That's what I told Aisling Weaver when she asked why my girlfriend and I haven't spoken in two weeks.
It's a long story I've spent the past two weeks trying not to tell anybody. Not even my mom. But, what the hell? I'm an overshare-er, especially when it comes to relationship drama. So here we go.
I'm not a traveller. At all. There's only one vacation I've ever wanted to take: a train trip across Canada. That's it. No tropical getaways or European holidays. A train ride across the country.
Three weeks ago, Sweet told me she was going on a trip...
"That's nice, honey. You've been working so hard lately. You deserve a vacation."
A trip across Canada...
A trip across Canada by train. Without me. She's taking my dream vacation without me.
I don't think I've ever been so... jealous?
But, see, ever since I started reading Tristan Taormino's book "Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships" (which I told you about a few weeks ago), I've had trouble identifying any of my emotions as jealousy. That's because:
Jealousy is really an umbrella term for a constellation of feelings including envy, competitiveness, insecurity, inadequacy, possessiveness, fear of abandonment, feeling unloved, and feeling left out. (Opening Up, pg 156)
I'm really angry about this situation. I'm hurt. A year ago, I would probably tell you I'm jealous, but I don't think I know what jealousy is anymore. Part of that is because I'm more compassionate than I have been at any point in my life, and I constantly seem to be evaluating other people's predicaments.
But I also see the pieces of jealousy more clearly. I feel envious--I've wanted to take that trip for as long as I can remember. I feel insecure--why are you going with someone else? I feel possessive--you should be taking that trip with me. I fear abandonment--I don't even know where you are right now. I feel unloved and left out most especially--why not me?
Maybe breaking jealousy into components just gives me more to cry about. But maybe it allows me to better articulate the pain I'm feeling.
Sweet didn't bother making excuses. I told her I felt like she was taking something of mine and giving it to someone else. She understood. But I didn't want to yell. I didn't want to act like the "vengeful harridan" an ex once accused me of being. The problem is... if you're angry but you don't want to yell, what's left?
It's not like she's having the time of her life. She isn't out to the person with whom she took this trip. My girlfriend is trans, but she's still in the closet with a lot of her family members and friends. So, I don't know exactly how long it takes to get from one end of this country to the other by train, but my girlfriend's spending that time dressed in the boy clothes she despises, and being acknowledged as a man, which she hates even more.
If I were truly "jealous" (whatever that means), I would probably be bathing in schadenfreude, knowing that she's as miserable as I am. Unfortunately, I love her too much to think that way. I want her to be happy, even when I'm not.
Before she left, she said, "To take this trip, I have to leave ME behind. I have to pretend I'm something I'm not. You're my anchor. YOU are the one who as always accepted me, no matter what I look like. You've helped me grow as ME, and I need you now more than ever."
She wanted my blessing and my support. She wanted to stay in touch while she was away.
I couldn't do it.
Maybe I'm not as compassionate as I'd like to be. A more compassionate girlfriend would say, "I'm hurting like hell right now, but I can put my feelings aside for your sake."
I couldn't do it.