A Privileged Life
I am getting the impression from some of the comments I am receiving when reaching out to people that some of you may feel that I have unfair expectations of humanity. It is obvious I have come from a privileged life. It is nice that I am able to boast about living in love, but obviously I have never had to face any real challenges, or I would know that the world is a cold and cruel place. In the real world my writings are a nice fantasy to retreat to, but are nothing more than that. There is no future in my words. Because we all know people just aren’t cut out to love one another. Maybe the privileged ones can live this way. but they are few and far between. Plus, they have never known true suffering, so of course they will think a utopia is possible. It is only a delusion, however. In the real world, love is an ideal, not a reality.
Hmmm… How to respond to this. I’m not sure how to splash a glass of ice water in someone’s face verbally. The words “wake up” seem appropriate. I will agree with you. The world is a cold and cruel place. It is also true that everyone on this planet, and I do mean every single person currently alive, has suffered. The thing about suffering is that it is a personal story. For some the suffering in their life is obvious. Some simply cannot afford to eat. Some are sold as children to the sex trade. Some brutally beaten by their parents.
I will not deny I came from a privileged life. I have suffered far less than anyone else I know. I am truly lucky. But I see this privilege as a responsibility. Who better to share the wealth of love than someone so privileged as to receive it in such vast quantities.
But to assume my life has been without suffering is a little insulting. I was born into a white middle class family in Canada that loved me. For that I am eternally grateful. There is no more privileged a position in our world, that I can tell. But that is pretty much where it stops. My father was an alcoholic. Not a particularly abusive one, but more of an absentee. My grandmother was also an alcoholic, although she was more of the abusive kind. My mother attempted to raise me while coping with her mother’s abuse and my father’s absenteeism. My grandmother killed herself when I was seven, which smartened my dad up and got him to quit drinking. The damage was done, however, and my parents divorced. They stopped talking to each other directly, and instead sent angry messages to one another through me. In highschool I became very introverted, partially because I had developed very severe acne. I had no real friends for about 3 years during highschool. I would tag along behind a group of outcasts, but even they did not really like me that much. They were too nice to tell me, but I knew that I was never really invited. I decided to take Accutane to help with my acne. This incredibly potent drug not only caused my skin to flake and peel off, but also gave me horrible pains deep in my hip bones. A couple of years later I started becoming very sick. I was having diarhhea pretty much constantly. Some days up to 15 times a day. Yet I was not eating anything. Anything I did eat just came straight out, so instead I tried starving myself to see if that would help. Amazingly it did nothing to stop the diarhhea. The doctor’s told me I had Crohn’s disease. After doing some research I realized that Accutane is often associated with the development of Crohn’s disease. My acne medicine had given me an auto-immune disease that is essentially the opposite of AIDS. Instead of my immune system shutting down, it has gone wild and is literally eating holes in my body. At first this was mostly in my small intestine. It soon spread to my anus. You can imagine the pain associated with this disease is rather severe. I had to have surgery to stop the spread of the fissures in my anus.
I have received gifts of love many times. Once in University my great-grandmother gave me $10,000 to put towards my tuition. She gave it to me in October, though and I had already paid my tuition. So I decided to be smart and invest it. Every penny was stolen from me by an online scam artist. He got away with over $250,000 in people’s hard earned money and was never heard of again. Since that day I have struggled with massive debts. It turns out University is much more expensive than I imagined. That $10,000 would have been much better used to pay for food and rent. But I could hardly ask for more money now. I was so embarrased. So instead I applied for a visa with a $15,000 limit, which I received at the age of 21 with no real job, past or present. I paid for my University using my Visa card at 19% interest. 8 years later I am still attempting to pay off the interest of that loan. The capital remains untouched.
Welcome to my priviledged life. I know deep down in my heart that i am one of the lucky ones. That makes me so incredibly sad. If I am the priviledged one in this world, and I actually think that I am, then what does that say about our world?
Maybe it is time to stop judging everyone against everyone else. I have suffered. You have suffered. My suffering may not seem like much to some. It may seem like an awful lot to others. But none of that matters. My suffering meant something to me. It was mine and mine alone. Only I can understand the complexity of emotions that go along with this story. Just like only you can understand the complexity of emotions that go along with your story.
The point I am trying to make is that suffering is only what we make of it. Some days I cannot stand up straight because my stomach hurts so much. But I never call in sick. I never cancel my plans. I fight through the pain. I want to live my life, I will not allow pain to hold me back.
The same goes for our personal stories of suffering. Yes, we have all suffered. You can either take that suffering and turn it into a life of pain and misery. You can focus on it selfishly and say to yourself that all the bad things in life only happen to you. Or, you can take your suffering and turn it into a lesson. You can see that measured against others, your suffering has not been that bad. Or maybe it has been much worse. Either way, you are still alive. You have survived your suffering, so you must be strong enough to take it. So be strong. Take it. Take your suffering and turn it into love. If I can do it, so can anyone. It is not easy, I will not make that claim. But it is possible.
When I was going to work today I parked my car in my usual spot. It is about two blocks from where I work. As I opened the car door I was immediately greeted with a freezing cold air. It is the first day to hit -7 degrees and the doors to the car were frozen shut when I tried to start it. Upon exiting the car all I could think about was how cold and horrible it was outside. Then I heard my name called out from behind me. It was an old friend, a man I used to work for. We chatted for a minute and strolled together. It was so nice to see him, it had been a while and he was always kind to me. As he said goodbye he patted me on the shoulder and we headed off in separate directions. Not two steps later the cold attacked me again. I instantly began to shiver and think about how miserable it was outside.
Then a light when on in my head. I had not noticed the cold at all when I was talking to my friend for a couple of minutes. I was so happy to see him that I got lost in love. all the negative feelings associated with the cold just dissappeared. It happened so naturally I didn’t even notice it until afterwards. But as soon as my friend left and I was alone with my thoughts, the cold gripped me again.
Suffering is exactly the same. When we embrace love, the suffering just melts away. It is only when we are alone with our thoughts that the suffering has a way of destroying us. But only if we let it. If we surround ourselves with love, we will never have to worry about suffering.
This is a new cycle. A cycle of love.
We can leave the cycle of abuse behind us. I have done it. I have been abused. Mostly by myself, though. If you look at your life, you may come to find that the most abusive relationship you have is the one with yourself.
Please, I beg you. Do not think I am special because I live in love. I am not special. Just different. But it is in all of you. I know it. If I can do it, anyone can.