By the time my parents cut me off, I had become an undeserving, manipulative individual with no drive and little to offer the world. Growing up, I had been given the best of the best. I went to the right schools, excelled in sports, and was everything they had dreamed of in a daughter. I was on the fast track to success.
Somewhere around the age of 16 that all changed and I began to get into trouble. I knew how to work the system and keep up a false front and somehow this went on for years. I made reckless decisions and threw my life away but was constantly bailed out by my doting parents because they couldn’t let go of the perfect daughter that I once was.
And I don’t blame them. Holding on to her had to be a lot easier than coming to realization that I had turned into a monster. I had grown accustomed to doing whatever the fuck I wanted, whenever I wanted and giving two shits about the consequences. I spent money like it was mine and partied away my life. I did this because at the end of the day I knew someone was going to bail me out and if you don’t have to work for the things you have, you don’t care enough to hang on to them.
I was given every opportunity out there and I threw it all away to live a life much below my potential, and a pretty pathetic one at that. I lied, cheated, and stole my way through my late teens. I manipulated everyone around me into doing what I wanted so I could continue to be a worthless scum who didn’t have to work for anything. It wasn’t a conscious decision of betrayal but it happened nonetheless. My anxiety was through the roof and I was sent to some extremely expensive therapists to help me figure it out and deal with these “problems.”
In reality, my anxiety stemmed from the constant guilt and shame of being a terrible human being. Finally, everyone had enough. My parents cut me off completely, my enabler boyfriend dumped me, and I was left in a shitty apartment in east Hollywood with roaches and black mold because that’s all I could afford.
Honestly, that was the best thing to ever happen to me. I was working at a $10-an-hour job at the time and barely making ends meet. My cheap, filthy apartment ate up most of my paycheck and my strictly budgeted food allowance pretty much took up the rest. Gone were the days of buying a new outfit for the night’s festivities and going to brunch with friends on a random Wednesday. I yearned for my luxury 5th floor apartment with all the amenities and no responsibility of my own. I slowly drifted away from my friends and started spending more and more time at home watching red box movies with a cup of ramen. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see a privileged white girl anymore but rather a hard-working, barely getting by adult with bags under her eyes. I didn’t recognize this person and it terrified me.
At first I mourned the loss of who I used to be. I remember crying on my long commute to my shitty job on an almost daily basis. I pathetically begged my ex for help, which was an epic fail. I was completely alone which was terrifying and liberating at the same time. I scrimped every penny and sold anything and everything that I could. I worked second jobs that made me miserable just to pay my electric bill.
I know that I sound like a spoiled brat because these are things that people do all the time, but this was a new world for me. My whole life, security had never been an issue. Not that I had an unlimited supply of money but I definitely had never worried about where my next meal would be coming from. Now, I was losing weight not by choice, but because my food had to be rationed to what I could afford on my next-to-nothing paycheck.
The funny thing is, these were some of my proudest times because I made it happen. It was about survival and I did it all by myself. At this point I had cut out most of my shitty, fake friends in lieu of a few real people in my life, and my family was pretty much done with my bullshit for very good reason. I had no one to bail me out. It was then that I learned to truly rely on myself and it was such a relief. I had nothing, yet I built a small life for myself and that meant so much more to me than the beautiful life laid out for me that I had stomped all over.
For months I scrimped by and eventually began to grow. I stopped trying to win back the rich douchebag that had left me and let it go. I gave up trying to be the hot, cool girl and just wore whatever old clothes I could throw together. I stopped pretending to live up to my parents’ pretentious standards and was just myself in the simplest form. I didn’t go to fancy bars but had a blast drinking forties on my porch with friends. I hung out at random parks on my days off and shopped at food for less. I stopped being invited to nightclubs and social events because I wasn’t up to par with their standards and that was OK. The sting of being rejected by my old life hurt in the beginning but faded with time and perspective.
Eventually I found myself a better-paying job and had some spending money. Instead of wasting it away, I enrolled in classes and decided to go back to school. After years of my parents thrusting money in my face to get an education, I made this decision for myself. For once, I made a decision to make a better life for myself, not to please those around me. I worked hard and got A’s and now I am transferring to a university in the fall.
I am aware that most people didn’t have the opportunities that I threw away in the first place and I don’t meant to sound ungrateful because I’m not. My parents worked incredibly hard to offer me the life that they did and I appreciate this more than they know. However, I am more grateful for the day they pulled the plug because that’s when I learned to grow up and contribute something to the world. I remember these times when I am struggling and know that I can get through it. Although I didn’t take the path that was handed to me on a golden platter, this path is turning out to be much more interesting.