I know that I should never be too upset when the bad stuff happens to me because they aren’t usually that big of a deal. Most of the time it’s simple, like finding a bunch of maggots in a chocolate box (the hardest part is finding somewhere to put the maggots in the winter where you’re sure they won’t freeze to death. I’m an animal Pacifist and a Buddhist). Sometimes it is relatively, life changing big, like not being accepted into a school or program. That’s pretty big, but I shouldn’t curse the world and denounce my belief in fairness and equality for that, because I know there are much larger things going on. I always tell myself, it could always be worse.
I always know that it could be much worse and I am incredibly lucky to be here in first world Canada.
But I don’t feel it. Because even though I know it, I know it like an elementary kid reading a calculus book and “knowing” that x-squared is a quadratic formula.
I grew up with people who know it and also remember it. They have felt it. And, more importantly, they’ve grown up.
A majority of adults in my life have never grown up like my family members have. I might never go a day hungry. I will never fear the sound of machine guns when I walk out in the open. I will never know the paranoia that bandits will raid my village, or feel the burn of hot sands on my feet, searing my soles and skin beyond the hope of healing. With every difficult day I’ve had I always ended it on a warm bed after a (admittedly sometimes cold) shower, even if it was in a dank apartment.
But maybe that’s okay. Maybe the kind of knowledge I have is sufficient. As long as some part of me can keeps saying It could be worse, it is a sign that I don’t have to despair. And my lack of knowledge is a constant reminder that I owe my parents forever, for what they went through to bring me and all of the young ones here in Canada. And though I never will know fully how deeply I owe them, I will at least understand that something is there to to be owed.