Guilty as Charged

Today someone was kind enough to remind me yet again of the privilege that pervades my life, I say this in a somewhat sarcastic tone as it is something I would prefer to avoid. For something I didn’t have a say in, I got very lucky, and I know it. I have always had all of my survival needs met and even now unemployed I am able to find ways to make ends meet. However, I know others aren’t as fortunate as I. I see them everyday in SF and sometimes have to pretend I don’t in order for me to go about my day feeling as if everything is okay.

But the girl I used to be cared a lot about poverty and homelessness.  So much so that seeing people struggling would bring her tears, constantly.  I don’t know what happened to her. Somewhere along the way she gave up, she felt defeated. And thanks to a certain someone today she was reminded and feels all the pain she has forced herself to forget. It isn’t hers, it’s a collective hurt and she doesn’t quite understand what to do with it. Other than feel it, as deeply as she can and see what that inspires.The woman I am now notices the injustice and gets paralyzed by not knowing how to help.In order to cope and go on with my day I have had to ignore those emotions and not feel the pain and sorrow around me. I am however, unable to really ignore my guilt.

Without operating in survival mode I’m able to follow my dreams, find my heart’s desires, and even develop spiritually in a way I couldn’t otherwise.  Does my excelling defeat others from the same? I don’t know. What does one do to help? How do we follow our own hopes and dreams and also bring others along with us who are less fortunate to have that luxury? I can’t claim to know the answers to these questions and I do know I’m not doing enough to help. Buying Street Sheet once a month or simply smiling at someone realistically doesn’t do much. It feels as though I can never do enough to help.

We all use things to cover up what we don’t want to feel. Sometimes I use caring about a particular man, eating, or shopping to avoid certain thoughts or feelings. What would happen if I gave in? Instead of dwelling I just felt.  I’m afraid of that. I wonder how many times I can forget until I do something that makes enough of a difference.That’s what I love about living in SF, it forces me to be in the midst of it and offers me a chance to do something that matters. Yes, it’s easy to forget, and just as easy to remember and do something. Our guilt doesn’t have to be paralyzing. Today, my guilt moved me forward, to talk about it and admit my feelings of defeat. I look forward to the day when the guilt isn’t what motivates me and instead a commitment to the cause.

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