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Moment of Enlightenment : Privilege

Today was a rather illuminating day. From the beginning, I woke with intention and hoped to carry it until this moment at the very least. If you are a follower on Instagram you maybe followed along the “My Story” feature on my profile.

The first part of that story was posting a book I’ve been reading lately, a companion book to the film “What The Health.” I asked everyone else what they were reading and received a diverse collection from their responses. We had books about the origin of Nestle in New York, to parables about financial advice, one about treating trauma using a variety of divergent treatment options and even someone reading some J. R. R. Tolkien. If anything, it shows I know some pretty interesting people.

All the while, I was working doing a variety of jobs. The first was a decent sized install. It took a bit of time, but then all I had was some remedial jobs after that. A good portion of my time was spent driving and this gave me the opportunity to think and to see everything around me.

Shore Road in Truro, leading into Provincetown, is one of my favorite roads on all of Cape Cod. Right before you hit Knowles Heights it always seems like the skyline expands and opens up, it feels like you can see forever. If you are local to the area you know what I mean. I took my lunch at one of the beaches. I started thinking how lucky I was to be there at that moment. I also, for the first time in a long time, didn’t take it for granted.

That luck wasn’t so much luck as it was (is) privilege.

While I’ve come to the realization just how privileged I am on other occasions, today it hit me; more than once and HARD.

I’m privileged because I was born white. My skin color makes all the difference in the world when it comes to privilege. F*ck no, it shouldn’t, I agree. The sad part is that it does, and yes it’s archaic. We should have moved past this whole race things years ago but we haven’t. I could list everything that is f*cked up with this but it’s there, right in front of my eyes, your eyes and the rest of the worlds eyes to see. Racism is alive and well in this country and I am ashamed of it. But I don’t know what to do about it.

I’m privileged because I was born to a family that cared for me, fed me, educated me and many more things. We may not have been the richest family but we truly never wanted for much more than we had. Sure we would have loved a pool in the backyard, but the pond down the street was good enough; my Dad always brought us there in the summer after work, even just for a quick dip to cool off. Sure we wanted a dessert every night but we got excited when maybe we got lucky enough to get an ice cream in the middle of the hot summer.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I was born a man. Why that should even be a privilege in this day and age is beyond me, but regardless, the world is certainly easier if you are male. We are still paid higher wages for doing the same jobs that woman do. We are hired more often than a woman for the same position, one that she may even be more qualified for. I do not have a better understanding of all this but I do support all of my friends who are willing to teach me in a kind and compassionate way, because I will kindly and compassionately fight for you in return.

There’s also the fact I was born a straight man, that ups the game a bit. Even though a “city in the sky” like Provincetown exists, hatred for my LGBTQ friends still exists. I remember back in school that my friend Tom came out to me. He was scared that he might lose me as a friend. I remember looking at him and saying, “dude, I already knew.” Sure, it meant the world to me that he would tell me but I also could tell it took courage for him to tell me. He was my closest friend in the world and he was scared to tell me who he was. That was in the late 80’s and yes, there is still fear like that today. It breaks my heart that we live in a world with so much cruelty that we judge a person because of who they love, regardless of gender or color or whatever. Love is love.

To top all that off, for whatever reason karma decided it was my good fortune to be born human. While human beings suffer, and I’ve outlined many of those reasons, to be born in the animal realm is torture; literally and figuratively. Sure if you are born a cat or a dog your life might be a bit better than a mama pig who spends her life in a gestation crate, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. Dogs and cats are beaten. They are dropped off in the middle of nowhere to die by “caring” families and all sorts of other sh*t. To be born an animal in this day and age is almost a curse. That’s part of the reason I stay a vegan and the main reason I can never go back to not being vegan. Could I do more to bring attention to this, sure; I’m working on that too!

I sat on that beach wondering why I was given the fortune of this life and the convenience of all that privilege.

Today felt like a starting point. A real moment of clarity.

In that moment it lead me to wonder just what am I going to do with this privilege. How will I make something positive come out of it?

I’m not 100% but I am working on it and I’m not going to just co-exist with my privilege; I’m going to use it to benefit as many sentient beings as I can.

I ended my day on another section of Shore Road from the dock picture at the top. I watched the sun set and was filled with purpose.

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