The thing with privilege is that you have to use it.

This has been something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s something I tweeted about a few weeks back in one of those “thread” things I promised I’d never do (if you need to thread, why not just blog? I know, I even got annoyed with myself for doing it). Anyway, with NZ political news being the way it is in the last few days, it seems even more relevant now. So here I go.

I am privileged. I was born with privilege. I am white, straight and educated (with a university education that I didn’t have to pay for). I am married, I am employed. I am of good health and of sound mind (most of the time). I was raised by two married parents in a state house, that they eventually bought when I was a young teenager. My parents both worked, mum part time and dad full time (with two jobs at some points in life). I’d say we were most definitely working class and I was the first in my family to ever go to University. It was a big thing. What I’m saying is that some of this privilege has come with birth and some by situation, and a lot of the situation stuff can obviously change at any point in our lives; jobs can be lost, relationships can break down, health can suffer. We all hope it won’t but it can. Any of us could end up needed help at any time and we hope to live in a society where there is a safety net.

This brings me back to my original twitter rant a few weeks ago. I had seen someone on twitter make homophobic and racist comments. I had long ago stopped following this person but good old twitter wanted me to see other people’s responses. It made my blood boil. Her comments came in the light of Pride day. She said they were just her opinion, but frankly they were hurtful and quite frankly abusive. She said that people made life choices and she was entitled to her opinion. No. No you aren’t. Being gay or trans or a person of colour is NOT a life choice and you certainly don’t have the right to have an opinion on in. People are born that way.

At this point some people dared to defend her, some citing her lack of intelligence (they maybe had a point there) but defending this kind of behaviour, and even that train of thought come to think about it, is part of the problem. Plenty of people however began to call her out on it and I’m glad they did. I wish I had. I should have. Would it have made a difference? I doubt it. I’ve called her out on it before and she still does it. But more importantly I shouldn’t give up.

So now to The Green party’s announcements this week. The #IAmMetiria hashtag is heartbreaking and if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It is a true representation of how people on benefits feel and what they have experienced. My timeline is flooded with it and quite frankly, New Zealand, it is not good enough. We have to do something about this and we have to change the status quo. This cannot go on. The hashtag has challenged the preconception a lot of people have about people who receive benefits; a preconception often pushed forward in mainstream media.

Will voting for The Greens help my family financially? No. Will it help many many more families in New Zealand? Yes. Will this make New Zealand a better place to live? Yes. Do I want to raise my family in a country that helps everyone when they need it? Yes. I don’t want tax cuts. I want everyone to have everything they need to be warm, healthy and educated. We need to stop thinking about just ourselves and think about others; less about the individual, more about society.

Twitter has educated me. Of course, it’s a bubble. I don’t agree with everything I read but it has given me insight to the struggles other people face and the kind of lives they lead.

If we have privilege we need to use it. We need to use it to help others.

You say I’m acting like a teenager like it’s a bad thing: the first 24 hours of an album release

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Thursday 10pm: I really should go to bed. The kids will be up early tomorrow but I know that if I stay up until midnight there’s a chance that the new album pre-order will download to my phone. The temptation is huge. Being in New Zealand, it’s one of the only perks of being in the fandom. I get to download first.

11pm: I’m in bed, but I’m still awake…and on Twitter. The excitement of the fandom is palpable. I should really go to sleep. I should really switch my phone off. I’m pretty tired, but excited.

11.30pm: Okay, lights off, phone down. Let’s be grown up and responsible. The download will be there when I wake up. It’s only six hours away until I will be up for the day, I can listen to it then.

2am: I wake up. Shall I look at my phone? It’s not even a question really, there it is…the notification: It has downloaded. Wonderland is on my phone.

I creep out of bed so as not to wake the husband or the kids, avoiding the creaky bits on the stairs and rummage through my bag to find my earphones. In the pitch dark, on the sofa I put my earphones in and begin to listen.

I have been waiting for this for months, I could have waited a few more hours but I seriously couldn’t. I tuck my feet under myself and let the music wash over me. If you haven’t yet listened to on earphones make sure you do, you hear so much detail, all the little neat tricks they have squeezed into each song. I am in love straight away.

It’s the middle of the night so I do a little listen of each song to get a quick overview of what, realistically, will be the soundtrack to my life for the next few months at least. I write a few tweets with my views and chat with a few fans online. Some want to know who is singing what, the overall feel of the album. I gladly answer their questions the best I can.

3am: I finally crawl back into bed. Happy.

6am: Time to start the day, I have a quick read of Twitter so see how the album is being received around the world as the time zones wake up. It is good news. A happy fandom is a happy place to be.

9am: Kids safely at school, I begin excessive caffeine consumption to stay awake and listening on repeat to the album on the living room speakers. I’ve organised my week so I don’t need to be doing anything much today. Being able to mulit-task effectively is my super power. I am glad about it today.

11am: An email from takethat.com – my box set has been dispatched from the UK. Being in New Zealand it will probably take weeks but I’m glad it’s on the way.

1pm: The UK finally gets the download and I see hundreds of other people just like me who stayed up late to hear something we have been waiting for months. It’s good to know it’s not just me. The UK tweeters go crazy for it. It’s brilliant.

Twitter goes quiet as they eventually fall asleep and I get on with my day…with Wonderland as the soundtrack, school pick up, swimming lessons, dinner, bath time, bedtime for the kids, and then it all begins again.

8pm: I chat to friends online who are on their way to London to the album signing. I revel in their excitement and I am happy to see them happy. I can’t even begin to imagine how they must be feeling. I know that when I wake up in their morning my feed will be full of their stories, their pics, their selfies and I am looking forward to it.

9pm: I’m exhausted now. Sleep is calling. Was it worth getting up in the middle of the night? Hell yeah. Is the album everything and more than I was expecting? YES,¬†oh YES. Have Take That still got it? Damn yes, they will never lose it.

I love this fandom. It’s my happy place.

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