If I wanted to, I could call everything about me an accident of birth.
At birth, very little was known of me other than the fact that I was not a boy, as my parents had been repeatedly assured I would be. Gazing at their little girl, my parents wondered what to do next. They had only a boy name chosen, and all my baby clothes, blankets, decor, etc. were blue.
They observed that, in addition to being female, I was also
gifted with a healthy set of lungs
Perhaps because the chosen boy's name began with J, they focused on girl J names, somehow settling on Julie which was only slightly less popular than Jennifer.
Armed with a trendy girlie name and blue accessories, I revealed more about myself:
decent sleeper although tremendous early bird
all parts in working order
But who was I? What could I do? Where did I belong?
From that point forward, it gets murkier. What is developed and what is gifted? I am also
better at languages and arts than maths
not very limber
These characteristics plus my life situation and experiences make me. I would not---could not---be the person I am under a different set of circumstances.
The life I lead is irrevocably influenced by genetics and the life I was born into: the accidents of birth. The point that it's an accident is crucial: it means there is nothing more worthy about me that brought me blessings and nothing less worthy about me that brought me curses.
Perhaps behind the accident is an intelligent design; regardless, it doesn't display a preference or favor.
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.
Herman Melville, US novelist & sailor (1819 - 1891)
It's funny how I never know how to answer the question, "Where are you from?" even though people have repeatedly told me it's a straightforward thing. My hesitation and uncertainty are often mistaken for hedging and dishonesty. I'm just not sure which place to claim. I usually begin with the place I loved best: Massachusetts' North Shore. I quickly clarify I'm not *from* there; I just lived there a long time and loved it best. I don't think I've ever met a listener of my long, drawn-out explanation of where I am from who understood.
Perhaps I ought to treat it as a rhetorical question, such as, "How are you?" with requisite reply of, "I'm fine thanks."
Therefore, I should select a single city, preferably well-known, and say that.
But which one? Should I say the town of my birth? The town we moved to nine months later? The place we moved a year after that? The various areas of a big city we bounced among? The city we moved to and from where I graduated high school?
I think the real answer to the question is that I am from middle-class America. I think that says it all, and region is almost irrelevant.
Isn't that something, these days, that socioeconomic class binds more than regional culture.
As with any life, though, it all began as an accident of birth. At the end of the day, I still am like any other human being...I just happen to have either similar or different circumstances. But I still breathe air, need food, and work hard to figure out how to do best by my kids with what I have.
“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Read what other bloggers have to say about the Accident of Birth
Snoskred wrote Accident of birth - the SCARY country.
Mary-LUE wrote A Pair of Ducks? No, a Paradox!
Thailand Gal wrote Forgiving an accident of birth?
Lawyer mama wrote Of Privilege and Prejudice
Slouching Mom wrote An Accident of Birth
Sober Briquette wrote The Ugly Duckling
Ally of Zone family wrote Accident of Birth
Emily of Wheels on the Bus wrote Funeral Etiquette
Kim at After the Ball wrote Learning Difficulties
Gwen wrote Preaching to the Choir
Other links related to aspects of this topic I think you ought to read. And because what I think matters above all else (BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!) I hope you will.
Almsgiving or Tipping? Cecilieaux of Shavings Off My Mind tackles whether donations or additional pay are the better method of assistance in overcoming poverty.
The above references a Washington Post article about three members of Congress (the only ones not too pansy-assed to try this) who spent a week living on $21, the equivalent of weekly food stamps. Go read Lawmakers Find $21 a Week Doesn't Buy a Lot of Groceries.
And finally, The Secret, either directly or indirectly, has come up again with this topic. I think it is well known that I---to put it politely and diplomatically---think this is utter shit. So, I'd like to link you to two awesome articles about this:
THE SECRET: Think It and Make It So By Marianne Williamson
Andrea at A Garden of Nna Mmoy wrote Secrets and Lies
Note: If you have a post you are putting up today or something related, send me the link!
Next week...I'm going to spin off of the above links. Have you kept a secret or have you lied, directly or by ommission, about something big? How did you make your decision---did it bring about justice? How did forgiveness fit in (or not)? Would you do it the same mext time? OR flip it and have it be someone kept a secret or lied to you. Or both. And feel free to give me feedback about this topic or suggest on. This is due NEXT WEDNESDAY.
copyright text and images 2007 Julie Pippert