But I *Should* Have More Money Than You

One of the reasons I didn’t like the school one of my kids went to was I thought it exuded an air of privilege. I don’t like braying young men, earning a living for the first time and gathering in pubs on a Friday, for the same reason. I have been critical of friends over the years who have (in my view) been chippy or ostantatious. Etc. So it pains me to recognise my own thwarted sense of privilege. My inner monologue, as well as the usual ‘I’m crap’ messages, now that I am listening closely, also has an unpleasant and mortifying line in entitlement. Shit.

Of course I never say any of these things, even properly to myself. I am too busy being unworthy. Assuming I’m stupid, unpopular, unsuccessful and unloved and justly so. Yet when I berate myself for having made such a collossal fuck up of my life, part of what I am saying is that I ought to be better off and more successful. Not only – I’m ashamed to admit – better off and more successful than I am, but than others are. I find myself envying other people, who – let’s say – were not very good at school, or who did not marry bankers.  Who now live in lovely homes, have lovely holidays and a great big financial cushion for the future, who travel and eat out and support their children and buy new phones. Whatever. And, even allowing for the fact that these things loom larger on FB and in the lives of ones friends than the possible struggles some others might have, to pay when the car fails its MOT etc, I have to admit that they seem to loom larger still in my mind than I would like.

When I notice such successes of others, I feel this nasty sense of injustice. Even though I think I am rubbish at everything, can’t think of anything anyone would pay me to do etc, and recognise that I gave up my careeer over 20 years ago, at the same time my brain screeches ‘It’s not FAIR!’  I seem to cling to some notion that I ‘did everything right’: Oxford, MBA, good jobs, good marriage and so ‘in the natural order of things’ I ought to be successful. Then I remind myself that actually, I did everything wrong. I was selfish, stupid, greedy and weak and I got my come-uppance.

 

 

 

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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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