Wow. As a wealthy person, that’s a harsh post! I wasn’t born wealthy. I have earned every cent I own. I don’t hide it but I don’t flaunt it. We are not all bad, snobby, arrogant or abuse our employees. There is a vast proportion of the wealthy who, despite the long hours we work, also spend a huge chunk of our personal time doing pro bono work, and donate a good proportion of our money to help those less fortunate than us. We create jobs and contribute to consumer economy. We work hard and make personal sacrifices for our income. Please don’t begrudge what enjoyment we get out of it (like buying nice things) or judge us as if we didn’t deserve it. Money doesn’t dictate who I am or the type of person I am. It doesn’t make me evil. ‘Poor people’ can be equally rude, abusive, obnoxious and judgemental. Money or no money, both the Rich and the Poor can be bitter and twisted, depending on how you view life in general. I am as content now as I was when I was surviving dollar to dollar as a medical student with $100,000 debt.
Said Tiffany, our resident surgeon, in response to Mark who posted here the day before she did. I love seeing walls come down, people speaking their truth and embracing new perspectives, connections being forged. Had to share the rest of their dialogue. Here it is, off the comments board:
Exile on Pain Street says:
This is a fascinating comment. In all the drafts I had to submit for this, it never once crossed my mind that anyone could take offense. It’s a good thing you didn’t see the Genet play with me! You think *I* was being tough?! He brutalized the upper crust.
My attitudes (like ALL of our attitudes) are a product of my upbringing and environment. I didn’t have the financial wherewithal (nor, if I’m being honest, the grades) to attend college. When I got to Manhattan, I would routinely be dumped by girl after girl when it became clear that I was never going to be rich enough to support them in the lifestyle they felt entitled to. These things have a way of burrowing themselves deep into your psyche and they have formed my opinions.
I didn’t mean for this to be so one-sided. Some of my closest friends are über-wealthy. But when I was asked to write about my experiences with money, this is what bubbled to the surface. All apologies if you’re fired up. That was not my intent. But I stand by the post. These have been my experiences. I don’t like irritating anyone, all appearances to the contrary. I grew up in Ohio and we’re taught not to do that. I can see how you might feel your lifestyle was being attacked, but I have no malicious intent.
Please don’t apologise! It’s a really honest post coming from the heart and as you said, all the experiences which shaped you. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and opinions are naturally one-sided. We all get a little twisted about something.
I don’t apologise for the fact that I have money, and that I pay ‘homage to conspicuous consumption’ (literally! Those things ain’t cheap). I love beautiful things, and I have finally overcome feeling guilty for spending money on myself. Judging me by what I wear/own is like judging a book by its cover. The only reason the post ‘irritated’ me (which it didn’t – just made me think about all this rich-poor thing), is because I am actually sick of people trying to make me feel guilty for being wealthy, and for spending MY money.
Mark, I appreciate beautiful things, like a crafted piece of jewellery with a flawless gem, or assembly of textures involved in designing a bag. The difference between me now and me fifteen years ago, is that I get to own and treasure them instead of admiring them from afar. It’s no different from the fact that you appreciate photography, visual art and plays. All of which I love, too.
I used to be a musician in an orchestra, and I contributed to the creation of beautiful symphonies. Now, I sponsor specific artworks to be displayed at the art gallery, pay for my state orchestra to employ the best concertmaster in Australia, and provide annual scholarships in the state ballet company for promising young dancers. So that these art forms can be enjoyed, and be more affordable for the general public. [I'd love to] prove to you that you cannot judge me by my Tiffany wedding ring, my LV purse, and Louboutin shoes, or at least share a few laughs about how ridiculously expensive these things are, and how stupid I look trying to walk in my Jimmy Choos…I swear they are made to be displayed as art pieces, not to be worn.
Happy to report they’re on great terms.