“#5 is puzzling me. I am still digesting. How does one “make someone feel bad” about not being able to have something?
We have choices and why would someone “choose to feel bad” ?”
My 5th point in that credo being,
“Never make anyone else feel bad for what they can’t have. Because, if you pare away everything unnecessary, courtesy has to make the cut.”
Other commenters felt this ought to be point #1.
I have thought about it ever since.
Why? I call this blog Privilege. Not without understanding the ramifications. (The – dash is only an artifact of my inability to customize title spacing and something I would gladly eliminate.) I believe that privilege requires me to live in gratitude and appreciation. As you might imagine, I don’t succeed anywhere near as often as I would like. No one could say that virtuous intent is my most salient characteristic.
Still. Fancy little black dresses. A generous present giver who affords them. In the wearing of fancy goods, maybe I ought to consider the feelings of those who see me. Those with soft hearts, that is. I cannot be the keeper of all the hearts of strangers. I cannot watch out for the hearts of those I’m fighting, as in the way of the corporate world. I will not watch out for the hearts of those trying to make amends for their own distress through dominance.
But I can watch out for the hearts of my friends, and my family, and those I would like to bring into that circle.
The same, in some ways, is true for physical attributes. Despite complaints and shopping protests, despite a few years of an eating disorder in my 20’s, my weight is not a real problem. Partly a result of privilege. My family ate well for generations. My mother spent her real intellect and considerable time cooking so that my father’s heart would be protected from high triglycerides. We ate stir-fried broccoli and parchment steamed fish for comfort food. Now, despite my lost job, I can afford to shop at Whole Foods. Privilege.
Sure, there’s choice. Sure, I worked hard over the years. Sure, I keep eating broccoli, live modestly in some ways, and save for the things I care about. But, I feel deep in my heart, it’s privilege.
I understand that others might feel differently. Use different parameters. I’m not making a blanket statement. Let no one take this as a condemnation of other thought systems.
But me, for this week, I’m trying something out. Every day I will get up, and consider what I wear in light of, “How will this make people feel?” Rather than how will I feel. Rather than how will I look. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, or self-improvement programs. Perhaps a first.
An experiment. And, in the way of experiments, who knows if there’s anything to be learned?