For a long time I’ve resisted writing. I wonder if I actually have anything new or different to say, and even more than that, I wonder what right I have even to speak.
Lets go ahead and list a few of the many privileges which I enjoy:
- Straight and Cis-Gendered
- Well Educated
- Lower-Middle Class
- Reasonably Attractive and Fit
- No Physical or Mental Disabilities
I could easily go on, but you get the point. Sure, at least I’m aware of it but that doesn’t change the fact that I still enjoy the benefits of the privilege that I was born into. It seems fitting that I’m writing this on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, as one of his defining characteristics is his decision to give up his wealth and social standing in order to live a life of poverty and service. But even then, one could argue that it was his privilege that allowed St. Francis to make that decision and to still have a voice that those still in power would listen to, as opposed to some poor peasant born into that life, easily ignored and swept away.
I love the idea of using my advantages to help others, but I fear becoming part of the “great white hope,” swooping in to help save some oppressed group. My hope is to find the tension and hang out there, avoiding my tendencies to either ignore or try to save others.
Even with the looming specter of my privilege, I have to believe that there is something worth sharing out of my own unique journey here on earth. I’ve had plenty of doubts, mistakes, failures, and fears. I also have experiences of joy, hope, success, and courage. All of those things have made me who I am, and give me a reason to share my stories.
In the end, that’s probably exactly why I’m choosing to write. Who I have become is also a function of those I have encountered and experienced community with along the way. I can only see myself clearly with the help of other people. So I write, in hopes that what I have to say might give someone else something to think about and perhaps be the seed of some meaningful transformation. And at the same time, to open myself up to the voices of others in response to what I say, deepening my own understandings of this life and keeping me from getting too comfortable.
I hope that you choose to join me in this journey, and see where we all end up.