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Almost-Homeless at Seventeen
Walking towards the convenience store counter, I reached out my hands filled with dimes, nickels, and pennies; no quarters. “Seven dollars on pump two,” I said, embarrassment reddening my cheeks. After receiving a look of pure confusion and annoyance from the cashier, I mumbled, “I’m sorry,” threw the pile of change in front of him, and ran out towards my white-trash Toyota Corolla.
Welcome, to the world of an almost-homeless teenage girl.
After being kicked out of my parents’ house at the end of August, I was looking forward to a senior year full of nonstop partying and freedom. Virtually, I could do whatever I pleased, well so I thought. I had a car, a job, friends, and money. My life was pretty easy, considering I was a seventeen-year-old girl living on her own, right?
Not. At. All.
What I failed to realize was the overwhelming amount of responsibility I now had laying on my shoulders. Soon, I found myself struggling to juggle school, work, sports, and friends. And faster than my homeless escapade began, I started to run out of money and time.
I was working obscene hours until 9:30-10:00 p.m at least four nights during the school week, and then trying to balance time for homework and other necessities.
I also thought my life would turn into a typical teen movie filled with constant partying, always going out and always being with friends. But what I discovered was that since moving out, I turned into even more of a hermit than I already was. Instead of being out all night like I intended, I was going to bed at 8 o’clock on weekends, attempting to make up for the lost sleep I so desperately needed.
Another problem was my finances. It’s one thing to watch your parents figure out how to spend money; it’s a whole other ballpark when you have to do it yourself. Trying to figure out how much I could spend on what. And after taking out money for my car insurance, phone bill, gas, and other essentials, I was left with about $ 1.50.
So that’s when I started to lose my “junkie” friends. The twenty-year-old potheads sluggishly dispersed from me once I was unable to give them rides to their drug deals, or pay for the late night McDonald’s cravings.
And for most of the time, I did not have a phone. Honestly, because I just could not afford to pay my phone bill. So after going phone-less, ditching the junkies and spending my weekends sleeping rather than going out, I was left entirely alone.
Not one of my friends, (of course except the one I live with now,) knew the struggles I was facing, and you know what is even worse?
None of them even cared.
And that’s the lesson in the end. Everyone’s just looking out for themselves, and no one ever truly cares.
But strangely, I find comfort in this idea, and i have allowed it to shape me and grow from my experiences. When you are on your own, and at rock bottom, it slowly comes into view who your true friends are, and who’s just there to take advantage and reap the benefits.
I also have been figuring out who I am as a person. Being freed from my parent’s reign, I am finding out what is important to me and what I believe in.
Wish me luck in this cruel world!