I was told recently by someone very close to me that they felt I had lived a "benign life". Quite a lot of emotions went through me in a matter of seconds. But, I settled on offended. I took that statement as an insult, as this person somehow telling me my life hasn't been difficult, that I haven't faced adversity, that things have been easy for me. I've never taken well to those types of "accusations", I like to be thought of as a person who has worked hard through thick and thin to get where I am. But, more than that I felt guilty because I knew she was right. In the grand scheme of things, in the larger view of pain and suffering, my life has been benign. If you look at the definition of the word it makes sense: gentle; kindly, not harmful in affect. It would be silly of me to say I regret the fact that I have had a gentle life (overall), I don’t want this to come off as me wishing for more struggles. But, what I struggle with is all of the “why me’s?” Why do I deserve the gentle life, the lucky breaks? What have I done that others haven’t? People, no matter the circumstance, don’t deserve bad things to happen to them, so who’s to say who deserves good things to happen to them?
Now, this isn't to say I haven't struggled in my own way. I spent most of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood being called a "fatass" by a multitude of individuals; this being just the tip of the iceberg of my struggle with my weight/ health/ relationship with food. These issues have led me to a lifetime struggle with self-doubt, low self-esteem and depression, and not to mention a horrible relationship with food. I've lost a good amount of family members as well as family friends. I’ve seen loss and I’ve walked along with those struggling to get through life. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the best and worst of the world and shared in the joys and sorrows of many. But, when I look at some of my friends and family, people who mean the world to me who have beaten cancer, people who have lost friends far too young, people who have lost their parents, people who have gone through abusive relationships and come out stronger than they were before, people who have seen the worst in life and been through the worst in life and have made it, people who have struggled with addiction, people who have lost everything they own in natural disasters. I truly know some of the strongest people on the planet.
When I look at the struggles of my life and what some of my loved ones have been through I realize I’ve had it easy. When my aunt was my age she had already watched her older sister lose her battle with cancer and was in the process of watching her oldest brother lose his battle with AIDS, and all this while raising a young family. Again, strongest people on the planet.
I don’t want to seem like I am wishing for bad things to happen to me so I feel worthy of this life, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel guilty for being on the outside looking in on so many people’s pain. I want to be able to take away some of this pain and put it on me, to know that I’ve somehow spared people from harm, knowing that I can help carry their burdens with them. The bottom line is that I carry guilt knowing that I couldn’t save them, that I couldn’t prevent these things from happening or protect the people I love. I have guilt, I carry the guilt of a benign life.