Of Education and Privilege

American Film Institute Screenwriting Program Graduation 1993

American Film Institute Screenwriting Program Graduation 1993

When I arrived in the US in 1985, I relived the high of privilege to which I had been exposed when I had been trafficked to this country as a nine year old girl. Living in the vague expectation that something big was about to happen, I was a guest at parties in enormous apartments overlooking Central Park, invited to dinners over Krug champagne, and marveled at by a business tycoon who told me, somewhat incredulously, that I was on his level. At the time, I believed he thought of us as equals because I didn't want anything from him, rather than that the powerful projection of an American perpetrator had been triggered by setting foot once more on American soil, and I exuded all he had once predicted. Under the admiring gaze of the rich and powerful, I felt that high once again, which leaves one feeling very light - lifted off the ground - living on a cloud above humanity, disconnected from the reality of life, and from one's own and others' sorrow and pain.

Privilege has been the greatest and most successful ploy to create division in this country. All the chances I so effortlessly received when I came to this country were at the expense of others, who were looked down upon while I was lifted up, who were put in jail when I could be free, who were deported while I could stay, and who were traumatized while my trauma was invisible.

The New York high life left me wanting. I studied at Stella Adler as a way to learn English, and wrote a play, poems, a short film, and eventually applied, at a friend's urging, to the American Film Institute Conservatory, which accepted students based on their work with or without a bachelor's degree, and I was accepted as a screenwriter. The deposit to secure my spot was paid by a wealthy sponsor. I went from 9th grade straight to a Masters program, all because of my privilege.

It is not rare to be both extremely traumatized and very privileged - that much I've learned from my perpetrators - but it is rare that someone should not have any physical attachment to their wealthy perpetrators, yet exude their aura, which gave me the freedom to pursue healing. Today I'm grateful to share that healing with all those who lack my privilege, and teach those who are privileged that it can be a drug like any other, covering over trauma.

The more privilege one has, the more likely one is to get stuck in material consciousness - a belief system based on repression of feelings surrounding previous trauma, leaving one poor in spirit, unaware of the invisible subtle forces that reign the visible world. Attachment to matter as the ultimate reality is from the dark ages.

Lack of privilege often leads one to hit bottom - the hard beginnings of the spiritual life, when all is lost, and one is faced with life's basic questions "What is the purpose of life?" - "Who am I?" These questions lead to recovery, trauma is uncovered, repressed feelings felt, and the true self beyond body identification begins to emerge.

For these reasons I am absolutely grateful for everything. I'm grateful for the events of my past, because the insights I received in the healing process, were lessons I wanted and needed for my personal journey, stretching beyond this life. I'm grateful for my privilege and the unique circumstances which allowed me to spend 30 years to uncover my past and sort through the confusion, pain, betrayals, violence and perverted love. I'm grateful for the unconditional love I've received, the sweetness and countless gestures of kindness that got me through on dark days. Love is in the small things, yet it is the same great unifying force that permeates all of creation, holding universes together, drawing every particle, every molecule, everything and every person back to its divine source - where we know we are one.

M Becker