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My Friend called Envy

(As published in Artimag, the official Magazine of The Philippine Artisan - Taguig)

I’ve always been contented with the state of living I have. As a struggling student and a member of a larger society, it is inevitable for me to experience daily intricacies – which include weird encounters and many uncalled for occasions. But this contentment I pride myself of is sometimes challenged by a more intensified entity which oftentimes eats me up alive, a sickness called envy. 

My first encounter with envy was when I was younger, about 3 years old. I was with my mother that time in the marketplace. As we were about to pass a fruit stand, I glanced on a boy happily playing with a top. A pang of something hit my insides; it seemed that I cannot bear the view of the boy and his top. As we were nearing the fruit stand I asked my mother to buy me a top and pointed out to the young boy.

“Mama, gusto ko po nung ganung laruan,  (Mom, I want his top. Buy me one!)”, I insisted her.

“Nak, hindi na kasya yung pera natin (Son, I'm sorry but our money is not enough)”, she responded.

“Ahh basta, bilhan mo ako nun! Gusto ko yun! (Please let me have it. I really want that toy!)” I started making tantrums already.

With my mother irritated with the growing convulsion that I was making, she bought me the same wooden top that the boy was playing. But after I got what I asked for and tried spinning the top repeatedly, I felt nothing. It’s as if the happiness the boy had did not resemble any of the feelings I have as I played with the toy, weird.

That was my first experience with envy. And as time passed by, encounters with envy grew evident and frequent, especially during my elementary days –where competition was already a thing for us.

I’ve always remembered my wanting of all the things my classmates have. The Jollibee lunchboxes they bring, the story books they have in their houses, the G-watches they don every classes, the complete set of coloring books they use every art classes, and many more. Being the young and na├»ve that I was, I disregarded the feelings I felt, but not until I realized what they really were.

I remembered stealing a sharpener from my seatmate back then, just because I don’t have any of it and also cheating during an examination because I wanted to place top in our class. It was humiliating after all my classmates found out everything. I can’t look straight to my seatmates’ eyes because of the embarrassment I got from the incident. After those incidents I realized that the feeling of wanting things I don’t have and doing ways just to have those is not good. And the feeling of it is eating me up slowly. 

Teenage life proved to be the stage where envy is as inevitable as breathing. But the feeling of envy is not more of the material things; it is more on the physical features, achievements, social class, and friends. The thing with me is that I’ve changed a lot since grade school. The innumerable experiences taught me to be contented with what I am and what I am capable of. And from then on, things have turned out quite good. I was always no. 1 in our class, I was one of the writers in our school paper, I always join interschool contests, I always win in school contests, and a whole lot more. I guess the things I lack back when I was in elementary were all supplemented by the achievements I got.

But to my surprise, college life was more difficult than I can ever imagine. It seems that all of my envious ways back then came rushing out of the blue, and this time it was intensified. Envy became my friend instantly, what’s worst is, we got along together well. From my high school classmates who made it to UP and never experienced the need to stop studying because they were financially capable, to my nearly perfect college classmates who seem to get along well with anything and everything. They all look fortunate to me. And I was left to rot with my own insecurities. I was welled up by the feeling of it. I was devoured by envy all along, tolerating the sickening feeling of it. And unconsciously, I was already building an invisible barrier which surrounds me from everything. That I forgot the good things I had in the past and I have all along; the blessed life I live, the great family I have, the still struggling student that I am, the verbose and articulate writer that I am, the cool bunch of friends I can’t live without, the ever-growing number of page visits my blog site receives, and many good things (This page or even this blogpost would not be enough for that!).

Now I can definitely say that from an envious 3 year old kid that I was, I became a contented student and a member of a greater society. I know envy will be wherever I’ll be but now I know more. 

So if you think you’re fat, ugly, pimply, loveless, bloated, peculiar, useless, penniless, and all those things you think you embody then think again. You’re more than that! God made you look and live that way because he has a purpose for you. Remember this: God knows what is best for us.We may never know his plans for now but sooner or later we will be surprised at how perfect his plans are.

Being envious is normal but living with the feeling of it, waking up in the morning unsatisfied with your life, and thinking of becoming others but yourself is another cracked up story one should shrug off. Don’t live your life miserably just because you’re not contented with it. Think of all the good things you have and count all the blessings life has given you just like what I did. And be surprised on how it will change your perception of living a life of contentment and satisfaction.

PS: Don’t tolerate my friend Envy, I’ve just unfriended him.

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