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Envy

Yesterday I was transcribing some notes from mini-tapes to MP3. They were about two years worth of thoughts that had been recorded during a very difficult period of life.

They were not my own notes. They were my younger brother's who died recently from cancer.

And it was a surprise to me to hear his voice on the tapes, because I didn't know I had any of his tapes, and I thought they were my own.


His voice was low, quiet, concise; not controlled, but calm. Even during that period of turmoil his thinking was clear and rational. In fact I was quite amazed at just how realistically he saw situations, and how well he expressed them.

The couple times he spoke of me, his memory of the events was correct, and his analysis of it was acute. And there were some events that he refereed to which involved me that may be too accurate. I would like to think he is wrong, that I had different motives and intents than what he understood them to be. But that could well be my memory trying to protect my ego. Regardless, his view of the situation as it effected him was very precise.

And his search for understanding of himself was honest, open, and almost fearless. He looked at himself in order to try and understand himself.


Then I heard my tapes, of which I have hundreds. (My brother had only two covering three years of ardent self-analysis.)

My voice is weak and labored, almost whiny at times. I get excited and even emotional over small, insignificant things. I use ten-thousand words to describe what could ultimately be expressed in twenty. I run off in several tangents at once.

I analyze myself, but I do so by first analyzing someone else, then applying the problem to me. My straight-line thinking only appears that way to me because the curve of my circular reasoning is so gradual due to my taking so long to get to the point.

The energy I exert when I talk to someone can exhaust them, and it often exhausts me. And even when I talk into a tape recorder, all to myself, I often lose my voice from tensing my vocal chords to their limits.


[That is one reason I would rather express myself by writing. I type so slowly that my mind can do all its running in circles before my fingers can get the words on the screen.

And I don't exhaust my body, or strain my voice.

I only strain those of you who bother to wade through all my writings to hopefully find a nugget amongst the mire.]


When I sit peaceably by myself, I can imagine myself as being the calm, cool person my brother was....

In fact, a realization just came to me (see what I mean about tangents? And there has been several more that I have allowed to pass). My father was quite cool and calm, though more controlled than my brother, and so were my father's brothers.

Except one, the youngest of my father's brothers, who was a highly emotional and opinionated orator.


My father and brother spoke from their head. What you heard was thought out before it was spoken. No other words were necessary because everything had been boiled down to the bone.


I speak from my toes, and my head has very little to do with what I say, except to listen to what my toes are saying to see if there is anything worth while in the verbiage they put forth. As with my website, anyone who listens to me must also listen to the pot boil away, and stand clear in order to not get boiled upon (I tend to fling my arms about when I speak). And when everything is boiled away, there my be nothing left but a burnt pot with not even a sliver of a bone of truth left to show for the effort.


My brother and I are different. In fact, and in many ways, almost opposites.


I envy certain parts that are him. And, I believe, he envied certain parts that are me.

Would I want to give up those parts of me that I envy in him? Not really. I like who I am. And though there are times I think that the idiosyncrasies I have mentioned sometimes (maybe even often) handicap me, they make me who I am. They make me the person I have finally grown to like, and even enjoy.


Would my brother have given up any part of who he was to incorporate any part of me that he may have envied? I'm sure he wouldn't have.


I suppose, in the final analysis of things, that each of us is like fingers on a hand. At a quick glance all the fingers look the same. But they really aren't. And if the little finger was to be as long as the middle finger, the hand wouldn't close properly. And consider the thumb if it were any different than it is.


When I was young, I wanted to be somebody else; Any body else! Now that I am so much older, there is no one I would rather be than who I am. Perhaps it's just that over the years I have grown used to the person I am; or maybe I'm just too tired or lazy to consider making the effort to change, so I settle into just chipping off the jagged edges of what is left of who I have finally become.


I don't know. Nor do I guess it even matters anymore. I'm just thankful that I am able to recognize the envy that I do have, instead of hiding from it.

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