So I am in Capital City for the annual ritual of immigration work. I don’t like most of this process, although there are parts of it I feel I am supposed to like and don’t.
This may be a whiny post. I’m sorry about that, if that’s what it turns into.
It is this little dip into luxury in some ways, but some of it makes no difference to me and some if it makes me stressed.
So there is this feeling of wrongness, as though I am wrong.
Let me dive into that for a second. Many people actually feel the same way as I do. The big cities here are exciting, because there is stuff. You can buy all kinds of things. I had an Americano this morning and back in Y-town, you can’t even find ground coffee. For $2.50, I can sit in a cafe that plays soothing music, sit in a soft chair, and be warm. In Y-town, my borrowed chair will be reclaimed by its rightful owner, because she’s moving away, and its cold all day long inside my house. I can drink Nescafe, because that’s all there is.
But I earn about $300 a month. $2.50 is a lot. The visa extension is about $80. My laptop broke and luckily it could be repaired for about the same amount. I bought a year’s worth of coffee because it seems to be a major comfort to me, and I need to buy new underwear. After 2 years, they are getting holes…I need to buy conditioner because in Y-town, it’s hit or miss. The stocking up for the year feels like I am just bleeding money.
And this is what other people complain about. I am not alone. So why the sense of wrongness?
Because it is only some people who feel this way. Rich people don’t complain about it. Even upper middle class people don’t complain about it.
I have mixed feelings about my expected role in society here. There is this assumption that everyone from a developed country is rolling in money and your contact with development alone will put you in the same bracket as their 1%. But I am not rich and I also don’t want to be rich. I have found wealth often spoils your personality and encourages people to lose their capacity for empathy and their resilience in the face of struggle. I am not interested.
For example, I got a lift out of Y-town with some important head engineer and I had the distinct impression he felt we were somehow the same, but we aren’t the same.
Imposter syndrome at its finest…
Being white is weird.
But I think this is also about my experiences of reward generally–i.e., attachment. Situations which promise pleasure may be risky or downright dangerous.
The thing about this all is that some people (maybe traumatised people, maybe those from narcissistic systems) is they reach out as though they intend to respond to you when in reality they are responding to themselves. As someone deprived of warmth or relationships, you seize the chance only to find put that what they want to do is something thay harms you or frightens you or humiliates you. That may not have been the plan, but the need for control or dominance or simply a stress-induced collapse of empathic capacity leads to this.
I think my past experiences lend themselves to this as a present experience, whatever the current situation: pleasure cannot be enjoyed, because of the degree of fear.