Monday, February 8, 2010

envy



I’ve never been an envious person. When I was younger, my parents would leave me at home when they went to the mall. They told me I had to earn trips like that. Truth is, they didn’t want me pointing at each shiny object we pass by. When I was a little older and the tantrum-tendency wasn’t so high, I was allowed to buy one thing from the toy store as long as it wasn’t too expensive and as long as I didn’t cry.

It was small things like that that made me who I am now. I understood that things are earned. Nothing is ever simply given to you. You have to work for it. Instead of money, I would pay my mother with test papers and report cards. Quid pro quo, as they say.

Since then, I can’t say I’ve ever been jealous of anyone. If I want something, I save up for it so I can buy it. If I can’t save up for it, I’ll give my mom a really good reason to buy it for me. Even when my mom moved up the corporate ladder and our family could afford more things, I never asked for much. She raised me to know that it means more when you work for things and if you can’t get it, perhaps it just wasn’t meant for you.

That’s why I find it a little funny when I see children throwing tantrums at the mall. We all know that kids have such a high capacity to create drama. This here’s one for the books. I saw a kid crying, rubbing a jar of Smucker’s Goober Grape as she put it back on the shelf. She was sobbing real hard and it was annoying and stuff but if you listened closely, you could tell she was saying goodbye to her beloved spread. From my little spot in the aisle, I went a little closer so I could hear what she was saying.

“Sorry ha,” she began, patting the poor jar of peanut butter and jelly which was now on its rightful place in the shelf. “Tinanong ko naman pero ayaw niya talaga eh.”

This kid was seriously deranged. I’m guessing she wanted her mom to buy her a jar but she said no. I wanted to give her a lesson the way my mom did but I didn’t want to interrupt her little drama session. I took a jar myself, strawberry not grape and I could literally feel her gaze burning my nape.

---

It’s little thoughts like this that come out of nowhere when I walk around Makati. A few days ago, I was walking near the park in Salcedo when my iPod conked out its last note. I took it as a cue that it was time to rest so I bought a bottle of water and settled on one of the park’s stone cold benches.

I was trying to clear my head when a big yellow ball hit me from behind. My assassin was a little boy, perhaps not older than four. I picked up the ball and with a smile, gently threw it back at him.

“Pasensiya na ha. Natamaan ka ba?” asked the boy’s father.

I assured him I was okay and after playing catch with the boy for a few more rounds, they sort of wandered off into a different corner in the park.

I couldn’t help but stare at the boy and his father. I’m guessing he was about five or six years older than me. How was he able to fit life’s puzzle pieces together so easily? I also saw the boy’s mother. She was dressed in what looked like a bank employee’s uniform but was more than ready to play with her two boys the moment she spotted them. They couldn’t have been that old. They were so young but there they were, in love, settled down and everything. I’m turning twenty-four in six months. This isn’t where I pictured myself to be when I was younger. For one thing, I was pretty sure I’d be married by now.

And suddenly, a strange feeling bubbled up from under me. I could feel my toes quivering with each shake. Envy crept from the grass to my toes until it took over my whole body. I stared at the boy and his father as they roughhoused around the park. Why can’t I be more like him? Won’t I make a good dad? I looked at the boy’s mom as she sat on a bench with a sandwich in hand. Why can’t I have their life? Why am I stuck living mine?

I wasn’t used to feeling like this. It almost felt alien to me- to covet my neighbor’s life. I took these feelings and bottled them up. I walked to my metaphorical grocery aisle and prepared to say my goodbyes.

“Sorry ha,” I began, patting the poor jar of envy and dreams which was now on its rightful place in the shelf. “Sinubukan ko naman pero ayaw talaga eh.”

I questioned the fairness of the world. I questioned the choices I’ve made and when I could not ask any more, my feet led me home- to the house I share with my parents, to the room I share with my sister and to the bed I share with no one.

I understand that things are earned. Nothing is ever given to you. Otherwise, it’s not meant to be yours. But what do you do when you want something so bad but you just know it’ll never happen? Don’t we all deserve to be happy?

Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk
Paperweight
Dear John: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

62 comments:

  1. why? what's wrong? i'm sorry.

    btw, what happened to ur twitter account?

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  2. for some weird reason, natawa ako ng husto sa little girl saying goodbye to the smucker's grape jelly!

    but i honestly believe everything has a reason. we may only see the tress, but if we'e lucky, we eventually see how beautiful the entire forest is ;)

    *hugs*

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  3. I don't want to do a Darc, but I almost.

    Grapes, this is so true.

    I also grew up not being given much. No wonder I, like you, became contended with the simple things. But there were times when I also wanted something more, and I knew I'd never get it.

    Sigh. Hay.

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  4. *Sigh* Yan lang kaya kong sabihin eh.

    Isa pa nga.

    Haist!

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  5. first, the world is not fair. second, hard work only goes so far: the hero in most folktales, does get a little help from the more mysterious aspects of his own being -- also something that is not fair.

    and finally, when i see children throwing tantrums in public, i look to the parents to see who the owner of the unlived life is. children, if not properly protected from the shadows of their parents, always live the unlived lives of their parents. tantrums included. the younger they are the closer the state of identity with their parents unconscious. it is the adolescent period where the most interesting variations of the parent's unlived life begin to percolate.

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  6. you struck a chord. minsan naitanong ko na rin yan habang pinagmamasdan ko ang kapatid ko kasama ang wife at kids niya. parang ang saya-saya nila kahit ang simple lang ng buhay nila. ako, kung anu-ano na ang mga pinaggagawa ko, parang hindi pa rin ako masaya. sana i could be like my brother pero hindi talaga pwede.

    pinaiyak mo ako. ibig sabihin, napaka-effective mong magsulat. nakakahugot ka ng emotional response from your readers. :)

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  7. i believe that at the end of the day, we will have our own fair share of life. as of now, its making us feel envious, giving us challenges and throwing us absence so that will work hard for it; so that eventually we'll realize its value once we achieved it.

    wala lang. just my two cents. ngarag din!

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  8. I still believe that everything happens for a reason.

    You might have pushed for your dreams to have a wife and a kid but in the long run, will that make you happy?

    Being able to dream is good, being able to realize the dream is better. Being able to face life despite lost dreams is the best. :D

    *hugs*

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  9. @ternie ~ that's a very beautiful metaphor. i've never been one to rush the forest. it's just the tree's getting kinda old. haha there i go, abusing your metaphor.

    @manech ~ and so we sigh for at least we know we were not silent. i'd like to think our disposition made us better people. i think it just taught us to suffer quietly.

    @jepoy ~ sabayan kita.. haist..

    @LOF ~ thank you for pointing that out. i guess this hero just needs a lucky break.

    as for kids throwing tantrums, i understand that some parents would want to give their children lives they never had. maybe they spoil them with material things or would never lift a hand for discipline. all this though makes generations and generations of brats and unfortunately we have to suffer through them in the cinema and other public dwellings.

    @aris ~ salamat. that's such a huge compliment. actually matagal ko na tong dinadraft. nahihirapan lang ako i-post kasi nahihiya ako. i was afraid no one would understand how i felt. buti nalang navalidate niyo.

    i honestly don't know what we can do with these feelings. sana nga lang tama si ternie and the forest just hasn't loomed sa ating vision.

    @erik ~ that's true but as of the moment i'm not sure i'm ever going to achieve it. it's not in my stars, i suppose.

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  10. @ruby ~ "Being able to dream is good, being able to realize the dream is better. Being able to face life despite lost dreams is the best. :D" this certainly puts things in perspective. the last thing i would want to do is destroy other people's lives to realize my dreams. perhaps the secret to a happy and unselfish life is to find someone with similar dreams and fulfill them together. idk mebbe. :D

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  11. it's the "wanting" part that hurts the most CB. it's the wanting that makes us see what we don't have. wanting more makes us feel incomplete.

    and that is sad.

    but the cure to this wantings is this one word called acceptance. :)

    yun nga lang, it's not easy to accept, it takes time.

    hay, life. lol.

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  12. Because contentment is ever elusive when our lives flow like senescent leaves on the wind, eternally searching and freefalling to find that end we all strive for - completion of a lifelong dream to become what our dreams speak of.

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  13. “Sorry ha,” she began, patting the poor jar of peanut butter and jelly which was now on its rightful place in the shelf. “Tinanong ko naman pero ayaw niya talaga eh.”

    This was almost funny, except I wanted to weep for her. Maybe because I don't like seeing sad children, even though I know some of life's lessons must be learned the hard way.

    Or perhaps it's just empathy, because you and I know how she must have felt. And we know there will be other, greater disappointments in store for her than a jar of PB &J unbought.

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  14. "But what do you do when you want something so bad but you just know it’ll never happen? Don’t we all deserve to be happy?"

    --To put it bluntly I think happiness is overrated, loneliness gives equal satisfaction to the soul. We just like being happy because it's lighter, but at the end of the day, our happiness and sadness will both weigh the same. That's why I don't envy others a lot. That's what I try to think of whenever I get the feeling of wanting something so bad but knowing it'll never happen. Because I know, for sure, that the moment I get it, the happiness is there, yes, but the loneliness will still also be there.

    I don't think anyone in the world ever sighed and said, OK I got what I wanted for so long, this is it.

    I think I veered too far away from your topic but that was just my mind running away with me.

    We deserve to be happy in the same way we also deserve to be lonely...

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  15. “Sorry ha,” I began, patting the poor jar of envy and dreams which was now on its rightful place in the shelf. “Sinubukan ko naman pero ayaw talaga eh.” - this line really struck my heart.

    i think at one point in our lives we've asked the same question of living other people's life. but, you just have to think that other people might also be wanting to live your life. :)

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  16. you'll always have a choice. people like us, we could always have a family if we want to. it doesn't necessarily mean that just because you're you, you can't have a family anymore. =)

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  17. you know the saying, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree...

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  18. I agree. We've got to pay for something given to us. Kaya napakamasarap ang isang bagay na pinaghirapan mo. Kaya ako I reqally don't envy others who are better off than me because I know that somewhere in the past they worked for it.

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  19. @max ~ yes, acceptance is the cure but there are moments (like this one) where you wonder... is that all there is for me? can't i want more? i suppose you can question my acceptance then. maybe i haven't done my time.

    @red ~ i guess there's always a part of us that yearns for things beyond our reach. man's destiny is not aimed for contentment. otherwise, we wouldn't strive for anything anymore.

    @rudeboy ~ that's the part of parenthood (although i'm not sure if i'll ever have little citybuoys) which i'm not really looking forward to. it has something to do with that LOF said. my unlived life will ultimately be projected unto my offspring. i just hope i can buy her pb&j whenever she needs it.

    @glen ~ those are very interesting points. good and evil are of equal moral weight.

    about veering from the topic, go on right ahead. i love it when people infer from original thoughts. it keeps the conversation rolling.

    @lee ~ i sure hope so. haha i think i'm pretty okay naman. siguro for variety, it would be fun to trade lives every now and then.

    @engel ~ true true. but just like what ruby said, i don't really want to end up hurting anyone just to fulfill my dreams of having my own family.

    @LOF ~ exactly. i guess i'll never admit to it but my family spoiled me a little too. not really with material things but wil love and other similar emotions.

    @glampinoy ~ welcome to my blog! :D we see eye to eye in that concept. i've always believed in the virtue of working hard for the things you want in life.

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  20. someone once said that we can have it all, but not all at once.

    -geek

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  21. ey, nyl. nice post. :)

    my worthless two cents? your life is what you make of it.

    you can be a good dad, if you want to. you can have the "happy family life" you saw on the playground if you want to.

    sometimes, it may not be the ideal that you have in your head, but it could be the next best thing.

    we all deserve to be happy. and this morning, i sorta realized that happiness to a certain extent is also a choice. if we choose to be happy, if we look hard around us, we would certainly find happiness even its smallest measurement.

    sometimes we feel that other people (or strangers) may have the "good life" but for all you know, they might be thinking, "that guy is so lucky." when they look at you. :)

    cheer up!

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  22. @geek ~ perhaps we should buy haveitall thanks to the megastar. wekwekweeeew...

    @angelo ~ yes, we choose to be happy and we invite whatever we recieve. thus, i claim happiness for 2010.

    oh and they're not worthless. your two cents are always welcome here. :D

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  23. nyl naman! na touch ako. haha.

    ako naman envy was like my drive. haha. if i can't have it, i'll make one. or i'll look for something totally new para sila naman maiingit saken. hahahahaha.

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  24. yes, go claim happiness for 2010 and the years to come!!! :)

    is that a smile i see??? :)

    great, great! :)

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  25. @mike ~ oo nga eh. yan yung super nagagalingan ako when i visit your blog. i wish i could be as resourceful and as fashyon as you. :D

    @angelo ~ yes it is. one of my first genuine ones this week. tinkyumamamiri..

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  26. Whoa, your blog has a new look: Valentines na Valentines. :))

    Wait, do you have the OST of Dear John? Is it good?

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  27. ngayong feb lang yan. hehe i'll change it back to blue pag-march na.

    yeah, i did. wait, here's a link. amanda seyfried has a nice song there called little house. :D

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  28. i read yur post and comments nasabi na nila to lahat. sakin lang, fair naman ang buhay natin, fair naman ang mundo, yun nga lang nasa thinking na kasi natin kung kaya ba nating makuha ang isang bagay. eh meron naman kasing hindi talaga puede sa atin pero that doesnt mean hindi na tayo magiging masaya.

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  29. where's victor? he is one guy around who could match a colorful yet neurotic (in a good way) narrative like this.

    your writing skill is admirable. =)

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  30. @cio ~ happiness is a choice, ika nga. you just have to accept that some things are not for you.

    @dabo ~ wala na siya. kinain ko na. bwahahahaha!!!

    salamat po sa pag-basa.

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  31. nature is nature -- neither fair nor unfair.

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  32. waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!

    unfair.

    galing!
    ramdam na ramdam ko...

    kung hindi para sayo ang gusto mo, sana naman yung para sayo...

    magustuhan mo.

    gulo ba?
    ewan!

    hehe.

    :P

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  33. @LOF ~ so true and to claim that it can be fair or unfair would be anthropomorphizing. haha sorry, new word. i have david sedaris to thank.

    @gege ~ i think it makes perfect sense. yeah, i guess the secret to happiness really is contentment.

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  34. i must add, as humans, which are a bit removed from nature, so life is unfair.

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  35. Dear Agua, This is a bit, uh, "nosebleed" but a friend told me this, and considering our struggles are quite along the same lines, I quote:

    "... Our bourgeois aspirations can pretty much explain everything, all the deluded concepts and things we, as kids growing up and supposed intelligentsia amassing more intellectual capital in the University, are told to accept as normal."

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  36. @LOF ~ perhaps it's in our nature to whine when we don't get what we want. lol

    @bendita ~ wait, i need to process that. (hemorrhage)

    di ko talaga gets. o-oo nalang ako so i don't look dumb. lol you got all the brains. i got the water-like powers. haha

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  37. @cb: you don't get it because its just angry Marxist pseudo-speak. Marx says that bourgeoisie can explain everything -- including the contradiction of capitalism -- and yet are powerless to do anything about it -- they are the all-knowing contradiction. lol.

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  38. i don't know about karl marx. i do know a famous queen once said that music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel. haha

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  39. i don't know about karl marx either. lol

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  40. i know about richard marx. lol

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  41. i don't know about richard marx. hahaha.

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  42. envy is nothing but a symptom that your heart is broken....

    i miss you baby boy....


    @ Glentot... hayup ka, kaya mo palang magseryoso sa comment bakit puro kahalayan ang iniiwan mong comment sa blog ko... hahahaha

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  43. @LOF ~ he'll be right there waiting for ya. lol

    @yj ~ that's another way to see it. haha i miss u too!

    @glen ~ yari ka!

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  44. which is why i don't know about him.

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  45. i know richard marx, i just don't know about him. i'm not being mean. lol

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  46. i'm amazed at how the comments are evolving. we went from envy to the bourgeois to karl marx to richard marx to our general attitudes towards richard marx. lol

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  47. all without the assistance of canadians...

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  48. I like that park. :)

    I like this post.

    Thank you for posting something like this.

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  49. @LOF ~ whudabout canadians? haha i think they're pretty cool. mwahaha

    @brent ~ thanks! that's such a nice thing to say. and i totally agree. that park's super nice.

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  50. okay. i'm not a monk. i don't want to excite my karma more than necessary to live my ordinary life. no great struggles with mara today. lol.

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  51. ooh. i sense something. haha or maybe my senses are more fine-tuned. it's tuesday and i'm still post-less. haha

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  52. We all deserve to be happy . Yun lang hindi lahat ng gusto natin makukuha natin.

    And in Dear John, mas naiyak pa ko sa sulat ni John sa tatay nya kesa lovelife nila ni Savanah.

    At isa sa mga bagay na hinarap ni Captain Nathan Algren sa The LSat Samurai, ang tatay nya.

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  53. actually. totoo yan. mas naluha ako dun sa dad parts. that seems to be the general consensus. siguro di ganun ka lakas impact nina john sa mga tao.

    as for happiness, very well said. we just have to find peace dun sa fact na we can't always get what we want.

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  54. nyl, salamat sa post na ito

    hope to see you around

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  55. This is the 1st time that I've read 1 of your posts. you write really well :) i'm just starting to read the previous ones & i'm enjoying it :)

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  56. hey trish! araw-araw kaya tayo magka-usap sa phone! i didn't know you blogged din. hehe

    thanks for the nice words. i like your page too! :D

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