Friday, August 10, 2007

"E" is for Envy

Which is something that I seem to experience on a day-t0-day basis.

You know, I envy my neighbor her husband who gets up early, goes to work early and is home by 9 p.m. He also gets up on the weekends and seems to adore doing lawn work. She confided to me at the neighborhood festival this year that he also cleans the ofuro (Japanese style bath) every day. I envy her her husband.

Or the foreign women here in the Land of the Rising Sun who have Japanese husbands who participate in child rearing activities. Or friends who travel to English speaking countries frequently. Or the majority of the female population of Japan for whom shoe shopping is fun (I can't even find my size here--unless it is in the men's section.). I envy women who breast feed and lose every ounce of pregnancy weight.

I envy friends who's kids are academically gifted, eat vegetables and are naturally helpful and outgoing. And who go to bed regularly, every night before 7:00 p.m. I envy all the families I see out and about with Dad's who can pick up the kids and swing them around, throw them up in the air and catch them.

I envy people who have to ask, "What is 'RA'?"

I envy people for small petty things too. Like women who seem to be able to keep their hair style perfectly arranged despite intense humidity or high winds. Or women who can cook a meal and carry on a conversation at the same time (I am in the kitchen with phrases like "One tablespoon of soy sauce" thundering through my head until I actually get the Tbs. of soy sauce into the dish. . . If I ever try to multitask while cooking. . . alas, the final product will prove to be inedible.

Oh! And I envy everyone who can drive (long story short, yes I know how, but no I haven't got a valid license here in Japan). I envy other foreign wives who can read and write in Japanese (big irony in my life, the English literature major who flew off and went to live as an illiterate mother of two in a foreign country). I envy writers who have the confidence to attempt to publish their work.

I envy people who have fat, lazy, soft and fuzzy cats which never even contemplating scratching the interior of their owner's homes down to the dry wall. I envy women whose husbands tell them that they are pretty and that they love them--more than every few years. I envy people who can go out side without ever catching someone staring and pointing at them. I envy people who are really good natured about being stared at and pointed out.

I envy people who seem to be able to appreciate abilities, qualities and even admire possessions that others have and say, "Wow, that is nice." and it leaves them feeling good. They are pleased to find something right in the world. They don't become inward focused, resentful or bitter. In fact, seeing something good happen to someone else, or finding good in someone else builds them up, makes them stronger, increases the faith. You know, the faith that happiness is out there so it is attainable?

I want to join those people. I really do. And I'm working on it. I'm trying my best to strangle that little sarcastic voice of bitter resentment that likes to respond to others' good fortunes or situations by spot lighting the corresponding deficiencies in my life. I am trying to swing that spot light back to where it should be. I'm telling that voice to just go sod off. I mean, what good has it ever done me?

So, while I can't say that I have won the battle with my personal demon (Envy) yet, I can say that I've gotten pretty good at bobbing and weaving and escaping Envy's punches. And its left me feeling light on my feet, eyes wide open, facing forwards, even a bit eager for whatever might be coming up next. Because I have a hunch you see that I might even win the next round. Envious?

1 comment:

Gina said...

I envy people who can buy shoes here in Japan, as well. I have size 9 feet. 25 CM. Very difficult to find shoes unless I buy online. But it's not as fun as buying at the store, is it? And say, walking out with a pair. Sigh, how lucky they are! he he! : )

I also am with ya on the reading and writing in Japanese thing. I have seen a few foreign ladies who can read and write and speak super fluently. Almost as if they were born in Japan. Meanwhile I am fumbling around with my Japanese. And reading? Ha ha ha! I am now attempting to learn hiragana. Not sure how well that will go in the end. But yes, I admire women who can read and write in Japanese perfectly, too! : )

Last one for me is, cooking and doing something else at the same time. Multi tasking while cooking. I don't have to tell you, how many times I was making rice for dinner. Pouring rice into a little rice cup. And counting to myself. 1, okay 2, okay 3. One son runs into the kitchen and says something to me and after a brief chit chat. I return to the rice once again. And I sit there thinking. Now what cup of rice was I counting again? Was it cup 3 or cup 4? Sure I could pour all the rice into a bowl and start again. But I usually just go with my gut and so far so good. Phew, (knocks on wood here)