In the mood today to observe and analyze my familial relations in writing this evening. In the interest of not seeming disloyal to my people, I’m not wishing to write any of this out of spite. More intended as retrospection and introspection for my own purposes. Will aim to keep it relatively vague to protect the identities of (some of) those involved.
For whatever reason, the last couple of generations of women I’m directly by blood related to seem bent toward gold-digging attitudes. Not that they’ve proven successful in their ventures, mind you, it’s just the mindset they bring to the table in discussions pertaining to male and female relations and the expectations they’ve expressed over the years. The family members in question came into existence either in the 1940s or 1960s, so I’m guessing it’s a cultural matter at the core in terms of the impressions they’ve adopted and taken to heart. Nevertheless, it’s a bit irritating to have come up with this bunch of disgruntled women, perpetually unhappy with darn-near anything a man has brought to their lives.
I bring this up due to conversations occurring this week, not that they are new or that I am naive to my family members’ positions before now. Just strikes me, as it long has, as wasteful and pointless. Listened to the elder female family member’s complaints, yet again, about her deceased husband and his shortcomings when it came to providing income for the family…and yet she’s never acknowledged in a fully responsible way how her own financial choices and behaviors have proven detrimental to their economic situation. And now that he’s dead and gone, it gets to feeling like the blame game will never cease.
Believe I’ve mentioned previously on my blog how my own mother was a wannabe gold-digger, and the most successful out of the bunch too, I might add. She married my stepdad for his “earning potential,” as she repeated numerous times throughout my upbringing. And that marriage eventually crashed and burned, namely because she was never content, even after he indeed did prove successful and provided them with a perfectly nice and comfortable home in the suburbs where she was not required to work to add to the family income (though she typically did work part-time between stints of returning to college in a succession of major changes that never resulted in a degree earned, all of which he financed). And he offered her great conditions during their divorce, the most I’ve yet to ever see a woman awarded whom I personally know. If I remember correctly, I believe he granted her about $30k on the value of the house (that she never made a payment on), she kept her car of course, plus half the furniture, plus $900/mo. child support for their one son, plus $1100/mo. alimony for about 4-5 years. She didn’t have to finagle that out of him either — he had his lawyer offer that settlement, which she eagerly agreed to at the time. And he’s since told me he offered her as much as he did because he wanted his son properly taken care of for the rest of the duration of his teens without some new man being brought into his life. Which was accomplished. My little brother was about 16 at the time of their 2nd divorce from one another (yes, they married, divorced, remarried one another, and divorced a second time). The kicker is that a year after their first divorce back around 1990 my mother actually moved back in with my stepdad and essentially lived as roommates until they remarried about 4-5 years later. So…
I grew up observing a good bit of that, and listening to her bitch and complain as though she were being tortured. He didn’t abuse her. He on special occasions bought her trinkets and nice jewelry. Provided everything she needed. Curbed her from putting them (further) in credit card debt by locking her cards up, which she resented deeply. Yet forever she bitched and complained that she wasn’t treated right, that he was a tightwad, that he was an asshole, that we’d be better off without him around, etc. As a kid, I was partial to her perspective since she was my mom, my only biological parent, so I took her side. Nowadays, as of more than a decade now, she and I have virtually no relationship and, by comparison, I’m actually on closer terms with my stepdad, who’s fairly recently remarried and now has a new baby boy as of this year. Mom, on the other hand, is still working crap jobs and living in an apartment (after the house she bought after the divorce was foreclosed on), last I knew still single and sporting a shitty attitude where she blames everybody but herself for her lack of success in this life.
She’s the worst of the bunch, the most extreme, but still…she learned the attitude somewhere.
A sibling of hers shares a similar attitude toward men and their utility.
Sadly, so does their mother.
Not that the other two proved successful in fulfilling their expectations at all, but the attitude persists to this day. I keep hearing about it, year after year, especially when I’m down here and in person. Not trying to call out my people or be a bitch here, but damn. Listened to one of my female family members recently, won’t say which in an effort to protect a bit of privacy for info I’m specially privy to, encourage me to request a guy friend of mine to set aside money for me in a savings account to be used in the event that I kick the bucket so that my body can be transported back to Mississippi for the funeral. A guy friend. Not my lover. Not my husband. A friend. And I laughed her out on that suggestion. Like, lady, you cannot be serious! That’s not what he’s there for. If I start hitting him up for everything under the sun, he’s not going to want to remain my friend, and why do someone like that, especially when he and I have known one another over a decade? That’s rude as hell. Why try to drag him into my family financial matters where they do not concern him? Simply because she assumes he could afford it, and apparently that’s just what men are for, to her. Ticks me off. And I told her so.
And I’ve gotten the impression over time that these women in my life are a little peeved that I have access to men with decent incomes, yet at the same time they seem to wish for me to exploit them, while remaining a bit jealous about that prospect too. Geez… You know how irritating that shit is?
Makes me want to turn to a couple of them and let it be known that it’s not my problem that they didn’t marry particularly well. Had they married for love instead of constantly worrying about what material possessions they don’t have, and had they figured out ways to save and perhaps build side business ventures to boost the family income, then maybe they wouldn’t remain so envious of others. But I cannot say all of that aloud. Will only cause massive family strife and problems. I speak out too much as is.
I can see where these attitudes impressed on me, especially when I was younger, and I’m also grateful for being the daughter of the worst in the bunch so as to learn better than zeroing in on all of that. It’s an ugly game. Made their husbands feel like shit, like failures, like never able to measure up to some outlandish expectations, when those men were in no better position starting out than these females were.
Personally, I blame a lot of this shit on television and the advertising and marketing that made a major impression on people, particularly back when that medium was relatively new on the scene. Not that it doesn’t have a major impact today as well, but I believe it may have been worse for the baby-boomer generation, generally speaking. They seemed to have internalized its “ideals” hook, line, and sinker. And that’s nutty, when you really stop and think about it.
Most especially when we’re talking about self-professed Christian people. I mean, damn — what are you really about then? Material acquisition? Wanting to keep up with the Joneses? Why? To what end? To prove what?
Tell me this has nothing to do with a sense of entitlement sowed into the population over time, giving people (particularly women) the impression that they deserve so much more than they’re receiving and that that is a travesty. Because? Because welcome to the modern age. So and so down the street can afford this or that. Those people enjoy modern comforts that we don’t. You spend money on this or that, so I’m ticked since I feel that’s to blame for us not having this. And on and on the divisiveness goes.
One thing I continue to appreciate my stepdad for was cutting off cable when I was still pretty young. Certainly didn’t hurt to go a few years without so much televised input, and I’ve opted to not subscribe to cable myself for the last 8 years solidly (and intermittently in years prior to that). Watch TV over at friends’ places enough as it is. Best to not subject oneself to all that fantasy shit. Gets your mind wandering and stimulates the tendency to compare yourself and your life (and your appearance, and whatever else) to that which is televised, none of which is fully and truly depicted. It’s not intended to reflect real life, yet it is intended to intrigue us into wanting shit we don’t need.
Repeat the same BS to people often and long enough and many start to believe it.
Strikes me as quite amazing how much people are willing to believe simply because it’s shown on television. Like our reasoning gets short-circuited. People love to assume that they’re terrific at separating reality from fiction, but the evidence doesn’t bear that out.
But is television alone to blame for these sort of attitudes? No, probably not. But it definitely helped in sowing those seeds to the masses, especially to the ignorant (whether willfully or otherwise), uneducated, and easily impressionable. Sorry folks, but it’s true.
Anyway, I probably received a worthwhile education in a weird, back-door kind of way there. Learned vicariously what life is not worth wasting time on, at the least. We all enjoy possessing some nice things and having enough money to get by and to take in worthwhile experiences in life rather than working like slaves, don’t get me wrong there. But isn’t it a question of how we choose to conduct ourselves and what we value most? I mean, there are worse things in life than not having a bunch of money. And so many who chase money and luxuries don’t seem all that happy in the end anyway.