I have nothing to feel guilty about, because I know I have done absolutely nothing wrong.
I still live in my hometown. When I "lived" in Arizona for the better part of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, I was still paying rent on my apartment, only the second home I'd ever lived in. It was right there for me to come back to anytime.
I was raised in a well-off family. We had a two storey, three bedroom house in Guelph with a nice bigg front and back yard, and a finished basement, on a dead-end street with very little traffic. We had a one storey "cottage" up north with three bedrooms, and a basement, a nice water-front property on an island with a causeway, and in both places the people were wonderful.
We always had lots of food on the table, and the bills always got paid. Mom and Dad taught us now to manage money, and why we shouldn't do things just because everyone else was doing them. I didn't give a damn about trends and styles then, and I still don't.
One day when I was about four years old my mother caught me watching a World Vision broadcast, and suggested that I put something "nice" on TV, instead of watching that sad stuff. I told her that if I wasn't meant to see what was going on in the world, Dad woudln't have bellowed at me the night before about how I should eat my peas, because thousands of starving children in Africa would love to eat them, if they only had the chance. Why would Dad blow the lid off of a secret I was not supposed to know? I never was one to "take someone's word for it," I needed to understand everything first hand, or as close to "first hand" as possible. I did not get the message because Dad bellowed, I got the message because after a little investigation, I realized he was right about the starving children in Africa.
I also noticed at an early age that women still got the short end of the stick, even in Canada, even in the present day, but I heard stories about how women in other parts of the world, or in radical practices of virtually every religion, had a lot more restrictions, and had things a lot worse. And black people? Oh my goodness! I heard horrible stories about what black people had to go through all over the world.
I never understood about the women, the black people, or any other minority group. My neighbour and her family were black. Black skin was like blue eyes, red hair, or any other feature of a person's appearance. It made no difference to me at all. My neighbour would eventually make my wedding dress.
And "disabled people?" There is no dis in ability. While I aknowedged that I had many challenges, I never once called myself disabled. I'm "legally blind." This means I can not drive a car, and am eligable for certain benefits, under the law in most countries. As for my actual ability, I can not see a licence plate of a car infront of me without a pair of binoculars, even if we're bumper to bumper in a traffic jam. I can not read most street signs, and I have to hold a book right to my nose in order to read it. I have a problem walking. I can't move that fast, and I have poor balance.
If I lived in Nazi-occupied territory in WWII, I would have been sent to the gas chambers.
I'm not in Nazi territory, but living comfortably in Guelph Ontario, able to live my life to the best of my ability, and get assistance where it's needed. I receive money from the govt every month, I also do what I can to earn extra money to supliment this income.
I don't have the same wealthy lifestyle I had growing up, but I'm not lacking a damn thing!!! If I'm going to come into a lot of money, it'll be because I won the lottery, not because I sold myself and services to some big corporation, hoping to climb the ladder, and earn money that way.
I'm not saying I'm down on everyone who works, just that there are far too many corrupt employers out there for me to even want to consider the possibility of "regular employment." I'd rather be in the position I'm in. Freedom is expensive.
However, I'm still damn lucky. I put on a summer dress this morning, grabbed a bag with MY money in MY wallet, and a book that a friend loaned me, and headed for the coffee shop.
I recently read a book about a woman struggling to survive in Yemmen under the opression of Muslim extremeists, then I read Savo Heleta's book about his life in Bosnia during the war in the early 90s, and now I'm reading a book that an Iranian friend loaned me about a woman who was a political prisoner in Iran.
WHY am I reading all of this stuff?
Because I can, because I'm free, and because i get the feeling that if someone doesn't read it all, and I mean as much of it as I can get my hands on, something will be missed.
Way too many times, growing up, I'd be caught watching the proverbial World Vision telethon (maybe I was reading a less-than-rosey news story, a similar book to those mentioned above, asking a question that no "innocent" person should have to consider, and was then told not to worry about it.
Pandora's box was opened when Dad told me about the starving children in Africa, that night.
Walker told me a bit of what happened to him during the Viet Nam war (after I asked), and I'm glad he did. Now that I think of it, a good 80% of my friends have either left their own countries for political reasons, or been subjected to some type of military/government duties in which they did not believe.
I hate that he went to war, but I'm glad I married someone who didn't just grow up and stay in his comfort zone. There are way too many of those around, and they probably woudln't understand me! Am I reading all these books because I DDIN'T go to war?
I remember reading about an American doctor in Iraq, and all the gruesome details of what he experienced. Seeing the pained look on my face someone asked me why I was reading it.
"I know people who were in similar situations, and they dind't get to turn the page. Why should I have that privilage?"
I don't think the person knew what to say after that.
My husband learned very early on not to help me on with my coat, but to hand it to me, if he happened to be between me, and whereever my coat was at the time, or I'd just pick it up and put it on myself, if I saw it first. Whoever got to the door first opened it, and held it. I'd lived on my own for so long, that I knew how to pull chairs in and out, and do things like that for myself. Also, where does chivalry fit into the picture, when for years my parents have said "you've got legs, you can do it yourself!?" My parents are wise people. Would would they raise me like that, only to have people do things for me because of my gender?
Life's a contradiction sometimes, and I don't feel like playing the game.
So now I'm sitting here reading my current book, and playing with my computer, feeling pretty damn fortunate to be where I am, but not willing to settle either, not untl discrimination no longer exists!! Why should I?
As a white, privilaged, semi-wealthy North American person, I feel it is up to me to read as much of this stuff as I can cram into my head.
Anyone else ever experience anything like this?