Essay contest: Who are you jealous of?
A girl from a rich family
1st place $50
By Susan Cifuentes, Hollywood HS
If I said I have never felt jealous of anyone, I would be lying. There have been times when I felt a tiny hint of jealousy toward some girl’s luscious hair or someone’s new computer, but the time I really felt envious was when I was about 10. Ever since I can remember, going to college has been my biggest goal. Going to college was a sure way to secure my future to be a successful person in life. But I knew I had to study hard and get good grades.
I come from a low-income family and every day is another day of hard work. My mom cleans houses for a living and whenever I can, I go help her. She cleans these grand houses, the ones that are on the edge of the beach. The first time I entered, I was blown away by everything. That house screamed money! From that moment, I vowed I was going to do everything I could to live a comfortable life. And then, I met Olivia.
She is a couple years younger than me but at the start I knew she was a very active person. She was up in her room playing with her American Girl doll. I knocked timidly, telling her that my mom sent me up to tell her we were going to clean her room. She answered with a smile and told me that she would go to the game room to not bother us. When she left, I looked around her room and was astounded yet again. I probably looked like those dummies with my mouth wide open. The only thing I could see was bright pink and brown walls. There was only one bed with its own canopy. There was a huge closet and toys all over the room. It looked nothing like my room, which I had to share with my sister and there was barely any room for anything. When I finished gawking at her room, I went to find my mother. The girl popped up and asked me if I cared to join her tea party. She actually said those exact words. I stammered that I would have to ask my mother. I didn’t know why but she made me feel intimidated. I ended up playing with her.
I learned a lot about Olivia. I learned that she was in the third grade. She had a lot of toys and really liked dogs. She had a younger brother who was at the park. But the thing that stuck was that she was taking some classes. She took ballet, art, singing and flute. She had a lot of after-school activities, so she was a very busy girl. Her life was so different than mine. I mean, while I was doing homework and baby-sitting my younger sister, she was learning how to dance. She had so many opportunities.
Right then, I knew I was jealous. Not of her personally, but of what she had. She had everything any person could want and more. But it was deeper than that. For me, trying to get into a four-year university was my goal and a full-time job. Anything lower than that would be a failure so I always have to be focused and determined. For her it seemed more of a requirement and didn’t need a lot of effort. While I was struggling to understand math by myself, she could hire a private tutor to help her. Her world contained so many opportunities. What I really was jealous of was that some people have it easy compared to others.
Now, whenever I’m thinking of that house on the shore of Malibu, I remember my goals and try to never stray off the path I’m making. Every grade and every extracurricular activity I do is a step closer to college and hopefully one day I too will have my dream house.
A gay teen’s supportive parents
2nd place $30
Author’s name withheld
Back in 2009, I came out to my family. My parents ignored me, treated me differently and were disappointed in me. Like most Hispanic parents, they don’t accept their child when they come out to them. The feeling of abandonment, neglect and hate is unbearable. I still hear the disgust in their voices and see the hate in their eyes.
In 2010 my parents kicked me out and none of my aunts, uncles—no one—tried to help me. To them my parents were doing the right thing. I spent three nights with my friend Jose. Jose is gay and his parents accepted him with open arms. They threw him a “Coming Out” party. I was the one in charge of keeping Jose out of the house until they were ready. I was jealous of him because he has loving parents. His family accepted him and let me stay with them until my parents came looking for me. Nothing would make me happier than to have loving parents, a safe home and especially understanding parents. I wish I had a life like his. I know my family will eventually come to accept me for who I am but who knows if I’ll still be here.
A girl who went to lots of parties
3rd place $20
By Daisy Avena, Paramount HS
As teenagers we feel like everything our parents do is to try to make us miserable or not let us have any fun. In reality, they are just trying to protect us. That’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way.
As a freshman I would see a lot of my friends go out, party and do many things my mom didn’t let me do. That made me jealous. I had a friend named Courtney* who would go to a party every weekend. She drank and smoked and would come to school on Monday and tell me all about it. She would tell me about all the boys who wanted her, and I would just sit there and listen. She would invite me to go out with her but I knew I couldn’t go; my mom was way too strict. I was jealous that her parents didn’t care where she was, what time she got home or even if she went home at all.
One day it all changed. She came to class upset and I asked her what was wrong and she wouldn’t tell me. Courtney started being absent a lot and stopped coming to school for a long period of time. Finally, one day she came back and with her was a baby bump. Courtney was pregnant. I was in shock. I never would have imagined this happening.
When I told my mom, she said, “I told you she was up to no good.” I felt so relieved that my mom was caring and worried about me. She wasn’t strict because she didn’t want me to have fun, but because she wanted the best for me. I learned that being jealous of my friend’s freedom was dumb because that could have been me who ended up pregnant.
* The friend’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.
People who have siblings
Author’s name withheld
In my family, it’s just my dad, my mom and me. Yup! I’m the only child. It’s very tough to be the only child, having all the attention and focus on you. A lot of people think that being the only child makes me get whatever I want. I always reply to them with a straight-to-the-point, “No.” I had to work for the things I wanted, I had to maintain my grades and behave well. Sometimes I wished there were other people my parents would pay attention to, not only me, so at least some pressure was taken off.
Once in a while, my friends complain about how their siblings annoy them so much. They tell stories of their brother or sister bossing them around the house, teasing them, and telling on them to their parents. Even though their stories seem like something I too would get very mad at, secretly I wish I had what they did. I am indeed quite jealous.
I’ve always wanted a brother or a sister, ideally an older one. I always mention to my friends that I want one and they reply with an “OMG! No don’t say that! You’ll regret it” or “You want mine?” They say that I’m lucky to be the only child, but I’m pretty sure that if they were in my position they would want the same thing. They don’t know how it feels to be the “only” one. It does get pretty lonely you see. You don’t really have anyone to talk to at home and you worry about who’s going to be there with you once your parents are gone.
My friend from freshman year had a terrible accident during PE when we were playing Frisbee one time. A guy from the opposing team crashed into her and her forehead started bleeding a whole lot. They eventually called her brother out of class to wait and take care of her until their mom arrived. I thought it was so cute that he tried to calm her down; it was such a heartfelt moment. The connection they had was what I would call … priceless. I was very jealous knowing that I would never have such a relationship with someone I can call my “brother.”
There was also a time when my friend told me that she spent the weekend with her sister. They went shopping and all that good girly stuff. I always imagined that if I did have an older sister, I would tell her everything and we would have a ton of fun! She would be the person I trusted the most, the one that I’d ask for help when I need it.
I overcome my jealousy by surrounding myself with great friends who I can treat as my long lost siblings. I hope they’ll always be there with me through everything because I know I need them.