As Americans we are incredibly lucky, unbelievably privileged, and most of us take it for granted. I know I sure do. As a woman I’m able to walk down the street and expect the same liberties and rights as my male counterparts, if not more, because I’m a lady and we’re taught as children to respect woman.
I grew up truly believing I could be whoever and do whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard enough. I could be a doctor. I could be a truck driver. I could open my own pizza joint or high fashion boutique. Heck, I could be the first female president if I set my mind to it. My future had infinite opportunity because I grew up in a peaceful society of prosperity and innovation. The American Dream.
I’ve been moved to write this close to midnight after I sat down and started reading a book. I haven’t put it down until now. The Girl Who Escaped ISIS is a riveting account of 19 year old Farida as she was torn from her family and captured by ISIS. Before she was captured, she lead a peaceful, humble life minding her own business aspiring to be a teacher. She lived in a village that had 3 grocery stores. When food ran out, it simply ran out. Her nightmare happened in 2014.
2014. That was only 4 years ago. I can acutely remember what I was doing as she hears the gunshots that murder her favorite brother and father. 4 years ago I was thinking I had it rough working 3 jobs living out of my tent because rent was too expensive to afford in Jackson, WY. While I was complaining about getting up at 5am to drive in to work, wash my face and brush my teeth in the employee bathroom, Farida was sitting in her own vomit clutching the hand of her friend in a pitch black room dreading who or what would come through the door.
I know this isn’t revolutionary. You may be reading this saying “Duh Becca, have you lived under a rock?” No. But we see photos of tragedies and atrocities, maybe a video, and go on with our normal lives because this is the paradise we live in. It’s all around us. We’re not surrounded by terror and horrific people every day. We live a very good life in a very privileged country.
And yet, how many times do we find ourselves complaining about little things every day? Complaining about the weather, the traffic, the president, the service at the restaurant, who looked at you distastefully, the Starbucks non-fat latte that isn’t the perfect temperature. My Dad uses a phrase quite a bit when I ask how he’s doing. He responds “I’m better than I deserve to be”.
It’s pathetic what I used to complain about. I’m ashamed with my ignorance and what I’ve taken for grand. We are all so incredibly lucky in our own ways. No matter our position in life, there is always someone who has it worse than us. Way way way worse.
We can’t change the evil. We can’t change the cheats and the money mongrels and those who have no moral compass. Instead, we can advocate for the good in the world. Fight to the core for what you believe in. Don’t just share horrid news stories on Facebook.
Do good, be good. Be more than good. Be someone who takes a stand for it is better to stand for something than fall into the turbulent waters of hesitation and manipulation. Don’t be a bobble head, get on your feet and go do something.
Read and support Farida Khalaf. Buy her book on Amazon by clicking the photo above