Sunday, April 19, 2009

Get your own damn chocolate

I am a spiteful, vengeful, bitter person. I'm tired of rejoicing in others' good fortune. Even though I have friends who call me when I'm blue, or expend 80,000 frequent flyer miles to wing me halfway around the world. Even though I have a good job that I'm good at and my family loves me. I never see the glass as half full, only 90% empty.

Dov's younger sister and her boyfriend of about 7 weeks spent Shabbat with Dov, Tovah, and me. By the time they left Saturday night, they were engaged. She is 13 years younger than I am. Granted, that makes her close to an old maid in her very religious circles, but it kills me when younger and much-younger women get engaged and I don't.

Another one of these women teetering on the verge of an engagement is Shimona. Who has been nothing but supportive and helpful to me. And who saw her younger siblings, one by one, walk to the chuppah. She's not even that much younger than I am, but she is younger. I want to be unreservedly happy for her, the way I was with Bina. But I can't.

Knowing nothing of my resentment, Shimona messaged me on Facebook:

I don't know if you can do this, but can you buy me a box of Cadbury Roses? It's chocolate, obviously. It comes in a purple/blue box, if I remember correctly. I'll pay you back, of course. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cadburys but seldom get any, since I don't live in the UK.

I know I have a far too transactional view of mitzvot. I shouldn't expect to "get" anything if I do something nice for someone. The last major mitzvah I did left me with a major cold, babysitting the frightened baby. Being a great friend and support to numerous engaged friends before and during their weddings did not put a ring on my finger. But I irrationally resented Shimona for asking me to do this. She has everything I want -- why should I go out of my way for her? All that and chocolate too?

I got really mad when I read her next status update:

Shimona now has another reason to live...Cadbury's straight from London! Yay! :)

Shimona's not the one who needs to find reasons to live. Ayelet is. I'm coming up on the eighth anniversary of my suicide attempt, and sometimes I wonder whether I'm happy I was saved. Some of that bitterness leaked out into a comment I left on her update:

Give me a break. You need reasons to live right now?

She took it in stride.

It was an expression of excitement b/c I love the chocolate so much...not to be taken so literally... :)

Well, right now I'm living those words. Even after a nice vacation, I go home to an empty apartment. My birthday's coming up, and every year it's a huge disappointment. I'll be alone on my birthday again this year, no closer to being settled and having a real future.

I know dwelling on this isn't healthy. And I know life isn't fair. Over the holiday, one of Dov and Tovah's neighbors, a father of eight, died days before his son's bar mitzvah. That is a tragedy. My life is just a colossal disappointment.

I don't begrudge Dov and Tovah their happiness, because they deserve it. They are exemplary parents and community members. They are always trying to help other people, and I think it's their strong love for each other and consistent work on their relationship that enables them to do that.

I honestly thought that after this vacation, I was going to try to be more grateful for what I have rather than obsessing about what I don't. I don't know why that's so hard for me to accomplish.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. I was so glad to read you had a good vacation; hope this posting just represents a passing mood. Having a cold can't help! Let's talk about what we're doing for your b-day this year.

  2. Yeah, I hope it's a passing mood too. For my birthday: ugh. Maybe a mani-pedi-Botox party?

  3. Don't tar yourself with "spiteful, vengeful, bitter person." It's natural to compare yourself with lacking something when someone else seems to have so much more. But be evenhanded with yourself. You've often contributed to increase others' joy. Try to reflect on the good fortune you had on this vacation. Try to create some other rewards for yourself. Make plans for a good time even for a small occasion. Small bits of happiness will beget larger ones.

  4. Sorry to hear you're in a bad mood. I think Riva is right, it might just be because of the cold. I hope it's a passing mood.
    Thinking of you,