Belenen (belenen) wrote,

list of my privileges (not exhaustive, just the biggest ones)

Compiling a list of my privileges* (certainly not exhaustive, but maybe the biggest ones) for self-reflection and for reference when people think I'm better than them in some way (usually because of my positive body image or compassion):

This is definitely the biggest and the one I can see the least. Here's a start. All of my privileges tie into this.

2. Non-disabled-ness.
I do not have any physical disabilities, and I rarely even get sick. Here's some of what that means.

3. Schooling.
This needs to be broken down into several bits -- all based on financial privilege that provided time and resources.
-- from when I was born until I could read on my own, my mom would read me stories.
-- I was homeschooled from 5th to 10th, by my mom, a professional teacher who hired a tutor for my math and a tutor for my science and taught me the other subjects with great depth and meaning. Ze also took me to the library every two weeks (I tore through SO MANY BOOKS, some of them quite age-'inappropriate').
-- my mom drilled me for the SATs for many hours, buying study books and helping to quiz me, then my parents paid for me to take the SAT twice. I gained 40 points on the second go-round, making a perfect score in verbal, which made it easy for me to get into college.
-- I lived in GA, which gave me access to the HOPE scholarship, which paid for 127 hours of my tuition. I also was able to not work for several years of that, which allowed me to easily maintain my GPA instead of scrambling to find time to study.

4. Marriage (thus financial support and free counseling.)
I was married for 6 years, giving me respect and validation in the eyes of society. 4 of those years I did not work, except for things that did not pay or didn't pay much. 2 of those years I spent in therapy (free, donated as a wedding present (originally intended for use as couples' counseling)) for sexual abuse, severely agoraphobic and paranoid. If I had not had someone else paying for my needs and driving me to therapy, I might not be alive, and definitely would not be able to trust, give, and live fully like I can now. If someone I didn't even know hadn't paid for my counseling, I don't know what would have happened, but I'm sure I'd be a fraction of my current self. The other two years I spent building and investing in online communities, which leads to my next point.

5. Internet.
My access to the internet gave me livejournal, which helped me find wonderful people whom I connected with and who made me feel (for the first time in my life) loved and accepted fully. I feel very strongly that feeling loved and accepted fully by more than one or two people is the quickest route for a person to learn to love themselves, feel confident, and develop their voice. Other than whiteness, I feel this has been my greatest privilege. I am lucky as fuck. I did not become self-loving and able to speak out due to my own effort, but due purely to receiving so much support from so many people over the years. This is not just from my own friends, but from the body-positive community I created which led to my confidence in and love of my body.

6. Years in a normative white body.
(this ties into being non-disabled) Other people perceived me as acceptably sized/shaped for most of my life, and treated me with respect and deference for this. I only realized this when it was no longer true, as it didn't match my self-image, but I know it allowed for my short-time-length transition into self-love, as well as making it possible for me to get married (I don't think my ex would have married me if I was fat or a person of color) which led to many other privileges.

7. Financial safety net.
I may not have much of my own for resources, but I know that I have people I could stay with, who could afford to keep and feed me, if I needed it. When I thought this was untrue, it added a huge level of ambient stress to my life, so I know that it's a big damn deal just to know that I won't die if something bad happens and I can't care for myself.

8. Car.
My parents bought me a car when my old one finally died. It's nothing fancy, but it enables me to live in a cheap area and get to where I need to go at my own time. It's also 12 years old, which means the insurance is super cheap.

9. Low cost of living.
I do not have children (partly because I could afford birth control while married!), large bills, or expensive rent: I can easily live on about $900 a month, with occasional yearly bills making that higher. In addition, I'm currently secure in where I live because I am renting from my parents; even if I lost my job and couldn't pay rent, I wouldn't get kicked out.

10. Free psychiatric help.
I am currently on an SSRI after being suicidally depressed for months -- the prescription is $4 per month, and the psychiatry is free through my school. AND the first med I tried worked. This is a ridiculous pile of luck and privilege.

11. Amazing friends.
I know how hard it is for weirdos like me to find friends, and I have SO MANY. and they're SO AMAZING. I know at least 7 local people I could call if I was in emotional crisis or got stranded and needed a ride or anything like that, who I feel confident would drop everything to be there for me if I needed them and I wouldn't even be uncomfortable asking because I know they genuinely wouldn't mind. And that's not even considering my long distance friends who reach out to me in so many ways.

12. Living in a location that is safe for me.
I live outside a queer hub (Atlanta is the 3rd queerest (self-identified) city in the US), near a college town, in a quiet neighborhood with tons of trees and space to garden! I feel safe being myself in public, and I've never been harassed by strangers for any part of my identity or appearance.

I'm sure there are 80 billion more, but I think those are the ones I feel most impact my life. Writing this I had the hardest time not being like "but here's all the bad stuff I deal with too!" like I need to justify my privilege. I had to delete defensive bits! I just need to acknowledge it and try to use it to create a more just and kind world.

*also I will probably add to this post whenever I think of more pieces.
Tags: life story, social justice / feminism

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