I like the idea, the story of the Fuck Off Fund, I really do. I appreciate the wisdom, the painful truth of this cartoon about white privilege. I really do.
Except they don’t come close to telling the story for so many of us. For me, a white Gen X female who grew up as a ‘neglected’ latchkey kid, the first generation to do worse than the one that came before, I really don’t where to begin.
Being Poor Sucks
This is pretty much true for anyone poor, especially a poor working female.
I was this Fuck Off Fund woman in my 20s, 30s – minus the abusive boyfriends, add some so-so roommates. Swap out creeper bosses with douchebags who 1) stole my ideas while 2) blaming me for their screw-ups, I can totally relate to this person.
It’s been me, all me, pretty much no one but me since my teens.
The FOF has many names. For me it’s the “yes you can save money even though you don’t make any! If you cut cable and your once a month StarBucks” account. Or it’s the “you take vacations and eat out, how dare you complain about money?” fund.
That’s what I get in our judgmental, so easy to say it, type it society. Because I have the nerve to try to enjoy life and the fruits of my labor. FTR: my furniture is 30 years old, I’m typing on an 8-year old computer and the most I’ve paid for shoes is maybe $70 for leather boots.
Having a life once in a while, even if it means sacrificing the future to live for now, is my insurance I won’t get killed on the highway while Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic” plays on the radio right as I finally saved up enough to buy what crappy house I can afford. Except NOT because all that FOF savings gets spent on Prozac and shrinks and booze because I’m planning and saving, not LIVING a LIFE. (Crosses fingers, reverse hex, looks both ways, pays State Farm.) Ahem.
A FOF sounds great, but it also is a privilege of those who make more than it costs to live.
Silver Spoon, Only Because Platinum Was Out of Reach
That women are born shackled to burdens seldom known to the Y side is only part of the problem.
The issue is that the competition running that distance, it’s almost always affluence, privilege – which yes, skews white and male most of the time – in a contest that’s rigged. One side has the hard uphill battle, while the other side coasts downhill easily going around any potholes on the way.
What’s missing from the left side of that cartoon: family and friends, one helping hand after another. Find an ‘Under 30’ list and it’s private school, frat or sorority, or “met while interning at Prestige Gig.” Opportunities. Connections. That the rest of “us” never get.
I couldn’t take an unpaid gig, couldn’t network after my entry level jobs, couldn’t make any of those ‘get ahead’ moves. I had to go to school AND to my other job just to make fucking rent. Once the privileged found out how smart, talented I was – I was on the outside looking in, a target on my back, a threat to their easy way up the ladder.
Instead of obstacles and hurdles, the rich get free lunches, leg-ups and an assistant to do all the heavy lifting. Without really trying. As the resume gets padded, even the most mediocre easily fail up to middle management. A dinner party introduction or social media connection to the real power to hire and PRESTO! dream job created, no tedious HR interview required.
People like me, who work and struggle, who have talent and smarts that don’t fit neatly on a resume, we can’t even get our well-written cover letter in front of the right eyeballs. Those networks are closed, those hurdles almost impossible to climb.
This is the part I’m supposed to have a brilliant pithy conclusion. Except if I knew how, I’d have “just done it” already. For now, I’m gonna stop typing and get back to work.