Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jealous 2009

Perhaps it's because I'm a middle child, but I've always had a hard time with jealousy.  If something good happens to someone else, I always have to work very hard at being happy for them.  What my true, middle child, never-got-enough-love self wants to do is be angry and upset with the fact that those good things aren't happening to me.  I'm especially jealous when good things happen to other artists:  shows, sales, any kind of success no matter how large or how small.

Several years ago I had a very attractive young woman student in Gallup, New Mexico in one of my classes through the UNM branch there.  I didn't particularly like this student.  She seemed to need more love and attention then I really wanted to give her, especially considering how beautiful she was.  However, I successfully kept how I felt from her, and she continued taking classes with me.  Towards the end of her time in that area, she had a show at the Public Library in Gallup and ended up selling quite a few of her paintings.  When I went to see the show, and the librarian found out I was an artist, she informed me that not just anyone could have a show there, implying that my chances were slim.  I was, of course, very jealous.

My student applied and got into graduate school on the East Coast, and I wrote a nice letter of recommendation for her in spite of my jealousy.  On a trip to New York City, about a year later, I ran into this student quite by accident at the Museum of the American Indian in front of an exhibit of Zuni Kachinas.  She was ecstatic to see me, and I pretended the same, but inwardly felt disgruntled.  Why her of all people?

It wasn't too long after this, when I was back in Gallup teaching, that one of my colleagues told me that my student had been killed in an automobile accident in New Jersey.  I was devastated.  I cried for days.  I realized that her success with the Gallup library show had been important in a way that I couldn't have foreseen, that her short life had a much different trajectory then one that lasts for another 60 years, as hers should have.  And mostly I just felt terrible about my petty jealousy and dislike.

1 comment:

  1. Holly, That's quite a powerful story and admission... I think I may be jealous of your candidness. Laurie

    ReplyDelete