A Divide

So, while I won’t do “personal” posts anymore I might write journal entries of my present thoughts. This will be my first.

My husband came from a family many would consider wealthy. They’re certainly millionaires several times over, at least, and, in generations before that, his grandparents and great grandparents were upper middle class. But, in fact, they’re so currently stereotypically “posh” that, besides everything I’ve already mentioned on this blog, his father did his post-graduate work at Harvard and Mark would have gone to a rather exclusive prep school in Connecticut named Loomis Chaffee, except his mother decided against it (not to mention where he actually went to college). She didn’t want him going to school outside of the town where they lived.

Despite all their trappings of prestige, there was genuine fear in his family when they heard I had left college a semester or so short of graduating, on time, with my bachelors degree. They didn’t worry we would lack funds (i.e. my husband was an established actuary of six years and six actuarial tests when we met and etc.), but they didn’t like the social implications of having someone in the family who didn’t have at least a (four year) undergraduate degree. It was seen as frighteningly lower class and suspicious in their estimation, and only slightly negated by the quality of the college I had attended. My family, however, had a very different reaction when I didn’t graduate on time.

I once wrote that my family was of slightly older money than my husband’s. I doubt many of them would identify themselves as “wasps” at all, regardless of what they actually are, but the difference between their reactions to my not graduating on time and my husband’s family is one example of where old money varies from new. Even slightly new. And it’s not about how much money there is or isn’t in a given family at one moment in time either, so much as an overall attitude.

In my family people value education highly. Very highly in fact. But where “newer money” worries about what the neighbors or tennis buddies at the country club will think (literally, they did) older money is a bit more irreverent about certain things and interested in “what comes next,” and not as fascinated with what fits the image they wish to project, so to speak. At least, in my experience they are… There are some people in my mother’s immediate family who might be more like Mark’s family than others though.

But, the overall attitude in my family was one of concern mixed with curiosity and not fear or disdain. People knew I’d likely finish my degree eventually. And since many family members have graduate degrees, etc., etc. and since those sort of accomplishments and knowledge levels, if you can call them that, have been in the family for quite a few generations it’s taken for granted that it’ll all work out in due time. And they were right – I did have actual plans to finish in the UK and certainly will progress in my studies in the future. But really, people don’t feel the same need to be quite so careful about appearances in my family generally speaking. And again, I doubt many of them even realize that about themselves… Matter of fact there’s such an absolute error on the side of humility in my family that, again, if they read my blog many of them will or would likely question the labels I’ve attached to them.

But, in both families, regardless of their differences and similarities, there’s obviously a desire to either keep the level of social class already attained or improve on it. And frankly, it’s worked out pretty well… There are some anxieties in my generation but given the blessed perspectives and understanding people in our families were born into they’re unlikely to swerve too far away. Which, isn’t about inherited money so much as a learned way of looking at things.

And that’s where things suck. Yes. Suck.

See…it’s awesome for me and my cousins and my husband and his siblings to have benefited from our familial predecessors and be able to spring from that into something better or the same, but what about those who weren’t born into families like ours? Right?

Perhaps, in relation to that, I’ve even seemed dense about a lot my blessings. Is that what one of my former followers meant by “lack of self awareness?”

Actually, I’m not unaware though. Not to my knowledge, at least…

As I’ve said before I started being crass and candid about my blessings as a way of standing up for myself. I didn’t “start it” as they say… But, then many people began twisting things, making up fake personas to compete, or trying to pretend solid facts and reality were variable things they could dismiss or label as something else if the reality of things didn’t put them in more flattering light. And it became clear that there was too much negativity for any sort of friendly camaraderie to flourish.

One day a year or so ago I was talking with a friend, in person, about the issues on Instagram and they suggested that people are feeling so hostile due to shifts in the fabric of our society related to class. And in another conversation, the gentleman I was most taken with during my last separation, actually brought the idea one step further and mentioned that, based on his own experience, he believes people nowadays loathe those they can categorize as “rich.” He feels that there is currently such a (growing) chasm between the haves and have-nots that hatred is beyond inevitable. People no longer see those with more as inspiration to reach their own dreams so much as another reason to feel defeated and helpless.

…I’ve never been sold on those ideas about the online community of fragrance lovers because I can just hear the screams of some of my haters that they are certainly as financially stable, if not more so, than I am (whether or not that’s true). And out of force of habit I generally try to believe people and take them seriously. But can their cattiness and competitive zeal actually be based on their real, painfully hidden frustrations about their own lives, as my former romantic interest and now platonic male friend, strongly presumes? Again, I’ve never known how reasonable their insecurity and anger is because they often have tried so hard to seem better than me, equal to me or have tried to repackage anything about me they feel threatened by. Ha! They could be genuinely struggling, objectively speaking, or they could be innately insecure, unfortunately, for biological reasons that are somewhat divorced from their immediate circumstances. I never knew which one it was for sure, or what sort of combination.

BUT, he insists it’s much more the former than the latter and that they don’t hate me so much as what I represent to them… He once said that he, “…just know[s] people who hate [me] most on Instagram understand me, for who I really am, the absolute least.” Instead, since the middle class is dying, they see me as a “…shameless harpy, giggling graveside at the funeral.” Is he right? Maybe? Maybe, indeed…

So can we all interact peacefully, in the microcosm of the fragrance community on Instagram if there is this growing hatred? Can we all be at peace, if everyone feels antagonized by someone or something? I wonder… It’s a depressing question for a brutally cold night in January… And as my (now) friend believes, also based on his experience in a few interest related social media venues, …I might need to just leave Instagram entirely if it grows too tiring. There’s no need to waste time on something harmful. Life goes by too quickly. My other friends agree and, of course, Mark is supportive either way.

*sigh*

What about you? Are people harassing you? I’ve seen others also being harassed more, lately. Or are you one of the angry?