Monday, February 16, 2015

Envy

envy (noun): a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck

jealous (adjective): feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages

Envy, like its not-quite-synonym jealousy, is one of the less noble of human qualities. The difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is a bit broader in scope, whereas jealousy is usually concentrated on one individual.

Unfortunately, for me envy has been a chronic and severe condition as far back as I can remember, undoubtedly stemming from a deep-rooted sense of inadequacy…of not being who and what I so desperately have wanted to be; of not living up to my own expectations; of constantly being exposed to others who possess qualities (though, interestingly, seldom “things”) I wish I had. (I long ago adopted being self-deprecatory as a perverse form of defense mechanism: I’ll tell you how inferior I am before you can tell me. Not healthy, I know.)

I envy those younger, more attractive, more intelligent, more thoughtful, more talented than I. And often it goes far beyond just a casual sense of wishing to a soul-deep, chest-ache longing. I’m not sure how one can experience a sense of loss over something one has never had, but I do.

I envy those more intelligent than I. As I’ve often said, my knowledge is broad but extremely shallow. To quote the old song, “I know a little bit about a lot of things, but…” I have read a great deal, but never enough to feel qualified to have a truly meaningful discussion on the classics.

I envy those who are seemingly (though realizing “seemingly” may be the operative word) at ease in social situations involving people they do not know; who can express their enthusiasm in crowds with shouts and cheers; who can dance without thinking or caring how they look to others.

I envy those who have the time to read voraciously. I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, or as I should, partly because when I read the words of others I often feel intimidated. I have no doubt that I’m a good writer…just not good enough.

The vast bulk of the things I envy are based on the fact that I am a homosexual in a predominantly straight world that I have never understood, and  am therefore always afraid of embarrassing myself. I suspect one of the reasons…if there are reasons…I am homosexual is because I so long to be so many things I find in other men. From childhood, I’ve always been attracted to males I wish I were like. And, in the days when I was still an active part of the gay community, to be able to actually go home with someone to whom I was attracted provided an almost euphoric sense of validation. (“See, you’re not as ugly as you think you are.”) 
And having said all the above, having made a case for the emotional hazards of negative thinking, I must point out that all these unhealthy things, which could easily create serious depression, are offset by the one characteristic of which I am most proud: I never, even under the worst circumstances, allow myself to take myself too seriously.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).








1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I tend to feel many of the things you describe, but generally when I'm around Ralph. He typically gets all the attention. The few rare times we've seen this switch is when we go overseas to Hong Kong. He's remarked there after observing me getting checked out that, being white, my stock suddenly and troubling goes up over there.

It made him uneasy. It made me giggle.

The moral of the story? There will always be a place where the tables turn and you're suddenly envied the way you envy someone else.