Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Jealousy, and Facebook.

*Because you can almost never go wrong with a picture of Brokaw.

Why is it so much easier to write when I am hurting?
It just spills out of me.

I guess it’s just how I process things.

This is exactly why whenever anyone finds my old journals when I die, it’s going to seem like a lot of whining and complaining and it will seem like I was never happy.

The reality is, I am happy. Very happy. Most of the time. Sometimes, I cry, though. Sometimes, I want to give up. It’s not fair. It’s hard. I have to give so much, and my body hurts. I am tired.

And jealous.
Of everyone, it seems.

On Jealousy

I am, by nature, a very jealous person.
Dr. Phil would probably say this has something to do with the fact that I’m the middle child.
But, I’m complicated.
Because, I’m kind of the middle child, but I’m also kind of the oldest child.
My sister is my half sister, and she’s 9 years older than me, and she moved out when I was just 9 years old. So I spent 9 years being kind of the middle child, 5 years being the oldest. Then, when I was 14, my parents got divorced. I lived with my dad, and my brother lived with my mom.  So then, for 3 years, I was kind of an only child.  I was also kind of an adult at that time.  Then I was back to being the oldest for a year. Then I went to away college.

Actually, maybe Dr. Phil wouldn’t say anything at all. Maybe he would just stare at me with a blank look on his face, as to say, “I have no idea what to think of you.”

My point is, I am very jealous by nature.
Since I was born, I have always wanted everything everyone else has. I want to be first, I want to be the best, the favorite, the center of attention. I also want to blend in, to speak last, and for everything to be my idea.

I have to be very careful to keep my attitude in check. I have to spend quite time alone with God every morning in order to be nice, and to be able to just be genuinely happy for others, and not jealous of their success, their lives that seem so easy, their ultrasound pictures, their businesses, their homes and their cars, and the fact that their husbands can dress themselves, and drive.

For about three days, I haven’t done that.
And today, BAM.
Tears in the car on the way to work.
My back was hurting, really hurting.
And my body was begging me to just slow down, take a break.
I can’t though.  I have to keep going.
This is a busy time in our lives.
Good busy, though.
Not bad busy.
Nothing is wrong. We are busy because we are so blessed! 

So, then I feel guilty. I feel guilty for being short tempered, for being annoyed, for complaining. Because people out there have it far worse than we do. People are burying their son/husband/father to a 9 month old baby. 

If you can be a jealous complainer while simultaneously loving and caring for someone who can’t even move 75% of their body, you seriously deserve some sort of blue ribbon award for your ability to be jealous. Clearly, you have risen above challenges, and your jealousy is unstoppable.

That, is me.

I love/hate Facebook.
I love that it keeps me in touch with my family, my best friend who lives in Thailand, and the little girl I played Barbies with when I was 8 years old because our grandparents lived next door to each other.

But I hate how it makes me feel sometimes.
Scratch that. I hate how challenging it makes it for me to keep my own feelings in check.
Ultrasound pictures have to be the worst.
Now, if you have a picture of your ultrasound on Facebook, please know that I don’t hate you or your unborn baby. I am, in fact, VERY happy for you and your husband and that little peanut.

VERY happy.

But, I sigh when I see those pictures. And the pictures of growing bellies and nurseries and the videos of you cutting into a cake to see if it’s pink or blue, and pictures of your kid eating his first oatmeal, or sitting in those crazy looking Bumbo seats. Those are weird.

Because I want that.
Even though I KNOW right now is not the time.
I can barely take care of my husband and my two jobs and the blog that we write is growing like crazy, and that’s really where my heart is right now anyways.
And we live in an apartment. Where would we even put a baby and who would watch it while I work all day and commute to and from work?

And I’m fat right now. That just complicates things.

This is so frustrating to want something so badly, but to also know there is NOTHING I can do about it.  I obviously can’t make myself pregnant. I can’t strap a baby to myself , take care of my husband and drive and work and travel with a baby strapped to me. Duh.

But I can do something.
I can be very happy for you.
And I can simultaneously take a step back.
Seek God.
Rest in His peace, that’s always there – even when I’m not walking in it.
I can be in awe of everything that we do have.
A strong marriage.
An apartment that is in a safe part of town.
An SUV that’s in working order.
Healthy pets.
Health, in general.
A job that I absolutely love that I get to do with people who love the Lord and love me.
An opportunity to do some extra work and bring in some extra income, while building a great skillset and making great contacts that could really help me out in the future.
A blog that has become a resting place for so many other people in our situation who just need to know so badly, that they aren’t alone.
Fresh fruits and vegetables.
My sight and hearing.
My relative youth.
The fact that we are going to Virginia Beach this weekend, and that I will get to see my husband do something he never would have even thought about doing, and definitely something that never would have crossed my mind – SURF.
The fact that Sunday, we will see Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw in concert, thanks to a great Living Social deal.
Clean water.
The fact that my sister is my best friend in the world.
And the fact that we are about to be blessed with a van from some dear friends who are so young, yet so mature beyond their years, and I’m blessed to even be associated with them.
And Jesus.
Without whom, I’d be stuck being a miserable, fat pile of bitter jealousy.
Jesus changes everything.
Thank God. 
And the fact that I don’t HAVE to be on Facebook to exist and I can turn it off for a few days.

Michael just e-mailed me this, as I was writing. I am not even kidding you. Amen:

May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:1-5, 7 NIV)


Breanna Anderson said...

Dana....I too struggle with jealousy every day, and just like you, Facebook seems to just feed that demon! For years we struggled with infertility and it seemed everytime I logged into Facebook there was another ultrasound picture, or another pregnancy anouncement. As broken as I was and as miserable as I found myself in the middle of my jealous, the Lord used that time in my life to teach me so many lessons. I found peace in Jeremiah 29:11. But one day, after an extremely dissapointing trip to the fertility specialist, I was broken. When I got in my car after the appointment, I was even out of words for my prayers. I wanted so bad to call out to the Lord, but all I could muster was "Jesus...Jesus...Jesus". He promises that He hears the groaning of our hearts, and He didn't dissapoint that day!! As soon as I turned the key in my car this song came on. I realized, with the help of the Lord (and Casting Crowns) that no matter how much everyone else has, or how little (I think) I have, His love is ALWAYS ENOUGH!! If I'm never blessed with another thing, I'm blessed far beyond what I deserve. Keep your head up Dana, and as I pray for the strength to fight my jealousy, I'll pray the Lord gives you the same!! Thank you for being so open and willing to share your heart with all of us!

Unknown said...

This is something that has really hit me...I call moments like this in my life "Slapped by God" you know when something just smacks you so hard in the face & pulls you out of your "woe is me" For one, I am happy to now know that I am not the only person who gets that twisting feeling in her stomach when I see the ultrasound picture, engagement ring picture, the new home, the wedding photo, etc...all the pictures that says others are moving forward & I'm still where I was. But when I really take a closer examination of my life... I'm no where close to where I was. The Ritter family has always been so dear to me & I still get Mt hug from Mr. Harry every Sunday! That family has been through so much hardships and never once let Satan have a foothold. They are a reminder to me that I can still get up every day, no matter how bad I may feel, no matter how much I hurt, I can get out of the bed, praise God & I'm learning that all the trails...are some day going to be used for His glory. Thank you for this blog post. I will continue to pray for you guys.

Mariesa said...

Dana - We are all jealous of something/someone, and Facebook doesn't help with that - but it does help with other things, like you mentioned. Honestly, I am entirely jealous of your blog - specifically your ability to put your feelings and thoughts and struggles and triumphs out there for the world to see. I know I can write, as you can, I just don't have the courage to put it all out there like you do, and I *wish* I could muster up that confidence and just be myself. Those are the things I struggle with. But I know, as you do, that God is The Planner, and when it's time for me to open up, it will be the perfect time, just as when those ultrasound pictures are yours, it will be because He said the timing was right. I know that doesn't help, but just keep the faith. As I've told you before, the saying around our house is "You don't always have to like The Plan, but you have to trust The Planner."

DebbieFoster said...

Dana - you are amazing. I struggle with jealousy too...but you just put it out there. I try to pretend it does not exist. In fact, I have backspaced right over the above several times because if it is in writing, it must be true. You are such a great example, and your words touch so many people. In all things, give thanks. Those are tough words to swallow. I am so thankful our paths have crossed. You are truly amazing. AH - MAY - ZING.

Cheri said...

I think we all struggle with those feelings every now and then and the key is to not beat yourself up about them. My thing was God, why did this happen to a true man of God and where were you? But the truth is we couldn't have got through any of this if it wasn't for Him. I even get jealous of the people who have been blessed evough to use their arms or breath on their own. Do they know how blessed they are??? So we have to cut ourselves some slack and pick up our boot straps after our pity party and take it one day at a time. Much love, Cheri

Tricia T. said...

Thank you for your transparency Dana. I think we all struggle w/ jealousy in some area. And I think as women, we struggle with it even more. And I can tell you that once you become a mom, it doesn't end there. There is always going to be someone that has it better than you or there will always be someone who has something that you long for. I actually think being a parent complicates the jealousy struggle. You begin to be jealous for things you wish your kids could have or things you wish you could afford to do for your kids. Facebook can be Satan's tool to feed the jealous feelings. You are very wise to step back and take a break to get things in check.
Just keep doing what you are all are doing! It is fun to watch the Lord bless you and Michael for being obedient to His calling.

Anonymous said...

Everyone puts forward their "best selves" on Facebook. FB photos are not what real life is like. For every smiling happy baby photo, there are cries and messy diapers and nights without sleep--but no one takes a photo of that! Just repeat, "Facebook is not real life." Everyone isn't always at the beach drinking cocktails, or eating perfectly executed homemade organic meals in their expertly DIY decorated homes. That's just what we want everyone else to think. :) No one has it all together. We just want to make it look that way .

Anonymous said...

Dear Beautiful & Strong Dana,
Guess what??? Some days I am jealous of you and your life. It does not stop there for me. I am jealous of those with the nice fancy cars, and big new homes. I am jealous of the fact that I am almost the only person I know who does not have one of those big bath tubs to sink into at night and relax. I am jealous that even if I had the bath tub, my children would never allow me to take a bath long enough to relax. I even find myself jealous of others relationship with Jesus, because it seems they are so in sync with him all of the time.
This is such a normal emotion, and you do carry a lot of responsibility daily. Sometimes I am jealous of how strong you are to do all that you do. We must remember that God has made us exactly who he intended us to be, and he never makes mistakes. You are so talented and gifted, and these are blessing from God that were created as a gift just for you.
I am so thankful that God touches you and gifts you with the ability to share your weak moments, because it helps all of us to keep it real. There are so many days I want to fall down and give you, and I must tell you that you give me strength, just by writing the things you do. Never give up, never lose hope, and never lose faith. I am blessed to have called you my childhood friend.
Loving you both from miles away and years apart!!!!
Amy Cochran Marple

Kristen said...

Alright, I'm obviously late to this party, but girl....YOU SO KNEW I'D COMMENT ON THIS ONE. (Hehe!!) And if we were having coffee at your dining room table I'd reach over, grab your hand and say this...I AM WITH YA, my friend. And good for you for knowing your limits and stepping away to let God put things back in perspective. Because you're right...He always does...I love Him for that.
I was chatting with my sister the other day (who, ironically, JUST HAD A BABY, but understands how it can be hard for me) and I mentioned how fb has made life a little unnatural, actually. Don't get me wrong...love me some facebook. But in dealing with a loss or other disappointment, we're now bombarded by 10 people we would have lost contact with before...who have the exact thing we want, AND ARE TALKING ABOUT IT FIVE TIMES EVERY DAY. It's a little nuts! No wonder we start to feel coo coo and overwhelmed.
It's sooooo good to ackowledge when the scale is tipping the wrong way, and then do something about it. Seems like you and Mike are really good at that (like getting the hotel room last weekend). I hope you always listen to those triggers...so many others just keep trucking on and are then blind-sided by major BURN OUT.
So. I love you (even tho we've never met, is that weird?! Oh well.)
I understand.
And I'm rootin for ya!

Anonymous said...

Dana, thank you for sharing your heart. Jealousy is something each one of us struggles with, no matter what our station in life. The Apostle Paul writes that "godliness with contentment is great gain" (I Tim. 6:6) but that does not come easy. Only with the Lord's help can we truly be content and thankful. Listing the things we are thankful for is so helpful because it allows us to see how richly the Lord has blessed us. Even if it seems we have nothing to be thankful for, we can always be thankful for our Saviour and what He accomplished for us on Calvary.

Praying for you!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Breanna, you have to be one of my favorite blessings that has come from this blog! I just know that God brought us together as friends online for a reason, and for this time. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I'm over-the-moon thrilled for you about this miracle baby! I pray for you and Greg everyday as you go through this deployment. You are so right that His love is ALWAYS ENOUGH. Love that. Thanks for sharing it with me! You are a sweetheart.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Mariesa, I feel like somewhere, deep down, we share part of our spirit! We are a lot alike! I know you have the courage to put it all out there, if you really want to. I encourage you to do it. It is a blessing to truly be known. You are 100 times the writer I am, pair that with unveiled authenticity, there's no stopping you!!!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hi Nicole! Thank you so much for sharing!! The Ritter family has been through a lot of tragedies, it's kind of scary! Next time you hug Harry, please squeeze him one extra time and tell him that one is from me. He is such a great man of God who loves his family so much! I really look up to him! Thank you for your prayers! Trust that God is working in you, even when you don't see it on the outside.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hi Debbie! I'm glad you didn't backspace over it again. Thank you for sharing!! I am like that, too. I always think, if I don't see it, or write it, or publish it - it's not real! There is still so much in my life that I am not willing/ready to see. But, I learned such an important lesson when I let one of my "backspace" moments just be published. It was when Michael asked me "if I ever wondered" if we could be an us. It was in like 2006. I typed "yes," then I backspaced. Then I typed "yes," again, and backspaced again. Then, I typed it once more, and hit enter.

Best enter button I've ever hit with my right pinky! :)

To God be the glory. He is writing amazing stories of courage and faithfulness in all of us. I sure hope I can meet you in person one day!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Oh Cheri, I have asked God that same question! How could you allow something this hard to happen to my husband - when he was just a boy. Michael was on a MISSIONS trip when he broke his neck! I mean, really God! But, I think it was good to wrestle with God and ask Him the tough questions. I never did get an out-and-out answer, as I cried on my closet floor asking him WHY???? one day. But now, about two years after my meltdown with God. I think we are living the why. He is using us to reach so many people. I know He is using you and Dennis, too. Knowing there is some good in it sure does make the hard days more bearable. Much love you and Dennis today, Cheri!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hi Tricia!! So nice to hear from you. I think you are spot-on that jealousy is definitely a tougher battle for us women. I can only imagine how it just grows with motherhood. Thanks for constantly cheering Michael and me on. We treasure people who are in our corner, like you and Scott. So thankful for you!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

"Facebook is not real life."
Maybe when I do have a baby, I will be the one to take pics of messy diapers and screaming and pictures of myself with dark circles under my eyes. Haha. Just to make a "real" contribution out there! :)

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Amy, YOU are the one I was referring to when I said "the little girl I played Barbies with when I was 8 years old because our grandparents lived next door to each other." Did you pick up on that??

PLEASE don't be jealous of me!! I promise I do NOT have it all together!! AT ALL. Sure, some days are better than other days, but the second something doesn't go according to plan, I'm a MESS.

As for being in sync with Jesus - as long as you know Him, you ARE in sync with Him. Because he says he'll never leave us or forsake us! I am still learning this. I just have to remember He is always there, I just have to call on Him! Same for you. Reading the Word definitely helps you to remember to call out to Him.

I have SUCH great memories of playing with you when we were kids - Barbies, and cheerleading skirts and singing Mariah Carey songs in your grandmother's hallway!!

I'd really LOVE to see you again at some point! Thank you so much for always being such an encouragement to me. YOU represent all that is good about Facebook, and it's so neat to be able to reconnect with you. I wish you all the happiness in the world!!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Kristen, Oh yeah.. THIS IS YOUR JAM right here!! :) You are so right that Facebook has made life a little unnatural. I'm thinking it's going to add a whole other class for any future psychology majors! :) Now we all have to learn to deal with these emotions that are brought up because of social media!

I love you too!!!!! Seriously. Love you like a sister.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Kate, hi! Thank you SO MUCH for reading, and taking the time to send this comment. I love the verse, "godliness with contentment is great gain." I'm going to meditate on that today! You're right that it doesn't come easy. But most things that are great and eternal do not come without some pain, right? You are so sweet. Thank you for your prayers!!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blogs!! Being Jealous is knowing you are Living =) I tell myself at times don't look at what you don't have look at what you do have. Guess basically you can't have it all even if you think you can ;) You can have fun trying to have it all while enjoying what you do have!

Shavonne said...

Wow, you hit home! I'm the 25yr old version of you, nice to meet you! God is great because I surely thought I was completely alone! When I say I know exactly how you feel, know that I mean that with all my heart! I'm thankful I found this blog, I'm new to this life, on the 26th I'll have been married a year and I've been to hell and heaven in such a short time with no one to talk to that truly know what I'm going through.. I even have back pain too, I have 2 herniated discs

Shavonne said...

And a roared hip from when I was in the Navy. God always has a plan, Im so greatful for him leading me to you and your blog! I feel so connected to you!

Shavonne said...

Lol, that's a *rotated hip, sorry.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

"Being Jealous is knowing you are Living" <---- that right there is pure genius! Great advice to look at what you have instead of what you don't have. Thank you for sharing!

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Hi Shavonne! It's so nice to "meet" you!!! I used to feel 100% alone too! I never would have imagined that putting myself out there would lead me to never feeling alone again! We have a great community here of wives and girlfriends who are caregivers, so jump right in, KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE, and please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you! My email address is: danabrownritter@gmail.com.

Dana Brown Ritter said...

Back pain is NO fun. :( I'm glad we are connected now! :)

gentrier said...

Hey Lady,
Jealousy is a double edged sword, isn't it? It sucks to have it invade your brain through the day bc it affects ur mood, your actions w urself, ur hubs, and can make u minimalize ur own self worth. Yuck!!!!' BUT, the flipside is that for OCD, Type A's like you and me:) it is a source of inspiration to do better and be better. (for the record I'm in therapy right now and I guess if I had to sum up why...it wld be due to jealousy and it's effects-sadness, madness, hurt, burn out, exhaustion, pity parties...ya get the point). That said, jealousy can be used to fuel us on to achieve more. THAT, though, is the cunundrum. Is MORE better? No. It's just American, for practical purposes, next time it sneaks in, try this; just notice it, observe it, acknowledge it, and don't judge it. And if u find yourself dwelling on it, don't beat urself up, but DO say, "self, it's ok if u want to feel this way, but let's do it between 5:00-5:20. Until then, we r moving on to other things." Then, use that allotted time only...to wallow in it:) it works for worry, too;)