You know how it is in secondary school. You’re wracked with insecurity and with insecurity comes jealousy and envy. Every one else seemed more confident than me. One girl in particular received the full attention of my green-eyed monster within.
She was everything I wasn’t and seemed to have everything I didn’t. She had curves in all the right places; I didn’t. She had a nice wardrobe; I didn’t. Best of all, she had a boyfriend. I certainly didn’t.
I was so intimated by her superiority that we never exchanged two words. Later I heard through the grapevine that she and her boyfriend had married and started a family. Now the circle was complete. She had everything I ever wanted: looks, love and children.
I had nothing.
Many years have elapsed since the torture of my adolescent years, but I never forgot the girl who had everything. I wouldn’t say it rankled, but even after marrying and becoming a step-mother of five, still I felt she was a ‘have’ while I was a ‘have not’. After all, she was fertile and I was not.
Quite by chance our paths crossed again and, to my shock, I learnt just how foolish and wrong my jealousy and envy had been.
All of my assumptions were unfounded. Far from having the perfect life, she didn’t.
Where I saw only beauty, she saw ugliness. So much ugliness that she went under the plastic surgeon’s scalpel to fix the face I thought was so perfect.
Where I had assumed the path of true love had run smoothly, nothing could’ve been further from the truth. It took years and much drama before they actually tied the knot.
Where I assumed conception had been easy and natural, she too struggled with infertility just like me. She finally had a family but the road wasn’t easy or straight.
Perhaps worst of all, she’s open about the depression, OCD and suicide attempts. ‘I hate myself’ she says simply.
Hearing her story has made me grateful for my life, my husband and my face. Nothing about them is perfect, but I’ve learnt that no one has the perfect family or relationship, face or body. I may think they do, but they can’t see it or feel it from within themselves.
Someone once told me, ‘Don’t envy anyone. You have no idea what they’re really going through’. Oh, how wise that is! But I had to learn it the hard way. It took a long time but the green-eyed monster has finally been slayed.
I should never have harboured him in the first place.