Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
There are a number of things that I could be writing about here (not the least of which is that WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!) but recently I have been reading and reflecting on various articles and incidents that all seem to be tied to - or culminate at - a similar point. That point is: I am immensely privileged. I was born to privilege, was raised in privilege, and my vantage-point from which I view everything is one of privilege. I don't mean this in a "I am so blessed" kind of way. I say this despite living most (all?) of my life below the poverty line here in Canada. I say this despite not #winning (or caring to win) at life. I say this despite being a woman in a patriarchal society. I say this despite being a nobody. Recently I saw a tweet or re-tweet from some celebrity who, I believe, was trying to express something along the lines of "don't worry, things will work out". The wording was close to "I used to try hard to get what I want right away but then I realized that it'll all come to me in the right timing." I know something of this feeling and understand it to be true that optimistic people's lives turn out better than their pessimistic neighbours'. However, the assumption that our dreams will come true (just the timing seems to be in question) is more than presumptuous. The origin of this presumption is no huge puzzle. Not only are we living in one of the more privileged countries, we are living in one of the more privileged ages through time. We are encouraged to "do what we love" and "dream big" while settling is seen as a character flaw. What shocked me about this celebrity's tweet came immediately after I judged her for thinking everything should be coming her way, when I realized that I was no different (on a slightly different trajectory). I live assuming that I will be happy, be respected, be healthy, get the intellectual stimulation that I want, have a loving husband, have wonderful children (who will deserve at least all this, too), have a wonderful support system of family and friends, have everything I need and most things I want. When things don't go my way, it's obvious something must be wrong and hopefully this hiccough doesn't last long. Part of why the recent realization of my presumption has hit me harder, I believe, is that I was raised, among other goals, to be humble and counter-cultural. Conservative Christians strive to be "in the world but not of it", "poor in spirit" with, hopefully, a sense that we are to live righteously without hope of reward, that the prizes of this world are not those to be sought, and that we are a minority who can expect to be misunderstood and even persecuted. I have been pre-conditioned to think of myself humbly if not last. But somehow human nature is still able to exert itself and, while considering myself last, I simply didn't see those suffering who were suffering behind me. Oh, I watched the news (I wasn't that sheltered) and was aware of a lot of the problems with the world. But this brokenness didn't have much of a bearing on how I went about my life. It's easier to watch those who are more obvious and more fortunate than one's self and be blind to the more uncomfortable side of society (while being self-congratulatory on how we have found contentment in the face of hardship). With a step back from my roots I have been able to begin to see some of the blind spots I have. I don't have nearly as much time as I would like to go over the out-workings and results of this new viewpoint (one boy just woke the other from a nap and then dissolved into tears as a result of the just resentment shown by the party woken at having his slumbers so rudely interrupted) but I wanted at least to document some of the change in hopes of further enlightenment in future.