A Sense Of Entitlement – Do you deserve it?
I go to a gym, nothing wrong with that right? I have got to that age where frankly if I don’t exercise the many years of drinking and body abuse I have indulged in, starts to show. There were many obstacles for me to overcome before I could go regularly to a gym, the obvious being body image. I never, NEVER, expected that I would voluntarily go to a place to exercise.
It wasn’t until I had a series of illness and weight gain, I knew that I had to do something to sort myself out. I turned up and laughed at the idea of wearing Lycra and caring about owning trainers. I now have a mantra of ‘everyone is working to their own personal best’. I do not compare myself physically to others, my body has it’s own story and everyone is on their own journey. I take care of myself so I can be an active parent, as a family we have created memories of mountain climbing and swimming. I am becoming healthier and fitter in a gentle way and at my own pace.
I am intrigued though by the variety of naked bodies I regularly see in the changing rooms, the stretch marks, the taut tummies, wrinkled bottoms or pert breasts. Out in the gym I see bald sweaty heads, muscled arms, men recovering from broken bones, women hoisted into a pool – as water is the only thing that soothes them. I love the young mother teaching her children to swim and I’m inspired by the pensioner who refuses to allow his legs to defeat him.
Underneath the physicality of the place and beyond these challenges is a deeper one for me. Some places are saturated in a sense of entitlement and I can’t help but walk into great walls of it in this place. There is no logical reason for me to respond in the way that I do.
I have thoughts like:
‘When will they find out about me?’
‘How long will it be before I get asked to leave?’
It’s not just at this gym, other places, posh restaurants, spas, on my MA course, anywhere where there are people with money, I question my right to be there. It’s more normal I believe to have thoughts in these places like,
‘What a treat!’
‘Aren’t I lucky’
Or more extremely, thoughts from the minds of those whose sense of entitlement runs so deep that it extends to the people around them. I have witnessed this expectation demanding that others around them are here to serve and that luxury is as normal as breathing.
Much as I would love a life full of ease, luxury and foreign holidays, I am deeply grateful I know that it’s not just me that deserves to be treated well. I appreciate the care givers, cleaners, shop keepers, shelf-stackers, teachers, road sweepers, story tellers, artists, all the myriad parts of the whole that we as humans make. I am grateful that when I walk into a place that is full of decadence I can see past the moment that I am standing in and beyond, to the hard work and sweat that has made it happen.
I am grateful for the weight of this entitlement in the air, it grounds me in my body, I know I won’t be part of that ‘gang’ and I don’t strive to be.
I am led back to my own path as I pick over the stones that lay there, the stories of people who are barely surviving deafen me. My skin is sensitive to the thoughts of others and I know in many ways I am living an entitled life, I have food, clothes, family and friends that love me. I calm myself breathe deep and tell myself once more I deserve good things, I deserve good things.