Aloha . . . Mahalo . . . Hula . . . Hana Hou . . . are a few Hawaiian words I’ve learned this week while visiting Hawaii. You know, I think Hawaii is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen with its luscious green mountains and its sparkling blue beaches. There is something special about this place that makes me want to be less troll-like to people who attempt to break my camel’s back or who attempt to pull my last nerve. Indeed, Hawaii is a special place. Perhaps, it has something to do with the bounty of green vegetation that encircles the island. And given that I grew up in an inner city, went to school in an inner city, and probably will die in an inner city, seeing the abundance of fauna and flora is simultaneously breathtaking and a little disturbing as well.
Breathtaking for all the reasons listed above. But disturbing because I seem to be allergic to Mother Nature and of course I have capitalism, pollution, and chemically enriched foods to thank for all of this. Furthermore, seeing all the vegetation and the beauty of Hawaii is equally unsettling because it reminds me of how privileged I am and how many in my immediate biological family will never be able to visit the land of Hawaii because they do not have the funds and/or time to do so.
Yep, you’ve guessed it this blog is not about Hawaii per se, but more about my inner turmoil with dealing with my increasing class privilege. I know the phrase “inner turmoil” seems a tad bit dramatic, but it’s the best phrase I can conjure up to use while struggling with jet lag. Also, Hawaii is a metaphor for talking about privilege. Well, even though my going to Hawaii was based on my services of being a part-time grad school nanny. It still feels like a privileged state because I did not have to pay for anything. Furthermore, the child was extremely well-behaved and I had an abundance of time to explore Hawaii. So, to say the least I felt inner turmoil about being in Hawaii when so many in my family struggles to keep their heads above water.
Recently, my mother told me she and my two younger siblings will have to move yet again because of a faulty housing agreement. This will make the fifth time they have moved in the last five years. Of course, my mother told me not to worry about her because she’s a hustler, but I can’t stop worrying about her and the need for my younger brother and sister to have a stable place to lay their heads. In addition to this, my older sister is continuously in and out of the hospital because her insurance–which she got only a year ago after working at the job for two years–does not provide her with the best doctors to ensure correct diagnoses. And these examples of hardships are just the tip of the iceberg.
In response to me telling people I have “inner turmoil” about my class privilege, they say, “Well, you’ve made the right decisions in life. You’ve worked hard in school and so you deserve to have.” There is something unsavory about their response because they assume I’ve made the right decisions at every moment of my life and that if you make one bad decision than you are forever doomed to be poor living pay check to pay check.