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  • Writer's picturejennifer jade merrihue

On Privilege

There's nothing worse than someone

The way it feels in my body when I hear this, is as though chunks of me are rotting off.


It's like my body knows something is so fucking wrong about this, but can't see it clearly or do anything immediate to fix it so it dies a little.

I have such a visceral response because I have been one of these people.

I had so much guilt as a kid that I got clean water while others didn't. That I got to go on trips and others didn't. That I had school and clean clothes and others did not. I felt deep deep shame that my parents had enough money for adventure.

What I did with my decades of shame was aggressively channel it into trying to save the world.

I worked for under minimum wage for non-profits, worked for free, worked all the time, feeding everyone who knew me, giving away money, food, time, service, service, service.

It was never enough.

I felt personally responsible for not helping more refugees even though every day I was devoted to it.

While doing that, I also felt crippling guilt that I wasn't helping the environmentalists or prisoners, or the next thing or the next thing. It was never enough.

This is what shame will do.

It will have you obsessively overcompensate in a way that burns you out.

You are no help to anyone exhausted, broke, sick, and hopeless.

We can't all fix everything all the time.

There are billions of us.

It makes sense that some take care of the earth, some the air, some the people, some each other, some themselves, some politics, some race, some rights around sexuality...ect. We are divided so we can conquer. Ideally things that serve the most of us since we all are equally entitled to earth outside of the rules and regulations and meanings we invented and imposed on everyone.

But one thing that wont help is shame. It has you overcompensating without owning the thing that’s driving you. That thing will drive you to death because it doesn't actually need anything external.

All shame needs is permission.

The end.

Permission allows and acknowledges what’s already in you. It frees up energy and space that would be otherwise used to deny, defend, and overcompensate for the shameful thing/ act/ thought/ desire- to unconsciously prove that we’re not bad people, that we are worthy of love, and are doing our best.

I see people drive themselves insane with crazy stories - they should be further in their career, they should have kids and be married, they should be a certain weight, they should do more for others, they should be better parents.

Shame will not sustainably motivate you to do any of this. It will only wear you thin and probably contribute to you not doing the thing you want to do...thus causing you more shame.

See the cycle?

Life long motivation comes from ease, from the possibility of success, from positive reinforcement and support...

You can get this by finding the shame- maybe from decades ago. Owning it. Giving it a damn ceremony if it wants it. As seeing what you actually want in life when it's not focused on proving what you are or are not. The more you own the things you want, even the things you think are shameful- the less power they have over unconsciously controlling your actions, and the more YOU get to choose what you do with them.

So with privilege and with racism and with sexism; these things are in every single one of us because we were born into and conditioned by a racist, sexist society with lots of different levels of privilege. So it's in us and we want to change that. Own it. Free yourself and others from the putrefying burden of hearing you deny the undeniable in order to look good.

Stop wasting a second more of your precious life trying to convince yourself and others that the truth is untrue and instead own it, claim you want to change it, and inspire the WHOLE world to do the same by living the example of changing it even if it’s messy and imperfect.

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