The Pickled Pigs Feet of Jealousy: How Love Never Walks In
My dad loved a pickled pig’s foot, somehow. He ate their innard-colored awfulness with the passion of a child jawing corn off the cob.
When I was a boy, wincing at the sight, the pig’s foot in my dad’s hand would launch some fun into my heart. Just for grins, as he approached mid-gnaw of the thing, I’d chime up and say — “Hey, daddy, you know those pigs, they don’t wear shoes. They don’t use commodes either.”
That bit of understatement is all it took. The thought of eating a pink pickled former manure wader would send him into recoil. He loved me, so he soon forgave me. I was a kid, after all, his kid. But he’d have to put the foot down for a spell. Let his appetite for it overwhelm what was all in his mind, after all.
His jealousy was all in his mind, too.
My dad’s self esteem was shattered by an upbringing in crunching poverty, so he accused my mom of so many infidelities, you’d think he’d married her out of the Playboy mansion. My mom was, instead, an utterly devoted wife faithful not only to him, but to herself, and to me. Another man held no allure. But she weathered accusations — and the omnipresent dread of them — from him for nearly all of their 55-year marriage. Yes, my dad had self-esteem troubles. But those should never have become her troubles to solve, nor mine. They’re no excuse. I forgive him, even now, and love him in my memory. But I hold him accountable. His insane jealousy filled our household with the unique insanity of a man wanting to live more in control of his wife than in love with her.
Truly rare and beautiful love doen’t live that way. Men who try compelling it to live that way, confusing the hells of jealosy with the heavens of love, keep their piggish feet in their mouths and the gentleness of their hearts in a jar. They’re not pigs, but hooves tend to fit them. It’s their doing.
I mean everything I say on this blog, but I say this with a stouter than usual force. I mean this in that holy music of your best friend’s voice sort of way. The voice you can trust to truth-tell your tail cheeks out of a sling.
Jealousy is not love. It is no expression of love. Never. It is, instead, a tragedy of human weakness, no matter the endearing little words it wears. And, no, its words never tiptoe in on Sandburg’s little cat feet.
I say this especially to you if you’re a woman of any age in a relationship with a jealous boyfriend or husband. His jealousy is a sign of his brokenness, not his affection. Don’t confuse it for love. It’s not. Don’t even mistake it for like. In his jealousy, he doesn’t even kinda, sorta dig you. He merely wants to possess you, govern you, hide you in the twisted little prison of himself because he fears you’ll see the world one day and then see him as unfit.
Make no mistakes, that’s how he sees himself — unfit for you.
And turns out, his jealousy is his self-destruction. It renders him unfit for you, or anyone he tries to love by control and possession. Jealousy causes women to leave men, and it should. The jealous need to repair themselves instead of governing another. Men, you know who you are. Build some genuine confidence and love and worth in yourself before trying to attach yourself to the worthiness of someone who will genuinely love you.
I speak from experience. This very blog is my evidence. Deny the truth of it at your own risk. My father abused my mother out of jealousy. It was his thin veil. The one he wore to mask the inadequacy that glared off the mirrors of his own mind.
If you think jealousy is endearing or quaint, if you believe it’s just his cute little peccadillo that’s bound to grow into authentic love, you’re wrong. He won’t outgrow it until he’s utterly compelled, held completely accountable. Staying with him will not compel him. Never. Here’s some proof.
Gentlemen — and at his core, my dear father was one — jealousy can get a haunting stranglehold on you, wrestle you further down, raise up a hell on earth into your life and the lives of those you try to love. It’s power to maim, kill, is sure, undeniable. Lonesomeness, violence, even prison are where your jealousy wants to take you after the ass whipping it gives you. And it will give you one.
If any of this sounds familiar, act on it. Don’t tolerate another phrase of jealousy, thinking it the free verse of a love poem. Real love grows only in trust, the liberty that allows people to live unfettered by physical and emotional chains. Break the chains. Break up with the jealous. Get safely away. Run for your best life. Run for real love.
And, yes, this applies to jealous men and jealous women. Jealously will not merely destroy your relationships. It threatens your peace, your very life, no matter your gender.
To any who disagree, I welcome you here. Share this around the world. Set off a big, global conversation. You’ll find me gentle, kind. You’ll also find me immovable on this topic. I wrap this message in velvet, but it’s made of the tempered steel of my times.
Men, women, if you’re even remotely insanely jealous, get professional help. Restore the sanity to your relationships and your life. If you fail, that loneliness I mention is very likely the sweetest taste of your future. And the worst is hard to imagine.
This is, after all, a love letter to the jealous: I deeply hope it helps pull the manure-waded pig’s foot of jealousy out of your mind, and your own foot out of your mouth. Let authentic love walk in. She is a rare beauty, this love. Kick that jealousy habit, and win her.
Peace, all. Peace out, and within.