Ali Iacono – Staff Writer –
As I write this I am in tears. As I write this I am having an anxiety attack. And as I write this I am unemployed. You think I would be used to having absolutely no income around this time of year. I mean, I have been employed at my job for about six years and almost every year we have closed from the end of December until beginning to mid-February. But something is different this year. I’m different this year. I’m more independent. I pay my bills, I pay my gas, I pay for doctor’s visits (without insurance), I pay for food and I pay for entertainment.
Ever since the passing of my mother, I have grown into someone I have always imagined myself to be, but not so soon; a grown, independent woman.
I have become my own care-taker in place of my mother and as a result, I have learned my mother is truly irreplaceable. Even I can’t fully take care of my every need without getting knocked down and struggling to get back up again.
Money has always been an issue in my life. I never grew up living the lifestyle that all of my friends did. My home wasn’t the house all my friend’s wanted to have sleepovers at. It wasn’t the home that I wanted to have sleepovers at. It certainly wasn’t my dream home, but with time I realized it was a home. It was a roof over my head. It was shelter from the cold, hot and stormy days and nights. It was a place I made memories in with people that love me; which is something you can’t put a price on.
Though my realization may sound cute and fuzzy, it was only so comforting. The reality was my parents weren’t making a lot of money. My father lost his well-paying job at the start of the economic downfall. My mother had severe arthritis in her knee and wasn’t able to work. I learned from a very young age that in order to get the things I needed and wanted in life, I was going to have to earn them myself.
So, while my friends spent nights in their beautiful homes, I spent nights bussing tables. I worked hard throughout high school, which I know is something a lot of my friends and fellow classmates cannot relate to. I didn’t have mommy and daddy to fall back on as much as they did.
As I’ve grown, my desire for money has too. I’ve pushed my boss for raises, I’ve busted my butt to develop a sturdy checking and savings account and I’ve never lost sight on getting everything I need in life. I became a working woman beginning at the age of 17, but things are different now.
See, then I was living at home with my parents. I was driving their car and paying for gas when needed. I paid my part of the phone bill, and I paid for my entertainment.
A month after my mom passed, my dad and I got into a huge feud. You see, my father didn’t just lose the love of his life, he lost himself as well. The night of the argument was the night I moved out of my not-so-beautiful home and moved in with my sister.
That’s when everything changed.
I bought a newer car that I now have monthly payments for, I got my own cell phone plan which I pay more for, I still pay for my gas, I still pay for my entertainment (though I don’t do things as often as most people my age do). I also help my sister to pay bills every now and again. I’ve taken full responsibility for myself and right here, in this moment, I have emotionally lost it.
My job has been closed since Dec. 23 and shows no signs of reopening any time soon. I have applied for unemployment; however, I have been having an extremely difficult time obtaining it. I have absolutely no income right now, but that doesn’t stop the bills from piling up.
In this moment I am experiencing a meltdown, in this moment I’m falling apart, and in this moment I would give anything to be 17 again; when my biggest concern was my not-so-beautiful home.
Always be thankful for what you have, even if it isn’t much.