You see them everywhere. A blindingly bleached smile, flashing from behind the windshield of a silver Mercedes. A perfectly filtered picture of a muscled cis-male dragging his feet through the white sand on an empty Borocay beach. The perfectly manicured teen carrying Gucci bags that brushes past you in the mall and sneers at your messy bun and Lee jeans.
Unfortunately, those of us who are regular people have to share our space with those who were born with everything needed to have a special life: money, status, privilege, beauty, low BMI, and the right amount of melanin.
No, not every pretty girl has money and not every white person has the perfect quantity of privilege that makes them ignore the downtrodden and go through life with a sense of entitlement. The beautiful people are space at the center of the Venn diagram that makes the rest of us shake our heads in befuddlement at their luck.
The beautiful people are very aware they won the life lottery, but will always try to make it seem like everything they have is through hard work. They never need to take out huge student loans to pay for their college, because their celebrity mother and senator father use their money and power to create a fun college experience for their spawn.
The rest of us have to work four times harder to get scholarships or go into crushing debt we never recover from enough to get ahead.
The beautiful people will take a year off school and travel the world in style because that’s what mummy and daddy did, and it was so enriching.
The beautiful people will have their grades decided by the size of the check their family sends to the university. Their jobs after college will be arranged at the country club over cigars with the boys and tennis with the ladies. They will start their six-figure careers with no debt and a huge gift in the bank, which never needs a repayment.
The beautiful people have investments and businesses that go on to be successful because there is always a cash infusion from the folks. They can sit in their offices and plan their political careers. They may even set their sights on the presidency, because they are rich and white, and they know that automatically gets them half the votes.
Those that don’t go into politics become influencers on Instagram so they can show off their lavish lifestyle. The bask in the likes and comments about how wonderful they are. A lot of them will create courses so even the regular people can get what they have — if they are willing to put in the hard work like they did.
Life is good for the beautiful people.
Hey you, what do you see?
Something beautiful or something free?
Hey, you, are you trying to be mean?
If you live with apes man, it’s hard to be clean — The Beautiful People — Marilyn Manson
If it sounds like I’m bitter at their good fortune, I am. It comes back from time to time when I temporarily forget I’ve long since given up envy and work with what I have.
Sometimes it takes me a while to forget the anger and go back to being a decent person again.
Those of us who are regular have choices in life. We can rage against the machine constantly, spending our lives angry at things that we aren’t likely to change. Or we can take it all in stride and live our lives.
As a third option — you can do what I do. I live my life, happy with what I have, and constantly working hard to achieve things that fulfill me. I still rage sometimes against the unfairness of racism, misogyny, sexism, ageism, classism, and all the other “-isms,” but I don’t allow envy or anger to destroy my life or outlook on the future.
I allowed myself a few hours to dwell in the unfairness that beautiful people exist, so I could write this essay and make my point. I can either get pissed off that I didn’t start life with everything, or I can do my best to ensure that I get everything I want in life.
I chose the latter.
Look at me. Yes, I was born white. But, I was also poor, ugly, mentally ill, and not the right religion. I had to work for good grades — they weren’t handed to me to a silver platter. My college wasn’t a paid vacation. I’m 51 and still paying for it — everything I wanted I had to earn. I made sacrifices and ate a whole lot of shit along the way.
I should be bitter, but I’m not. I work with what I have. Do I want more? Sure! I am always working on getting more in life for my family and me.
The regular people may not have everything the beautiful people do, but we are special in so many other ways. The struggle to get where we are has made us resilient and strong. We don’t abuse our privilege because we know others don’t even have the little we do.
Don’t be angry at the beautiful people for what they have.
Be happy you have what you do.