Dealing with Envy: First Cup

The first cup of a two-courses article.

I used to think that when my brother Adil was born, mama's love was halved. Then Anggi followed Adil, and I found out that I was wrong. Mama's love can't be measured or divided. It's wholesomely, completely for Anggi. So it's no surprise that all the while Anggi was in Dubai, I wanted to write him off my will; hell, no he ain't gonna get my swanky-macho diamond studded ring. That ring's going to OmArie, who's going to wear it on his nose.

The Birth of Envy: A Sibling
Let's start over. First, Anggi was born on 08-08-'88, which is standardized "very lucky" birth date by both Western and Eastern Superstitious Committees. If superstition is too hard to swallow, consider the birthday wishes and presents coming for years to come, since it's harder to forget a birthday when it's just single digit (8) repeated four times. Not to mention that he was born a guy, giving him another prenatal boost of social security and indulgence.

Next, he's the youngest child. So when our parents were strict with me and badgering with Adil, they loved Anggi without inhibition. My mother never left out a word of endearment that isn't spent on Anggi, EVERY TIME she sees him, and they live together in the same house.

[It's not so hard to recite mama's elaborate endearments for Anggi not skipping a beat, especially because it's NOT addressed to Adil and me: "Anggi is mama's hero, teddy bear, security blanket, knight in shining armor, most wonderful baby boy, most loving to his mama, most handsome little prince". ]

After that, with so much love and acceptance to initiate his life, he goes on fantastic venture of being one of the first Saudi movie makers, and be rewarded heftily for it too.

How to Be Estranged with Your Family: Covet

Compare Anggi's life with mine. I was jinxed from the beginning. Being the firstborn, all of my parents' disappointments and stress and unfulfilled expectations in each other were vented on me.

Besides, the effort was as futile as waiting for snow in the desert. Nothing could increase my chances for parental approval, despite acrobatic yoga postures, or languages perfected, or blogs maintained, or Aceh and Amman explored ever since our parents' attention was forever cemented in Anggi's ability to cry and suckle boobs from the tender age of 12 minutes old.

Honestly? I'm deepest shades of green with envy when it comes to Anggi's privileges. And can I help it? Life is not fair.

Why Is Envy Even A Sin?
I use to wonder why the Bible counts envy as a deadly sin when it seems like an natural emotion, considering the diversity of luck that the Lord dispatched on earth. Then again, the Qur'an mentions witchcraft before envy, because casting voodoo spells seems like a natural thing to do after experiencing envy [HQ 113:4-5].

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm happy for my little brother. We all are. I just didn't enjoy the initial feeling when a picture of his life was placed beside mine. I mean, don't YOU go through thoughts like that, when someone you consider equal jumps milestones infront of you? I think that's the other reason why envy is sinful: That it eats up on your soul, just like jealousy, but in the absence of a third person.

See? Mentally, I knew I was envious, and I knew it wasn't right. I just didn't know how to get rid of the feeling; facing the emotional risk of being an underachiever when overachieved by her pip-squeek little brother. At least until I had breakfast with the Timekeeper on the next day. And remembered the impossibility in equal disparity of luck and success, and that life's too short for it.

How short? Short enough to have my back starting to hurt. I'm sure both you and I need a break by now. Next time, I'll be telling you about how the coffee erased the envy, how it's not greener on the other side, how the balance is maintained by not offering Java around a Javanese village.
I'll see you soon.

Update: The Second Cup can be found here.
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