#FMF – Privilege

Joining up with a whole bunch of fabulous writers over at Five Minute Friday, to write for five minutes on one subject and then head on over and see what others have got to say as well. One of my fave communities to be a part of.

This week’s prompt is a tough one.

(v) to exempt
(n) a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most

“The task of calling things by their true names, of telling the truth to the best of our abilities, of knowing how we got here, of listening particularly to those who have been silenced in the past, of seeing how the myriad stories fit together and break apart, of using any privilege we may have been handed to undo privilege or expand its scope is each of our tasks. Its how we make the world.” Rebecca Solnit

Privilege is such a complicated subject. Especially when it comes to the way that we relate to each other.

I was aware of my privilege at a young age, though I had no name for it.

I visited a friend’s home for a play-date one Saturday. I had a fabulous time. But what i did notice is that they had two chairs at their kitchen table and about 8 people who lived in the house. They had bunk-beds in their rooms but most shared one bed, but because they didn’t have enough blankets to go around and keep everyone warm.

At my home, I had my own room. I had my own bed. We had extra chairs at the table and not enough people to fill them.

another time, after my birthday party we took my friend home. We drove for quite some time on a road that seemed to meander endlessly. The marker for her home came up and we turned on what seemed to be mere tracks leading onto property. When we arrived at her home, my eyes grew large. I am not sure if I said anything but I’m sure she saw it on my face. She lived year round in the frigid cold with her family in a re-purposed School bus. I didn’t see inside but dropped her off and said thank you for coming to my party. I cried all the way back home. I couldn’t believe that people had to live like that.

And I don’t know the situations of each family. I don’t know what brought them to the place of having little, while I had much more. But it broke my heart. At that time, I don’t think I truly grasped the poverty that I found myself in the midst of.

I’m much older now, and see a bit differently then I did then.

The question seems to always be, how can I help. Some would say that asking that question seems to move privilege along. What then is the next step? I hear lots of people shouting that there needs to be steps taken, but I’m not sure where one begins to lose privilege and pass it on to someone else, or if that is even possible, or wanted.

I long to listen, to have this conversation, but how do you approach these questions without somehow coming across as thinking you might have something to offer. Is that what is wanted in the first place?

I don’t have the answers. I don’t think I need to. But I do want to understand better.




#FMF – Agree

joining up with my people over at Five Minute Friday, where we all write for five minutes on the same word and then see what other people have to say 🙂

this community is such a great place. So thankful to have these people to “hang out with” on Thursday nights on twitter, before Kate releases the word for the week. Come join us around 830EST (I think) on Twitter with #fmfparty.

prompt: Agree

to be consistent; harmonize

When I lost my job the beginning of January, it was a very confusing time for me. I understood that I had been ‘let go’ because of a variety of reasons. My boss had mentioned that I was ‘not working out’ but didn’t divulge anything more on that, and also suggested that there was some restructuring that needed to be done. So I assumed that I had been let go. Never once did he say ‘fired’ or terminated’.

Within the week I was in touch with my other boss about my Record of Employment, which is required in Canada to get Employment Insurance (which is a part of your paycheck that is withheld that you can tap into if out of a job and needing a bit of income, but is very minimal). Anyway, she indicated to me that she would send it after my last paycheck of Termination pay.

Termination? What?

I started freaking out. Had I completely misunderstood and they had fired me? I was disappointed that I didn’t have a job, but kind of understood that it was a result of economic changes and that there wasn’t enough work to be done nor money to pay for it. Perhaps when he was offering me reasons for letting me go (or what I understood to be this) i started reading into what he said and making up things that weren’t said. I don’t know.

I knew that what my employer put on my Record of Employment for our seperation would influence the governments amount of money to give me or even give me any. So after finding out that my ROE had not been submitted when I anticipated, I got in touch with my former boss and she informed me it was sent.

I called the organization this morning to see if my paperwork was together and all filled because now I”m a couple weeks behind on receiving anything because of the paperwork. And the gentleman informed me that it was listed that I was terminated from the employment.

So now my account has to be looked into by another person, because we have different stories that don’t agree with one another. *sigh*

There is so much stress looking for a job. I’ve never been good at selling myself and that’s totally when you have to do. I attended a workshop at an Employment councilor that talked about ‘How to keep a job once you have it.” There were alot of things that were hard for me to swallow, because when I was employed I thought I was a pretty good employee. There were some things that I acknowledged that I slacked on, but i didn’t think it was any more than anyone else. I learned I was wrong.

And now that I’ve been pondering these words ‘terminated’ I realize that the last job I left had the same outcome….even though I was told they were letting me go as well. But that was an attitude issue and I had a whole lot of other issues with that whole situation.

its hard when these types of things don’t agree and its a whole lot of ‘he said, she said’ going on.