I don’t know about you guys but our current lock down situation is showing me flames. It’s hard to be content with staying in one place when you have ish to do, right?
I mean, I have to cancel events and everything! I’m so annoyed that I can’t get my hair done. Also, I desperately need a Big Mac meal. Argh, this is so frustrating. The outcry! The heartbreak! However will I cope?!
Aaand right there, in that moment, is when I realize that I am being a chop and that I need to check my privilege.
You see, friends, privilege probably looks different to each person. I mean, it’s not just about money.
In fact, I didn’t exactly grow up in a household rollin’ in dough. (Dough as in cash, not dough as in the malleable mixture of flour and water. But you knew that.)
And, although my parents and grandmother gave me everything I needed to survive, there was a bunch of things that we couldn’t afford back then… stuff that my kids take for granted right now like electronic devices, out-of-town holidays, random trips to KFC, name branded sneakers etc. We got by. And that was enough.
These days I visit KFC a bit more than I should (cough cough) and yet I still don’t feel as if I’m “Britney Spears rich” (Wait, she’s still rich, right?)
Until the Covid-19 lock down hit.
As I sat there, on my couch, drinking my tea, while scrolling through Instagram, I heard myself complain about the lock down, mourning the fact that I won’t be able to do some of the things that I had planned to do.
And that’s when I had to give myself a big, fat roundhouse kick against the head (I mean, I didn’t actually, because how does one kick oneself? But the intention was there, I promise) because I was acting like an entitled brat.
I mean, while I had to cancel events, some of my fellow South Africans had to cancel jobs and contracts that would have provided for their families.
Some of my countrymen had to say goodbye to their parents, not knowing when and if they would see them again.
I could mourn my cancelled appointments in the comfort of my WiFi bedecked home, while my fellow South Africans share one room with 10 family members and no running water. I mourn my fast food burgers, while others mourn the piece-jobs they relied on, and street corners they sold fruit at, to buy their daily bread.
Heck, some of my countrymen aren’t even afforded the opportunity (and safety) of lock down, because they are out there serving on people like me.
And while I understand that it certainly is frustrating for ALL of us (yes, even us, the WiFi enriched sort) and we most certainly have been left in an awkward state, I kinda know that when I was complaining, my thoughts were more bent towards how much I deserve to live the life of a queen and were a lot less turned towards how little I had to give up in comparison to some of our more impoverished brothers and sisters.
And so, I’m here to let you guys know that I realise that I was being a chop and that I am swiftly and pertly nipping that ish in the bud. Because honestly, you guys, my privilege sticks out like a sore thumb right now. It’s so painfully obvious. I can’t ignore it.
And while I can’t help for privilege (for the most part), I am so embarrassed by my previous lack of awareness of it. But I promise to do better and to teach my kids to do better from this moment on.
Because entitlement and an absence of empathy is almost like a virus all on its own. And it’s one that I don’t plan to spread.