You’re Spoiled; Stop Being Ashamed

I have some things to say about this “I’m Spoiled; Stop Shaming Me” article that’s going around. I’ll do this by responding to quotes taken directly from it, but here is the link to the full article, which you should always read before you read a response to one:

“Stop shaming people like me because we’re lucky to have parents who want to do so much for us… Just because I have parents who want to provide more than emotional support and have different values does not make either of us wrong in any way.”

So listen. Okay, so you were spoiled. And okay, that’s not your fault, and arguably not a fault at all. As you said, people have different parenting styles and philosophies that inform them, and, sure, that’s okay. But your focus on the *desire* behind your parents providing financially for essentially every aspect of your life just demonstrates the privilege and ignorance of privilege that, in my experience/opinion, that particular style of parenting doesn’t highlight very well.

“Yes, my parents make sure I am taken care of until I can provide for myself. They highly value education and social skills.”

Okay, but so do mine? Just because they can’t afford to (and absolutely would not if they could) pay my way through life (even as a young adult) doesn’t mean they don’t value education and social skills. In fact, the opposite could be argued— but, again, that’s a philosophical debate. My point is that just because a family can’t, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t if they could.

Sure, you say you love your parents and are grateful for your their attitude on parenting. As you should be! It is mature to acknowledge that you have something to be grateful for here. However, you fail to mention that your gratitude for the fact that they have the means to accomplish this style. It’s important to realize that it’s not just that they are great people who “highly value education”. Rather, it’s that a series of events, likely not wholly within their control, which lead them to be fortunate enough to be in a position where they are able to make that call without majorly detrimental financial consequences. A lot of people value education, but they also have to eat every day.

“…They don’t want me losing both of these things because of a job. You learn professional social skills at a job, not everyday social skills.”

I’ll go ahead and say this is just incorrect, but I guess you’d have to hold down a job to know that? I mean, it depends on your profession, but if you really think serving tables or working in a team of coworkers doesn’t have anything to do with every day social skills, then…? And who says you have to choose between the two? I’m trying to stay away from shaming here, but that just seems like a ridiculous thing to say to me.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t mind having a parenting style like this one day.”

Uh, yeah, because that would mean you have a *lot* of disposable income, and who doesn’t want that? Obviously most of us would like the opportunity to live without the taxing drain of financial stress, while also providing that benefit for your children. That is some pretty serious wealth you’ve described.

I, personally, am extremely grateful for the way my parents raised me. I could scarcely count the ways, and I am so proud to be their daughter. For me, looking back with a semi-adult-maybe-sortof-mature perspective, it looks like just the right balance where I learned to appreciate what I got *and* what I didn’t. It’s great that you seem to feel the same way. But you have to expect that many people are likely to feel resentful of that. Surely you can imagine why someone would— someone who has had to work since before they were legal adults to help pay rent, or to pay their way through college, or even just to go on that ski trip that all their friends go on without question every year. There are many different levels of privilege.

What might suit you better than bitterness at surly classmates with snide comments about silver spoons would be to find comfort and confidence in the fact that you agree with how you were raised. Maybe expressing that gratitude to them, your peers, might change their view of you, which you seem to care quite a lot about. Asserting that you realize your privilege can make you a lot more relatable to people. Or just stop caring what people think. I know that’s easier said than done; I spend way to much of my time considering how my words and actions sound and look to other people, thinking about the image I’m projecting. Really, we’d probably both be better off just letting things like that go.

You say people shame you, but you have a choice in whether or not you feel shame. Truthfully, though, I have to say that if having so much financial privilege that people sometimes poke fun at you is one of your highest concerns… I’m sorry, but you should maybe check your privilege.


A Feat of Situational Irony

In light of all the recent controversy, all the hatred, all the death and suffering, I find myself thinking once again thinking of how lucky I am— in between complaining about all the reasons my life isn’t working the way I want it to, that is. Objectively I can see that my life is… wow, so *so* good. I’m monumentally fortunate in ways that even far exceed the fact that my basic necessities are met every day, and have been without fail since the day I was born— which is nothing to thumb your nose at. Yet, somehow, I still succumb to every day whining about things that don’t matter, but things that, according to my personal spectrum of experience, are crushing and debilitating and just really, really hard.

But I need only take a trip to Facebook or glance my phone when a BBC news update makes itself boldly and noisily at home in my notifications– any of the countless media where death and tragedy run amuck– to be abruptly shaken into seeing with more perspective; and I promptly feel guilty and ridiculous, and then *somehow* simultaneously superior to those who complain about their “first world problems”, as though my reluctance to impose my relatively similar problems on others via a public forum is any better than complaining to my friends and family about how much I work, my broken heating unit, or my seemingly dire personal/social problems and the anxiety which ensues. Even writing out these which are essentially my highest concerns at the moment makes me feel like an absurd, over-privileged, typical millennial.

It’s a vicious cycle of self-loathing over what I think is just a symptom of the human experience, but I can’t seem to break it. And THEN there’s the fact that I’m doing next to nothing to make the world outside of my own a better place. I don’t have profoundly important aspirations as far as improving the plights of others, I’m only trying to get my degree and earn a living, and be nice to people when I can. I’m sympathetic by nature, but what good is that to people? Looking on and crying when my idealistic views of the world and how it should look come crashing down? When the truth of it all seeps in and I find find myself asking again, and again, and again, “What’s the point?”?

It doesn’t do anyone any good, and now, in a great feat of situational irony, I’m whining about whining and doing it in a public forum. Where will it end?!

I think this is the part where I’m supposed to come up with some great revelation, where I’m supposed to say that as long as I’m doing what I can and spreading the love, then that’s enough and I’m a good person. Well, if I believed that I wouldn’t be inclined to write this in the first place. My best doesn’t seem like enough and my problems seem both incredibly imposing and laughably insignificant. It’s uncomfortable. It’s inevitable. It’s natural, I guess.

Anyway, that’s how I feel.