The Money Filter

The Money Filter

I’ve felt very strongly about this topic since I moved to one of the richest areas in America, but never felt more compelled to write an article about it than I do now…

I’ve felt very strongly about this topic since I moved to one of the richest areas in America, but never felt more compelled to write an article about it than I do now…

Since I was 18 and left home, I have been, with the help of the exceptional few, been living “independently” without the support of my family, and it has been hard.  Shattered credit, debt, no chance of financial aid, shi**y income, and no qualifications. I felt like every time I tried to take the next step, I hit a new brick wall. The struggle between wanting to have fun and enjoy now and planning for a future, arguments on the phone with financial aid officials, trips to the hospital with no health care. The list truly does go on. And I know I’m not the only one who is young, in their 20s, and struggling. But here, in this affluent area of families and their cheeky children who think their parents’ wealth is theirs, I do feel like the only one.

It’s a tiresome gray day in the glorified Northern VA (NOVA, as they say), and I’ve come to a red light for a left turn to go down a road that leads to a secluded gated community (shock). A gray Mercedes quickly pulls up next to me (shocker #2… don’t you love my sarcasm?), and a blond head leans forward from the passenger seat and onto the dash, peering at me (past the blond driver, nonetheless… ok, I swear this is a coincidence – blondes in a Mercedes, shocker #3). She bursts into laughter, and they rush away, so fast that before I am even fully around the corner, they’re already turning into the community. What just happened? Is my hair that messy? I mean, I am rocking a pony with a bit of a crazed curl today… but I thought it looked good? What was she laughing at?

And then it hit me like a slap in the face. I’m driving a ’98 Volkswagen Cabrio, and they’re swinging around the streets, platinum locks, rap music oozing out of the windows, and here I am. Why else would she have been staring at me laughing? She definitely couldn’t have been hating on the hair. It was a chaotic masterpiece to say the least. I felt disordered… And I didn’t get a chance to flick them off!? I felt like they were the mean girls from White Chicks…


And I was Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids


…hilariously ridiculous to everyone else but taking myself way too seriously.

I know, there’s no reason to get butt-hurt over some snobby young girls in a Mercedes their Mom and Dad got them, and I’m not, but I’m sad for our generation. I’m sad for those girls. I’m sad for my adorable Cabrio named Val. I’m sad for the girls that do grow up getting bullied and real hurt because of girls like this. As I walked in the door to see my boyfriend, I moaned, “I hate young girls in this area, such snobby, rich kids,” and he stopped me.


“I’ve lived here longer than you have to find out myself that there are people like that, but most of the people I know aren’t.” Of course I rebutted, but only because he made me realize I was being just like them. I assumed all girls here are like those two (and the others whom I’ve met… I mean, I did have a point), but he was right. I was generalizing all girls in the area, just like they were generalizing me to be a (clearly outrageously funny) loser. I was committing the same evil.

So this is to everyone, not just to the people who are struggling to be independent in their early 20s while their supported friends and randoms are driving in their parents’ Mercedes, or even new Toyotas; not just to the people who are obnoxiously flaunting their parents’ success or the humble people who have nice things but aren’t. This is for all of you and everyone else. Be humble, stay humble. Be sweet, and thoughtful, and kind. There are a lot of people who don’t have nice things because they have chosen to make poor decisions in life. Then there are people in life who don’t have the nicest things because they’re living a completely different life than you and are working hard every day to create a better life for themselves. There are people who have beautiful expensive things because their parents work hard so their kids can live a life filled with them but also taught them the moral values of being a good person. How would I know if they were or weren’t a good person by the car they drive or clothes they wear (unless they are laughing at you from their window…lol)? Respect that. Respect that everyone has a story to tell, and never judge a book by its cover. Be grateful for your assets, big or small, and just always, always, always be kind. You never know what someone else may be going through and how much a small pinch of kindness can change everything. And lastly, to the bullies who think their parents’ money is theirs, who think money makes you better than others, you’re losing out. You’re losing out on all the things that money can’t buy: respect, kindness, and the people in life that you’ll meet that come along with those values.

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