Envy

She taught me to envy,

– or, rather, I learned to envy because of her –

and I still remember how to do it.

Seeing her tonight,

talking with her, missing being around her and being close friends with her

from more than a decade ago,

was both wonderfully amazing and delightful

and an intense reminder of how envy feels.

Her life is not for me, I know

– otherwise I would have been born into her life in the first place.

But it certainly has me question what I could be doing differently in my life, better,

if I so longingly envy her hers.

In other words, what is missing in my life, that I still desire, wish for, hers?

Post-a-day 2019

Advertisements

Character envy

I am enthralled by books of my childhood right now, and, while I love my life, I feel as though I have an almost addiction to them because of my total envy of the characters’ lives, thus making it seem as though my own life does not meet my own standards…. which makes me envy them all the more.

Post-a-day 2018

When we are down

‘Why couldn’t you just let me be happy?’  I believe that is the question she asks her friend Betty, who has recently been incredibly harsh, before walking off, leaving Betty sitting speechless and alone on the steps (“Mona Lisa Smile”).  At the time, Betty was in a marriage she had just begun – with incredibly high hopes and expectations – , but that was falling to extreme pieces.  Her husband clearly did not love her, and was rather uninterested in her in general, but she didn’t know what to do.  All she could do was continue her school work, and unintentionally let out her suppressed panic in the form of nastiness toward her friends.

As I thought more and more tonight about this little scenario that is within the film “Mona Lisa Smile”, I began to relate it directly to my own life.  Betty couldn’t let her friend Connie be happy, because Betty was so miserable.  How could she help herself against being bitter and angry that Connie’s love life was blooming, when her own – one she had until very recently believed to be perfect – was falling apart?  It made perfect sense to me.  And so I wondered where I have done that in my own life (or at least wanted to do it).

Talking with a friend the other night, she was sharing how much she had loved her Japan job.  It made me want to be angry, because I was miserable in my job in Japan.  What does one have to do with the other?! I found myself asking… myself.  So what if she enjoyed her job?  That’s a wonderful thing!  And yet the desire persisted every so gently, to the point where I still have to let it go over and over again (though it is much easier than it was at first).  This is the same as Betty Warren’s problem, really.  I was unhappy, so it was almost wrong of someone else to be happy in that comparable situation.  (I’m not saying this as fact, of course, but as the feeling behind it all for myself.)

When I have been making not-very-much money in recent years, I grow annoyed at the former classmates who are buying their wonderful, large houses.  Not having a significant other (or anything similar, beyond a (married) best friend across the ocean), I sometimes feel sick when I see yet another engagement announced on Facebook by people in my age group.  And the list goes on for all sorts of things… wonderful pets, trips to beautiful or cool places, exercise…

While my initial responses were similar to pure anger and jealousy (as if their getting a house or getting married has any deprivation effects on my life), upon seeing or hearing about the various happy events in other people’s lives, they have developed to a calmed state of slight discomfort and longing instead.  (It just felt wrong to be angry at such things, so I made a genuine effort to look at what was behind it all for me, and to manage a healthy response for myself, as well as for the people who are celebrating – I don’t want to be sending them angry vibes, ya know?)  😛  But that changes nothing from the Betty Warren within me – it still takes an effort to allow others to be happy in a situation in which I am not happy.  Granted, my responses are much improved and I do not shed bitterness and nasty comments the way she did.  However, the discomfort still remains for the situations.

I don’t know what I wanted to say about this all – I think I just wanted to say that.  That I can relate very easily to poor Betty Warren and her inability to let her friend be happy  in an area of life where she, herself, was so unhappy (despite what likely was a genuine love for her friend and desire for her friend to be happy in life).  We do that in our own lives quite often, it feels.  From the greatest to the smallest of things, when we are unhappy with a specific aspect of our own lives, we struggle to see others be happy in that same aspect of their lives.  I don’t want to give out a solution to this behavior – I just want us to notice that we have it, really.  Simply noticing it, bringing awareness to it, makes more of a difference than we could imagine, anyway.  Betty seemed utterly shocked when Connie accused her with the question.  To that point, even if she had realized what she was doing, it is likely that she was unable to admit it to herself…

Yeah… I want to look even more into the smallest nooks and crannies of my life to see where else I have been in this rut-based hatred/anger in the past.  I want to let all of that go.  And I want to be free of it all for the future, and to be able to wish others well with ease, no matter my own current situation.

Post-a-day 2018

Kill Bill and Mailboxes


Have you ever seen “Kill Bill”?  It’s a spectacular film (and set, actually), and I fell in love with it when I was around the time of middle school.  My eldest brother was in college, and he had me watch it with him one time.  I was enthralled.  I couldn’t tell if I actually wanted to be like Uma Thurman in the film, or if I just liked marveling at her humbly.

It ended up being one of the few pieces of Japanese culture that has stuck with me (before I moved to Japan, that is).  Not that the film is Japanese itself – it just has Japanese things in it, specifically a samurai-like relationship to swordsmanship and fighting.  Quentin Tarantino was the first director whose name I remembered, as well as the first whose style I learned to identify.  I’m not sure I would have been a fan had I not seen Kill Bill as my first full exposure to him and his style.  However, I absolutely love his directing, and therefore end up loving movies that otherwise make little sense at my being a fan of them (blood and gore and anger are really not my thing).

All of this aside, however, something from the Kill Bill films stuck with me even stronger than anything else.  The scene where the money briefcase is opened, revealing loads of cash, and then, suddenly, as a chunk of cash is removed, a poisonous snake shoots out and bites the man who opened the case, killing him.  It is such a sudden event, and it includes such a confirmation of the guy’s mortality, that it hit me hard.  While I mentally am totally comfortable with the scene, I suppose there is a sort of psychological response that I had not anticipated would last for so long as it has: I don’t stand in front of the mailbox to open it.  I stand to one side, and open the box.  Then, I lean over to see inside the box, still at an angle to it.  Once I have verified the absence of any snake, I then reach in and pull out the mail.

This was an immediate response to having seen this scene.  It was intentionally done, each time I went to check the mail.  Now, more than 15 years later, I still do it.  I kind of chuckled at myself today, as I noticed that I was doing it, completely unaware of what I was in the process of doing – avoiding a snake attack.  I mean, seriously, a snake in my mailbox?  Possible, but insanely unlikely.

Like I mentioned, it might be something psychological deep down… but it also could be just that I grew so accustomed to doing it intentionally, that I ended up sticking with it unintentionally, even after the snake idea was long out of my mind.  I find the latter to be more likely than anything else.

But I could just be crazy.  That would explain a lot, I imagine. 😛

Post-a-day 2017

A Normal Life

People regularly tell me how amazing they think my life is.  Almost every time, I am somewhat incredibly surprised at the statement – to me, my life is normal.  There’s always someone who has been to more places, done more things, been to better places, and done better and greater things than I have.  If anything, I feel as though I am coming up short to the declarations people make about the awesomeness and greatness of my life, my experiences, and my accomplishments.

However, something that always seems to happen when I receive these sorts of comments/compliments, is that I find a need to live up to them.  That is, I feel I need to do more, better, good, to do more exciting things, and to make my life more worth envying.  Recently, as I have noticed this fact, I’ve begun to wonder if it is not a wonderful thing that people make such compliments and comments about my life.  For, in their doing so, my life becomes more amazing.  I certainly want to do all of these things that I end up doing, however something like fear combined with laziness tends to hold me back from seeking them out, until, of course, I have the encouragement of what feels like duty to make these people’s feelings justified.

Though, even still, my life remains the same in terms of how it feels – normal.  Sure, I have done this one really cool thing recently, but the overall is still very average, plain, and normal.  It even makes me wonder if I can ever measure up to what I view as an amazing life worth envying.  No matter what I accomplish, where I go, or what I learn, will things always seem normal to me, and not worth truly being envied by others?  Will my life never really seem awesome and amazing to me?

I don’t know, of course…  It’s just a question I’m throwing out there, thinking on for myself and my life, wondering where it might lead me next.
Post-a-day 2017

Life and Movies and Longing

I’ve been a dreadful sort of sick all weekend, though I’ve been mostly un- or half-conscious through it all, so it’s been somewhat tolerable, I suppose.  Finally, today I was able to watch some filmage, as I have been conscious these past seven-ish hours, and I was finally able to tolerate sound.  As I searched for a movie to watch, I got to wondering about the kind of movie I was wanting to watch.

I noticed that none of the movies coming up on the scroll (Netflix Japan) were really appealing to me, although I have enjoyed several of them in the past.  Why do I not want to watch them now, but I liked them at another time, and likely will want to watch them again in the near future (I have had this happen many times, you see)?  What causes that change in preference to happen?

Mostly, I just wanted to watch Mona Lisa, Smile with Julia Roberts (yet again), and I knew it was because I 1)loved the fashion and lifestyle in the film, and 2)wanted to be like Julia Roberts in the film.  And that’s what had it click.  I realized: I’m looking for the life I want.  Rather than sitting here on the sofa in aches and pains, simultaneously wishing to get well asap and to prolong the illness so that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I want to be somewhere else, in some other part of life, even in someone else’s life.  And, since I can’t actually do that, I seek this alternative, improved life via film.

I notice, too, that I sometimes do the same with books.  Now, while I do read the ones that peek over the fence to that desirable and unrealistic life I want (think Shopaholic (the book, not the terrible movie that I turned off in disgust after about five minutes)), I make sure to put in the various classics and highly acclaimed books that have to do with depth and such, as opposed to my girlish ridiculousness and fun, so as to keep a good balance.

Though, as I debated about how to word that second-to-last clause, I thought of books that I have loved over the years.  From Bunnicula to Ender’s Game to Shopaholic to Pride and Prejudice, there was always something I desired and somewhat envied about each of their worlds.  The friendships, the sneaking around, the detective mentality, the genius, the fashion and money, the lifestyle, the travel, the love story, the love… they were all things I would love to have in my own life, in my own world of here and now.  It was never merely a girlish crush on the handsome and strong Native American so in love with the female protagonist (I admit, I truly did love reading those bits of Bis(s) zum Morgengrauen and the whole series.), but often something much greater, much deeper.  I wanted, if not the whole thing, a piece of their lives to come to life within my own life’s story.

And so I think it is with the movies I most love, as well.  Why else would I love my favorite films so much as I do?  I can relate to them for how they are like I am, as well as for how I want to be like they are.

And, to further and complete the thought, when I am sick and alone and longing to be in almost any other part of even my own life, the movie I most want to watch will be the one that best depicts the ideal situation for my life right now.

And, for today, I think that is somewhere with a great beach and the perfect mixture of warm and cool breezes, filled with people who are fun and who love me and whom I love, and where I am already slimmed down from my winter warmth weight.  So bring on some Eliza Thornberry or Just Go With It, yeah?  ;P

Except actually.  🙂

 

Post-a-day 2017