Hi friends! Thanks for tuning into another episode of “Tori Dealing With” where each episode is short, sweet, and the perfect thing to enjoy in the morning just like your coffee.
Over the course of last week I was watching a documentary called “Generation Wealth” by Lauren Greenfield. The film was so thought provoking I had to watch it a few times and I even ended up taking notes on it. Yes, In my spare time what really gets me going is watching docs and taking notes lol. But the truth is I just really enjoy thinking about how we operate as a society, humans are so interesting.
The theme of “Generation Wealth” is studying when our cultural values shifted from being a classic hard working American family into being obsessed with wealth and status. It was hard not to be drawn into the film immediately when the opening quote reflected on the rise and demise of the ancient Egyptian empire.
This is an eerie thought. I mean think about how much we produce, manufacture, and distribute around the world daily? The nature of our consumerism doesn’t only affect our mental well-being but it’s also drastically changing our planet. This episode can feel a little daunting, but the goal is to simply analyze our patterns, take responsibility and see how we can do better. Because the truth is, we’re all materialistic to an extent. Even if we’re not saving up all of our money to get a Louis Vutton bag or a Lamborghini, plenty of us still want the best iPhone, camera, or aesthetically pleasing house. So let’s try to approach this information from a place of love instead of judgment.
Let’s start with the shift of the “American Dream”. Well, it makes me reflect on my family’s story. My great grandparents were immigrants from Europe. My grandmother’s side came from Italy and didn’t speak any English when they arrived. On my fathers side, my great -grandparents were from Hungary and both sides of the family tree worked incredibly hard to make a comfortable life for the generations to come. By the Time my parents were born each generation accrued a little more wealth. My dad grew up in a row home in Philadelphia with one bathroom and 6 siblings. Both my parents had a roof over their head, were able to receive public school education and pushed to make better lives for the future just like the generations before. Although many of us have different origin stories, I’m sure many of you can relate to mine, as it was pretty common.
The United States drastically changed during the generation of my parents. People born in the 50’s and 60’s were exposed to a new type of economy that was flooded with money. Florian Homm explains this in the documentary.
He says “The origin of wealth starts with the US government spending money way beyond its means. In 1971 America dropped the gold standard so money in circulation was no longer backed by assets. This led to the abandonment of fiscal discipline. The Reagan 80’s was a time period that gloated about wealth, there was so much printed money floating through the economy that people were spending it mad!”
He then goes on to say:
And just like that we were addicted. A brief background on Florian Homm is he’s a former German Investment Banker and Hedge Fund Manager who at one point had up to $800 million dollars to his name. He did some shady stuff and got sentenced to 225 years in prison. And even though the charges were dropped he’s not off scot free. He’s now living in exile In Germany on the FBI’s most wanted list.
This man was on top of the world at one point. Had everything he wanted at his fingertips, but the chase for wealth inevitably left him with even less than he had before.
Let’s fast forward…
Our generation today took that same mentality as the 80’s but added an extra special tool to gloat about it all. Social media. Now we’re not just witnessing what’s happening through magazine outlets, we’re watching people we know post pictures with cars, bags, vacations, shoes, and anything else you can imagine.
So that leaves us with the question… What happens to our society when our dreams have shifted from the values of hard work and family to fame and fortune?
Get the paper by any means necessary, even commodify your own body.
Kacey Jordan, who’s also featured in the doc, is a prime example. Kacey Jordan is most known for being one of the women that Charlie Sheen paid 30,000 to party with at the time that he was rushed to the hospital. But her origin story was much more humble than that. She was a small town girl from Texas who was raised in Oregon. She had dreams of making it big and being a star with a lavish lifestyle. Got into the adult entertainment industry at 18 years old and is famous in the industry for really “intense” scenes.
After years of pursuing her dream of elegance, sleeping with princes in dubai, and living a luxury lifestyle, she crashed. She even filmed her own attempted suicide and posted it on social media. Thankfully today she’s clean, starting back at zero. She’s actually currently working at the first job she ever had in a tanning salon.
This documentary is a must watch and FULL of stories of individuals who chased the paper and crashed into rock bottom.
Although many of us may not have stories this extreme, in some way we can all relate. What are we chasing and how does this determination for luxury affect ourselves and our world?
Well an article from earth.org breaks it down:
“According to an analysis by Business Insider, fashion production comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions, as much as the European Union. It dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams, while 85% of all textiles go to dumps each year.”
Even if you don’t have the commas in your bank account, many people are still trying to keep up with the Kardashian’s by buying cheap fast fashion items to match trends. Just so that 85% of them can end up in dumps anyway.
A Direct quote from an article written by George Monbiot featured in the Guardian says:
“Journal of Consumer Research, studied 2,500 people for six years. It found a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. People who are cut off from others attach themselves to possessions. This attachment in turn crowds out social relationships.”
Let’s reflect on that. We’re out making money, spending that money on shit to post (or atleast sending pictures on our group chats), creating a sense of envy amongst our communities, and for what… all to feel accepted. But as we just learned, it’s only making us feel more isolated.
Although this is a heavy topic, it’s most necessary. We have to tap into our awareness and analyze it. Let’s pull ourselves out of our bodies for a moment and take a hard look at how we’re living. Because even though it looks pretty on the outside, on the inside we’re suffocating the soul of the planet.
So what do we do? How do you go against the current when it’s the size of the ocean? Well, little by little I guess.
-Let’s sprinkle consciousness into the power of our purchase.
-Let’s support brands that are eco-friendly.
-Lets buy make-up products that are vegan.
-Let’s thrift shop and not buy into fast fashion trends.
Because let’s be honest, how does it really make us feel? Well I know how it makes me feel. When I was about 23 years old, after appearing on my first TV show “Are you the One” , I was a kid… just floating around LA. I happened to be with a fellow cast member at the time and we were shopping in the mall. This mall was luxurious, full of Gucci, Prada, Louis Vutton, and every other luxury brand you can imagine. While we were walking through Chanel I felt as if I was getting looks from people because… I kind of looked like a scrub that day. My hair was in a bun, no make up, I was a little hungover and felt like the people around me were sort of judging me. Even though I’m not sure if that was their reality, it was definitely mine. So I had an urge to feel like I belonged there. I pulled one of the assistants aside and told her I would like to purchase a bag. Her eyes lit up and so did my friends. I think for different reasons. But nonetheless I wanted to feel respect in that store so I bought a very basic Chanel bag for 5,000 dollars. I could feel a little disgust inside my body while I was doing it, it was for all the wrong reasons. But, I was too deep in so when the time came to swipe my card so I couldn’t back out. I would look even worse. I remember trembling when she rang me up, wondering if the card was actually going to work. And then it did. She handed me the bag, we walked out of the store and I thought to myself “What did I do?”. I didn’t even discuss my thoughts with my friend because that was too revealing of how insecure I was. I just acted happy and continued with my day.
But the thing is, I never actually cared about that bag. I only wore it to events when I thought it would make me look more important. I wanted people to see that I had something of value. But the soul behind that purchase was non-existent. I ended up getting nail glue on the inside and ruined the leather anyway. And when I did I thought to myself, it serves me right. This leather is the skin of an animal. We’ve stolen it, mutilated it, and made it look desirable and slapped a $5,000 price tag on it. That Chanel bag is now currently at my mothers in a closet somewhere, and I walk around with a satchel that looks like a ball sack.
But, when I want to purchase a nice bag (which is not often) I make sure that it aligns with who I am. It has to be vegan leather and come from an environmentally conscious company. And usually those bags are no more than a couple hundred bucks.
We as the consumer have the power to set trends. If everyone adopted a less materialistic mentality the world would be healthier all around.
If we were a culture driven by intrinsic values which are the value that that thing has “in itself,” then we would be happier.
An example of intrinsic values are accepting a job because you’re interested in the work, learning new things, and creating within that field.
An example of extrinsic values are accepting a new job for the money, for the way people view you, or for power.
Studies show the more someone is driven by extrinsic values the more likely they are to become anxious and depressed.
So ask yourself, what’s your motive? How can you shift your life into focusing on achieving intrinsic values?
Materialism is a desperate cry for love, community, and respect. The more we see that within ourselves the more people will see it in themselves.
Do you want to be young and poor or old and rich? Well, Jordan Peterson said “Young and poor, cause you can’t buy you”
At the end of our lives, we’re not going to think about the bags, cars, shoes, and watches. We’re going to think about the time that we spent with the people we love. We’re going to wonder if we appreciated our lives enough. We’re going to think about all the beautiful memories with loved ones. We’re going to wonder if we left the world a better place than when we found it.
Today I encourage you to look at the world around you. Pay attention to the nature of our spending and take a good look at the people who are living a lifestyle based on extrinsic values.
A fun activity to start cultivating a more minimalist mindset is by going through your closet and donating all the clothes you haven’t worn in over a year. Give them to people in need. Small steps in the right direction can create new paths.
Thank you for tuning into today’s episode. If you enjoyed it please rate the episode on apple podcast, spotify or wherever you listen, your feedback means the world to me.
Before I go, I’m excited to answer a listener question from the “Tori Dealing with” Facebook group.
Natasha asked “When you and Jordan split, how did you find the strength to survive that relationship? How did you find the clarity to thrive?
The simple answer is time. Because it really does. But the more in depth answer is allowing myself to grieve. Give grace to myself when I am acting out of emotion, like rebounding. Taking responsibility for my actions and surrounding myself with people who helped me heal. My life coach stepped up in a big way during that time because I needed someone who wasn’t a friend to process everything with. I highly recommend seeking help from someone if you have the resources to do so. If not, fill up your media with audiobooks and podcasts that will help you shift your mindset. I always enjoy hearing someone give advice to me because it sounds like I’m listening to a friend, which feels good. But this is a very big question so I’ll be sure to do an entire episode on it this season.
Every week that I don’t have a guest on the podcast I’ll have a listener question segment so please submit questions via facebook page. The link will be in the show notes.
And as always, I will leave you with a song! This week will be “ All Related” by Nessi Gomez. It’s a gentle reminder of how connected you are to everything in nature, that’s why we must protect our home.
Thank you again for listening, check out the song, and no matter what happens today remember how special it is to be alive.