My second reaction is rational, the aforementioned self-talk reminding me not to wallow, and I congratulate myself for being so well-adjusted. At this point I should disengage, walk away, get out of dangerous territory while the getting is good. Instead, I overcompensate by getting all wrapped up in the ex-boyfriend’s love life. In the case of Friend Boy, I ask him what he thinks of his new love interest. I text him about her for 30 minutes as if to prove how well I’m handling my shit. Then I start talking to Class Girl about the date like I never carried a torch for this man. All is fine until she shows me the sweet, cute texts he sends her and I’m right in magenta territory.
So, what to do? They say admitting you have a problem is the first step, so my name is Deltra and I’m a Picker. That is, I pick at emotional wounds so they don’t scab over and heal. Or, I act like they’re healed because I’m annoyed to be sitting with feelings that I can’t control. Maybe I did harbor some hope in the back of my mind that Friend Boy would be interested in me. Maybe every rejection by a man stings more than any other rejection (and no, I don’t have Daddy issues). Perhaps I feel unworthy of male companionship, or ugly, or emotionally broken so much so that I’ve got to stick myself in the middle of someone else’s happiness to realize how unhappy I still am.
Wait, was that a breakthrough? I certainly hope so, because I have no intention of stalking Class Girl’s and Friend Boy’s Facebook pages to find out how their date went.