Friday, September 2, 2016
Yesterday I was given a raise, one that I knew was coming but it was larger than anticipated. It was followed by some very nice compliments about how I do my job.
Said job happens to be one I genuinely love doing. It is also in the field I went to school for and I'm able to do it from home, another huge plus.
I work two jobs and I realized this morning that I have been at my other job for five years. It is also in a field I worked hard to earn a degree in and it is what has supported me during these past five and a half years of my second round of school. Money was pretty tight during this time. Without that job and the flexibility it provided (I also do this job from home) I'd have struggled far more financially.
I start teaching a new dance class next week. It is a class that I have wanted to teach for several years but could not due to the amount of time school occupied in my life. It is class that could only be done with the additional help of several other people (some really fantastic musicians). The class would also not happen if I didn't have a minimum number of preregistered students, which I have.
Along those same lines my student belly dance troupe officially forms next week. This too is something I have been working towards for sometime. Now that school is done I have the time and resources to dedicate to it.
I've started a new exercise program and because of it I'm starting to feel okay about my body. I feel stronger and my endurance is up. I feel more at home in my own skin. I'm feeling more comfortable with what I see in the mirror.
My needs are met. I'm fed, housed, reasonably safe and I have good people in my life.
I will say that life is good. I will say I am grateful. I might even say (see below) that I'm lucky. What I won't say is that I'm blessed. Why?
There are some things that I can't control; some things are, for better or worse, just dumb luck. I was born into a fairly typical middle class family to educated parents; no silver spoons here but we didn't starve either. I was born with a skin color that gives me a certain about of privilege in this world, but I was also born with a gender that means I'm more likely to be seen as less competent, told I'm being emotional or that it's okay to talk over me. I am fortunate enough to have been born into a time where technology is such that I can work from home and where, at least for now and thanks to a subsidy, I can afford health insurance. My DNA, who my parents are and the time into which I was born are things I had pretty much zero control over.
However the rest of it...that's mostly me and the work I have done. It is my 25 years of experience in the work force. It is the cumulative seven years of school that I have completed. It is the hours of practice and study I have put into my creative work. It is the double down on self care I have done over the eight months to get my head on straight. It is the community that surrounds me.
To say that I am blessed or that the universe is somehow responsible for my state of well being to me not only negates the hard work that I put into getting to where I am right now, it implies that I am some how being rewarded for being special.
(Yeah, yeah...we are all special. Here's your gold star.)
It also implies that anyone who is not succeeding or is not in a great place is somehow less favored. The universe has my back pal, but you...you must be doing something wrong because otherwise you'd be in your happy place too. In the new age world we have The Secret and some Christian sects have their prosperity theology. Your earthly rewards are because the universe or God looked upon your shining example of a life or soul and is making it rain money and blessings upon your life.
(Right. Donald Trump must for sure have all of his spiritual ducks in a row because by that logic the Universe/God seems to hella favor him...)
I do not call by myself an atheist, and I do believe that all life is in some way connected, if only that we come from the same source, the same building blocks of matter. I believe our subconscious minds are extremely powerful and more wise than we realize. I meditate, I even at times pray - though is it generally more a way of finding communion with existence than it is asking for anything. I find great beauty in ritual and religious celebration. But I don't believe that the universe really pays all that much attention to us individually. We are here and we must make our own way as best we can. Thankfully, for many of us, there are others who help us along our way - but for many others that is not the case.
There have been times when I have been hungry, homeless and very alone. Today, I am grateful for all of the good things in my life. I have indeed worked hard to get here...