Just a warning folks, this post may contain some rather uncharacteristic swearing. First of all, I want to talk about money and specifically, my lack of it. Why is it that people don’t acknowledge that you are struggling or make it somehow easier for you? Why is it a subject that I am secretly (and now openly on the blog) ashamed of?
Let me even more brutally honest, I haven’t really had to deal with lacking means before. I mean there were degrees of how comfortable I felt spending my parents’ money and mostly I did it very carefully. I chose cheap (and once run-down) accommodation, I rarely shopped and mostly with a budget on sale. I didn’t even do much extraneous travelling to save on costs. But still I lived a privileged life. I didn’t think of working for money and saving. I thought I’ll do what I really want to do and earn enough with that! What a brilliant fucking idea.
Typically, I’d like to blame my parents, my father specifically, for not kicking me up my ass. I mean I think he tried but I am really stubborn and he utterly failed to instill in me the notion that money is really important. Even though my Mom resented somewhat supporting her adult kids with her hard earned money, she too failed to say that money is what makes the world go round. Maybe they didn’t know it would feel this way. When they got married they too struggled. They seem to think that it’s not a big deal that we do. They think there are things more important than money and spend big amounts on giving and charity. It’s easy for rich people to say that. I blame them for raising women with the idea that they were equal and could do anything without giving them the push and pressure we reserve for our sons. You’re going to have to support yourself, your family and us. Really if I had that hanging over my head, I’d have been better prepared for the world.
So now, as far as I know, in our social circle, family and friends we are by far the poorest. We have been trying for over a year now to get out of this shithole location, get better jobs, and save some money. I can safely say that we have failed on each account, not because we are morons, but because it is really very, very difficult in a damned location, without money and without contacts or support. If your car breaks down, your insurance that you pay a fortune for weasels out (hate you Progressive). Got medical bills, your insurance will fail on you too. Your rent will go up and you will lose your job. People will ask you, why didn’t you go to so and so’s wedding?, and when you honestly answer I couldn’t afford it, they will be silent as if they forgot the times when they were unable to travel because of finances.
Also, if you don’t make it soon after college, well you’re basically screwed. There is no place for 30 and struggling. Even the characters on Friends started getting their shit together by 30. Rachel was no longer a waitress and was working for Ralph Lauren and Monica had her own restaurant. Fine Joey was always up and down but hey, he’s an actor.
Another thing that really grinds my gears is people who think they have good jobs, salaries and or wealth because they deserve it. It pisses me off hugely to see people who came from struggling families grow up, become engineers or management consultants and then turn around and forget that. They can now turn around and say, “I don’t support higher taxes because my dumbass superficial wife likes to buy Prada bags and post pictures of them on facebook.” It makes me wonder if they’ve forgotten the aid they got for their education, the fees waived, the medical bills paid by the state for them and the sick parents.
If I could really be honest, this is what I would say to them: “How could you forget all that? Surely the help you got from rich relatives, the state etc enabled you. Yet you think you stand on your own? I am not denying that hard work went in to it but so did luck and help. And a giant fuck you to you if you don’t think poor people work hard. HD works full-time, over-time, shitty hours in the night, loses out on socializing, applies to jobs, goes for interviews, AND cooks, does some housework and chores. YOU play video games and watch movies in your downtime. So don’t justify your fancy apartment by “I work hard and I deserve it”. Say the truth, “I have the money and I can spend it any way I want.” For all your liberal progressive ways, you don’t think you should be cooking and cleaning like your wife does because you bring in more money than she does.”
I have a less angry point to make here so if you think this is just a rant about my own situation, yes it is, but it’s also one about others’ situation. If I struggle with my education and background and position of privilege, then how do those who don’t have these things even stand a chance? And why are we fooling ourselves that they do? America is not a fair playing ground, anymore than anywhere else in the world is. I have been applying to law school finally in the US in order to complement all my other degrees because they aren’t good enough for the morons here (yes sarcasm) and I am shocked by how uneven the playing field is again and again. I am shocked at the costs I had to incur just to go through the process of applying let alone actually attending school. Who are we kidding here? I don’t believe just anybody can go to school here. The only people who make it from a truly poor background have to be some kind of geniuses or have benefactors or something. But any one from a rich background can do this as they can have people who pay the bills while they sit for exams, have nannies and cleaners.
ANYWAY, now that I am done with this particular rant and feeling better I also wanted to include a link to an author interview I heard on NPR. It’s a book called The Interestings that admittedly I haven’t read but it ties in with how we define success compared to those around us. Are we happy just to be living a comfortable life or do we regret not being ‘wildly successful’? I know I’m taking the conversation in a different direction here than from the money issue but I feel that it all ties in somehow for me. Check it out for yourselves… and wish me luck in my pursuit of dough.