A couple of years ago, one of my very best friends visited me from California. When I lived there, we were together several times a week, and I genuinely enjoyed her company since she was sensitive, easy going, had had many shared interests including herbology and health, esoteric interests, and even liked the same kind of music. She came to visit me after the birth of my daughter and then again shortly after my son was born. Granted, although she was the president of a chapter of a health related non-profit organization in Los Angeles and was enjoying the chance to work in a field that she believed in and meeting her gurus, she was unhappy at a deep level with her romantic relationships, and she began experiencing mental health issues which impacted her functioning at all levels.
The final time that she came to visit me, she was noticeably distressed.. “We’re so much alike!” She said to me. “We’re exactly the same! You just got lucky, and that’s why you live in this big apartment, and have these two kids.” At this moment I realized that the ugly green eyed monster of jealousy had reared its head in my relationship with my friend. I became very upset with her, and I actually yelled at her, which had not happened even once in our friendship of over 7 years. “We’re nothing alike!”I said to her, thinking about how she had gotten her tribal nation to pay for so much of her educational costs, and how she had bounced around from school to school and never completed any of her course work, and how she had been engaging in an affair with a married heroine injecting rock star who, although he was hot, talented, a successful musician, was unavailable to her for ten plus years. Although I understood that part of her lashing out at me had to do with her own insecurities and that it had nothing to do with me, this outburst, combined with the fact that she was in such a dark mood that it became uncomfortable having her over at my house, caused me to pull back from the relationship. I simply did not want to surround myself with that kind of energy at that point in my life. Although I still care for my friend and have gotten together with her subsequently to that argument, I felt that I needed to give her time to work out her own issues.
Luckily, before moving to NYC I had never been the target of female on female jealousy, however, I had seen it happen with other women, and it was absolutely vicious. When I was in high school, one of my friends was extremely envious of the head soprano in the high school choir. She was pretty, charismatic, constantly the center of attention, and drove a cute car. This friend of mine, who will go nameless, but who struggled with weight issues, dating, and although she definitely had close friends, probably wished at some deep level that she could be the center of attention, continuously mocked her singing voice outside of her presence, badmouthed her, and managed to get a couple of friends to go along with her in her trash talking of the other girl. Although it was not nearly as malicious as the type of hate that was perpetrated against me by people who I had never met before, it was bad. When people feel insecure about themselves at a deep level, they like to make themselves feel better by cutting other people down in any way that they can, even if it means creating lies about the other person that they end up believing themselves.
I met Alex Cornfeld when I was 26 years old at a new years eve party, and became a first time mom at 28. Although this is a reasonably mature age to have a baby, my entire life I have been cursed with the gift of looking much younger than my age. I had complained to a friend of mine’s partner who was in his 50s that kids in Park Slope had no respect for adults, and he remarked to me that although I was in my early 30s, that I looked barely older than a kid myself. I would’t be surprised if Kate Ambrose, who is childless, chubby, and lives at home with her parents, didn’t experience some sort of intense jealousy when she came into contact with me. At the time that the harassment occurred, which was in September right after the beginning of the school year, I had never even spoken to her, other than to say a brief hello when I dropped my daughter off t school in the morning.
I also find that in general, 90% of women distrust other women who they perceive to be different from themselves. If you don’t play the game, if you do your own thing, if you are threatening in any way to the traditional concepts of femininity, other women (and some men as well) tend to attack you. As much as people like to talk a big game about women’s rights and equality, when it comes down to it, society as a whole wants a woman who plays by the rules, pretties herself up in the socially acceptable ways, and lets the man take charge in all matters, even if he is a compulsive drinker and a drug-addict who does not always exhibit good judgement.