Describe a Challenge You Overcame Essay Example
“If there have been times in your life when you skipped a meal because there was no food in the house, take one step backwards,” as I mustered up the courage to take a step backwards; the weight of the word privilege sank in. That day in class, we were doing an exercise designed to give us an opportunity to further understand privilege.
I knew that at seventeen, I had experienced some of life’s toughest challenges. I knew that I never had the “fanciest” clothes, and that I dare not ask, because we could not afford them. I knew that I would never be able to go on extravagant vacations to popular places, like my friends did every summer. I knew that I went to an elementary school where white people were considered the minority. I knew that I was constantly made fun of and called derogatory terms because I was “too white”. I knew that I would never be able to invite friends over for dinner, because we had barely enough food to feed us. I knew that I had to work three jobs during high school to make ends meet. I knew that my parents were divorced, and that my dad raised me on his own. I knew that my dad was unemployed over and over again. Yet, I never knew- until this activity- that I was considered “underprivileged”.
Every challenge, trial, and obstacle that I faced I would constantly remind myself of the quote “You are not to blame for what happened to you as a child- but you can do something about it now” by Doctor Susan Forward. Her words had a way of speaking to me, and allowing me to overcome my trials. Trials and hardships were always viewed as opportunities to grow, to experience new things, and to find out what my purpose was—without all the glam. After all, there was no reason to feel sad about by my experiences; I knew they were not my fault and I was not to blame. The choice was mine, I could either view them as tragedies or as opportunities to find my purpose. I viewed challenges differently than most, I never assumed that they determined my privilege status. Before this activity, I was embarrassed because I viewed myself as privileged. Society taught me that if you were privileged you were considered arrogant. I viewed myself as privileged because, despite the horrible things I faced I still had more advantages than some humans.
Some people never had the advantage of being born in the United States of America, I did. Some never learned how to speak english, I did. Others never had a law that required them to receive proper education, I did. Most people never had the ability to speak, to write, and to read properly, I did. In parts of the world, people did not get to choose whom they worshiped, I did. Some women never had the right to make their own choices, I did.
In this short ten minute activity where my friends progressed forward, I appeared to be stagnant. I became more burdened when new questions, doubts, insecurities, and unfamiliar feelings of uneasiness began to seep into my thoughts. It was then that I had to conquer my nerves and evaluate what the word ‘privilege’ actually meant and what my perspective of it was. I had to decide if I thought that privilege was a state of mind or a state of being.
If privilege was a state of being, was I going to be “underprivileged” my whole life? Was I okay with my friends being “more privileged” than me? Throughout my whole life, society always defined privilege as a negative thing, and I was always nervous to share what my privileges were. However, in that moment being one of the few people who were considered “underprivileged” seemed just as embarrassing. Was this scale of privilege reality? It could not measure my talents, my intelligence, my passions, my heart, my knowledge, or my personality. It could not rate my ability to be empathetic, sympathetic, and compassionate. It could not rank what I thought of my experiences, who I was or what I did. It did not take into account my features or if I was funny. It had no idea if I was kind, beautiful, or giving. All it could determine and rank was my privilege status based upon literal things that I went through. It ranked me based upon the unrealistic values that as a society we decided determine our place in this world.
Privilege is a state of mind. We must decide if we are going to be pessimistic or optimistic about the things we go through. Should we compare our worst to everyone's best or should we realize that we may have it better than some? (should i explain why i think this more or leave it)
The negative connotations that we associate the word privilege [or any form of it] with, are unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason that we should be hateful towards people. Absolutely no reason we should throw the word ‘privilege’ around as if it is an insult. There is absolutely no reason to act differently towards people based upon the facts of there situations. Privilege is a gift, giving you the ability to have things that others may not be able to have- tangible or intangible.
As a society, we need to stop forming our perspectives on people based upon what they went through. We need to take into account the person as a whole. It is our duty to the future generation to teach them that underprivileged and privileged are a state of mind. It is our obligation to teach them that no game, activity or person can determine their status. They get to decide for themselves. Continuing to label people with the word ‘ underprivileged’ or using ‘ privilege’ as a bad thing will take the human race down a path of social pariah (i think this is the wrong use of this word but i’m not sure). We will cease to be successful. There is no happy medium- someone is always going to have more than you and someone is going to always have less- yet, we continuously act as if there is and it is disgusting. No one should ever be outcasted because they have enough or because they have too little.
Yes, maybe I have had unfortunate circumstances that some never had to deal with. Yes, I am more fortunate than some. Guess what, you, your parents, you grandparents, and your friends are just like me. It is okay. Yes, I was one of the only people left in the back, but this was not my truth. It was not the truth of all the kids in front of me. This does not have to be your truth. If I ever have to do this activity again, or if you ever do this activity, I hope that you will know that you are more than a label. That your truth goes far beyond the status of your privilege- however you choose to identify your privilege.