Wednesday, December 26, 2007

flawed

i went to a fabulous christmas party on christmas eve. it was one of those parties that you see on tv, where everyone is "cool" and basically the kind of party you WANT to be invited to. the couple actually doesn't live too far away from my neighborhood. i had a great time but couldn't help wondering how much money, or how little money these people had. these people are my friends, i guess i can call them that by now. we're not close, but we're friends.

i keep trying to convince myself that they are just in debt. who cares. anyone can finance a bunch of crap to furnish a house on credit. i kept telling myself things like: well, if they were so well off, their kitchen and bathroom would have been more updated, despite the fact that all of their things were nice and new. things and cars don't mean a whole lot to me. anyone can use a charge card. all the furniture and appliances were really plush and nice. but the kitchen and the bath kind of reminded me the "status level" of my house. but this couple is always travelling, has two fancy cars, nice things, which makes me think they have money. but i kept looking for ways to convince myself otherwise.

why do i care? why was i obsessing over it (okay, not obsessing but it crossed my mind several times that night). i have a major personality flaw when it comes to that kind of thing. i totally recognize it. and i don't think i can do anything about it. i think it's just in my genes.

maybe it's some "self-help" mechanism that my brain kicks in so that i don't feel bad about what i have or have not accomplished? are other people like this? i just assume that most everyone else is like this too, and so i have a hard time throwing parties with people i don't know well. i assume they are sizing me up like i size them up.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

maybe their priorities are simply different than yours, and being able to travel, etc., means more to them than having all the latest status bells & whistles (things that you might think are more important) in their kitchen or bathroom.

*shrug*

trina

Amy said...

i don't think that you shouldn't throw parties because you feel that people are sizing you up. the majority of people i know don't care what kind of things you have in your house but whether or not the party is fun. then again i am 23 and most of my friends are just started out in life... anyway i've been reading your blog alot because i am also in a relationship with a white male and other bw/wm relationships fascinate me. here are some other bw/wm blogs that i read:

http://restofyesterday.blogspot.com/

http://my-it-list.blogspot.com/

http://ameyerificlife.blogspot.com/

http://www.kimmitroy.com/
http://myfamilyscene.blogspot.com/

i hope you enjoy :)

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to be self righteous and preach at you about your inate feelings like other bloggers in your post do, but I do feel as if you were quantifying the host/hostess of the party on whats only in 2 rooms of their house. When you attend a party its not to stare but to mingle and enjoy the moment. Did you have fun? Did you talk to anybody there? Or where you just walking around inspecting everything questioning whether its on credit card or not. If the stuff they have in the bathroom may not be new how do you know they were handed down through family tradition? Did you even think of that? Did you think that they might at least like/love what they own and dont wish to change those? Best of luck on trying to fix your insanity.

Lee said...

It's a sickness.

jerr452 said...

I'm new to this blog and clearly basing my comments on amateur psychology, but it sounds like you really do care about material things. It sounds like you aspire to the storybook ideal that one should be happy with a healthy and well-fed self & family. However the reality is that in the United States those are essentially basic rights. Hospitals can't deny you admission and no one starves to death in this country. When your basic needs are met, suddenly the ability to get caught up in the usual status symbols of life consumes people. So like it or not the only way that you're likely to stop making those types of observations is to 1) get richer & spend more lavishly than your hosts or 2) truly change your worldview, which means living a life serving the less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes people have a lot of money or a lot of debt and it's all for nothing anyway. I've been to some houses with all this money spent on lousy art - terrible everything - so money doesn't buy it all. Doesn't buy happiness, it doesn't even buy good taste! My husband has a sister in a McMansion in Lake Oswego with heated floors and Thomas Kinkade art on the walls! The worst! A ton of money and it's still not pretty....

I have some artist friends who get all this cool stuff from antique and even thrift stores... not a lot of money there but loads of creativity. And an interesting life!
.....
So who cares about the credit cards and who has got what? It doesn't buy happiness. It might not even buy a good time.

Eva

Sparkle said...

This is clearly a case of "keeping up with the joneses." You don't have to size them up with bigger parties or other material things. Money really does not buy happiness. Do not let yourself be comsumed by American materialism. It's sure way to get into unnecessary debt.

Aly Cat 121 said...

Sometimes it's fun to go to others homes and see how someone may decorate or what not. I LOVE being in folks homes I consider friends. I also LOVE for them to be in my home. I'm not rich with material stuff but I know that I AM RICH with life. So no one notices my "flawed" bathrooms or plain kitchen. And if they did, well they probably wouldn't be my friends nor invited to my home.

Anonymous said...

Ever seen a trainwreck? It's ugly but yet you just can't look away?

This blog, and the profound self esteem issues that you vocalize here are like that wreck. There are all sorts of crazy ideas floating around this Don't-Have-To-Be-Objective blog but the core issue seems to be that you had expectations of a dream life that didn't quite work out.

Sure, you got the white husband (your idea of "living the dream" as you said), but he's not an earner, so he can't support you in the style you think you deserve, thus the dream is still very much outta reach. And you're frustrated, so frustrated, 'cause as much as you cling to that big "upscale" SUV (that genuinely affluent people consider gauche), the truth is that everyday you live beneath your own idea of worth. Thus, you need to denigrate others (esp. blacks) so that you feel better about yourself and the fact that you live in Rose City. But it all comes crashing down when you come face to face with someone who won't be denigrated (like your dentist who is not only black, but also resides in a higher income bracket).

Things don't mean much to you? The transparency of this statement is a sorrowful thing. From your postings, it's obvious that things mean a LOT to you -- esp. if they can project that upper middle class lifestyle that you so desperately want. It's the things of others and your jealousy of them that fuel most of your postings -- yeah, there's race stuff in there, but mostly it's about your desperate status pretensions and self-hatred.

The genuinely sad note is that you think "most everyone is like this too" (judgmental and eager to look down upon others). If that were the case, I don't think there'd be too many parties to attend, do you?

You know, writing this blog and having a group of cheerleaders pat your back and tell you that it's okay to think these things is not really gonna help you figure stuff out. Talking to a professional to explore where all this shit stems from might be something worth exploring...

Anonymous said...

I do believe that anonymous (29/12/2007 7:32 PM) hit the nail on the head! That whole description appears to be you. However, I DO think that a lot of it may be racial too and not just "socioeconomic status" motivated, perhaps both. It would appear that since you have married your white husband and bore children that you seem to think that you should have a higher status (upper middle class at the least). While it's obvious from your posts that him nor yourself came from what you would call "old money" nor "new money" either.
There may be some resentment on your part towards your husband that he isn't the high earner you may wish he was and could afford the much finer things in life for you and your children?!?! not sure... That's not to say that you don't love the man, but just that since you did chose to marry a white man, you perhaps felt that you would have that high socioeconomic status that is obviously much desired.
Getting some professional help (counseling) may be helpful to you, however, if you are not willing to change your way of thinking then counseling may not be as beneficial.

just my thoughts...

cas said...

Envy/jealousy is counting someone else's blessings while discounting your own.

There will ALWAYS be people who are better off than we are, as well, there will ALWAYS be people who don't have it as good as we do.

I do think that you are too concerned about what other people have. You should channel that energy into improving your own situation.

Everyone had/has to go through something to get where they are in life. Don't make assumptions about what people have unless you know their whole story. (Example, I used to be jealous of a woman I thought had it so good and so easy. Till I found out that at age 6 she watched as her mother attempted suicide - twice. Thanks, but I'll keep the life I have.)

What is important to you may not be as important to someone else. Having a house in an upscale community with an updated kitchen and bathroom is your thing. For me, it's living two streets over from the "ghetto" so that my savings, investment, and retirement accounts are plump.

You are somewhat contradictory in your posts. In one you say that you have your child in the "diverse" school because you don't want him to have issuse about his blackness later in life. In another, you say you would move him somewhere else given the opportunity.

You seem to let white people "get away" with saying things that would clearly offend a "typical" black person, but whenever black people make comments you feel are negative towards us, as a black people, you tend to speak up.

And the way that you think DOES come through in your personality/attitude. People can sense that stuff. Your subconscious is much more conscious than you might think.

I don't see your way of thinking as being in your genes. Are your parents like that? No, this is learned behavior that you have. And anything learned can be unlearned.

Lastly, you married a man who is not as ambitious as you are. From your posts, I don't think you would have married a black man in this situation. You accept your husband's lack of drive because he is white.

I've been where you are. And let me tell you, THERAPY and GOD got me out of it. I'm a couple of years younger than you, and I opened my eyes - and mind - about 2 years ago. And I am so glad I was able to do that. When I have focused on what I have, what I can do and not worry about others, I have come so far in life. Because I'm only measuring myself against my own potential and not someone else's.

Me said...

people pick and choose how they spend their money. who knows? who cares? whether they're making a lot or just blowing retirement money on goodies, it's not your problem

http://gorgeousblackwomen.blogspot.com/

Falone said...

You asked if other people were like this. I know I'm not. If you're going to judge anyone at all (and, yet, we all have no right to judge anyone without looking at ourselves), at least judge them on character. Material items come and go. I've known about having nothing, and I've known about having stuff.

You should have just enjoyed the party lol.

cardiowhore said...

You shouldnt worry so much about what you dont have, there are a million women willing to line up at your door and take the life that you have. We all cannot have what we want when we want it. There are a lot of things I want for my home, I just dont have the resources right noe, but when people come over to my house, I get nothing but compliments, it;s about the love you put into your home, not the things, I reccently decorated one of my spare rooms with some curtains that did not cost a whole lot! but all the hoity toity people that come into my homme ooohh and aaahhh about how amazing my house looks! its not about the price! Its about having a good eye and some imagination!

Anonymous said...

Wow, TBG, I think you need to go to a hippy parties from now on. (I'm sure you can find them in Portland)

THey will be good for you for TWO reasons:

1) You know you probably have more material items than they do, so you will always feel good about yourself. It's highly unlikely they will have out-Pottery Barned you.

2) There will most likely be a bong or blunt that shows up, which I STRONGLY suggest you partake and CHILL THE HELL OUT!

Anonymous said...

Three words:

STOP. BEING. MATERIALISTIC.

I like your posts and your honesty about your feelings. I won't call you self-hating because I'm sure you aren't. It does sound like you're anxious about your socioeconomic status to the point where it could be detrimental.

Like I said in other posts, you have so much to be thankful for. There will always be somebody somewhere who is better off. There will always be somebody somewhere who wonders if they will have a meal or a shower or the money to attend school. Stop holding yourself to unattainable standards of living. Stop comparing your material possessions with that of others. I wish I were filthy rich all the time but my husband earns exceptionally good money. We're secure and fairly well-to-do. I'm thankful for what I have at 24 years old because when I look around me, I see people who will most likely never make it out of here. The state I live in is BAD. Not only the city, the whole freakin' state.

Stop beating yourself up over the fact that some people have more than you do. Be thankful for what you do have (which is more than you realize) and appreciate what's in your own back yard. Money is sort of tight in my family at this time. I'm still in school and it is tough. My husband helps me out but as anyone who has been a student will tell you, the financial situation can be harsh. I knew a woman who sort of had your problems with this stuff and she was black, too. She was constantly sizing people up like it was some competition.


No one who is your true friend would size you up and judge you for what you have or don't have. Stop doing it to others. Your worth is not measured by what you have or what you look like but by who you are. What does your character say about you? I love expensive stuff too and I love to shop. I like the finer stuff in life. I'm not ruled by material possessions, though. I would prefer to be truly happy and healthy and to have a normal life. I was mocked in childhood because my mother couldn't afford a pair of Nikes and my shirts didn't cost very much. One girl called me "poor girl" throughout seventh grade. High school was much worse. I was bullied and emotionally tortured literally every day not only because I was a white-looking mixed girl, but because my clothes and sense of style weren't up to par.

Now that I'm an adult, I still feel that people try to judge me and hurt me based on superficial crap, but I'm better prepared to handle it now when it happens. I don't know if you had similar experiences growing up but it would explain a lot. It feels good to be able to afford stuff now because I was always the one that people were cruel to, for different reasons, but life isn't about how much stuff you can acquire...it is about enjoying life through simple pleasures. I'm working hard to move far away from here because I know I'll never be happy or successful in a place like this. I don't care about being extremely wealthy, I want to be comfortable and surrounded by people I love.

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