How can I begin to count my blessings?

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CLICK HERE FOR POEM

How can I begin to count my blessings?

Katty Cowles, 23

This poem is really an attempt to ‘check my privilege’ on paper. It’s about the love and respect I have for my parents, and my wonder at the charmed life they gave me. But as much as it’s a love letter to home, to my safe and leafy suburb, it’s not one intended to be soothing. I wanted to grapple with some of the more guilt-inducing questions I often ask myself and that seem to come with the territory of privilege: I wonder how I might not be worthy; how I can begin to repay my parents; how it is that I’m only just beginning to cultivate a sense of gratitude for it all.

And then there is the myth of the ‘self-esteem’ movement, which told parents like mine that catering to a child’s every need would build character and confidence. By spoiling us in this ‘by the book’ way, we became complacent, entitled, highly competitive. I wonder about the effect of being ‘special’ and the weight of expectation that was placed on myself and my friends; I wonder if it’s made us less satisfied, generally, less content in ourselves and our successes, less forgiving of our shortcomings. If I could go back, would I change all that? Or would I just say thank you?

1561

On Returning Home