Stars

My life is going downhill and I can't do anything about it.

I don't know where to start.

I guess I'm a normal girl. Well, I've always thought I was normal. In terms of social status I've had a pretty normal life. I've had plenty of acquaintances and casual friends throughout my life, I've always had a good circle of close friends who support me and love me and are good to me, I've even had a few boyfriends here and there. In school, I am normal. Just another girl walking through the hallways, attending class, talking to friends, doing some extracurriculars after school.

I've never gotten in trouble. Well, I take that back, I have a few times. Actually... only once, in 1st grade I pinned a guy against a wall and screamed at him for making fun of my friend. Afterwards I ran home, which surprised my mother greatly. She called the school and I returned and eventually the event blew over. I didn't get punished, nothing bad happened. The boy avoided me after that, but whatever, life goes on.

But see, I've never ditched school besides that. I've never smoked. I've never drunken alcohol. I've never done drugs, I've never had sex, I've never gotten suspended or expelled.

So on the surface, at school and in society, I'm a decent, normal kid, living a normal regular life.

Well. Let me start with the disclaimer that I'm not complaining about my life. I know there are millions of people out there with lives hundreds of times worse than mine. With problems which make mine seem insignificant and dumb. But at the same time, there are millions of people out there who, well from what I see around me at school, live perfectly average lives or perhaps even better than average lives.

I guess this is just the story of a girl who thought she was normal, until everything started going downhill her senior year of high school. Isn't that just fantastic? The last year of my teenage life, the last year of dependency on my parents, the last year of required public school education, the last year before my transition into adulthood.

Adulthood. Adulthood? Adolescence? Childhood? Who am I? You can label me as a adolescent sure, but once you tear off that label and look deep inside my head, you'll realize I'm still just a kid. I'm a kid. I am irresponsible. Undisciplined. Perhaps even stupid. All I want out of life is fun, all I want is to live and love and be happy. Is that so much to ask? (Yes it is)

I am a seventeen year old child, applying to colleges with no clue how the world works and the immensity of what it means to become an adult.

I don't know how to do taxes. I don't know how the economy works (well, my economics class is second semester, so I'll probably learn soon....). I don't know how to pay bills for credit cards and for cellphones. I don't know what mortgage is. I don't know how to pay rent. I don't know anything about politics and laws. I don't even know how to drive. My brother is getting his permit before me.

Should I blame this on my parents? Who teaches you how to pay bills anyway? Public schools certainly don't. Sure, I could google this right now and figure it out but......

See, my dad lives in Korea. Yeah, maybe I should have started the story here. He has been living in Korea since I was in 3rd grade. I don't know what it feels like to grow up with a dad. I never will.

When I was young we talked everyday on the phone for about five minutes. He visited at least twice a year, on Christmas, and in the summer. Sometimes we went on family trips to nice places like Disney World, Hawaii, Napa Valley, etc. We were happy and we were normal.

But eventually, the talks got shorter. He started sounding more tired. I started to only get to talk to him a few times a week. Two years ago he didn't come home for Christmas. And I cried for hours before falling asleep, but when I woke up the next morning I was still optimistic. It's okay, I told myself. It's just one Christmas. It's no big deal, he'll come next year and it'll be fine.

This Christmas I cried a little less and woke up feeling numb.

But see, I can't complain right? It's not like my parents are divorced, sure they're separated but they still love each other. I'm still sitting in a home. Wait a minute. I'm still sitting in my home. Not for very long though....

So... starting about a few years my mom started telling me that my dad's job wasn't doing very well. Those exact words, "not doing very well." Those were the only words she'd ever say to me. At first I didn't even worry about it. See how stupidly childish and naive I am? I didn't even think of asking her for more details. I just assumed my dad would be fine and we'd be fine and everything was all peaches and daisies and god I'm so dumb.

Well, eventually I started to get suspicious. It was a very gradual process (like everything in my god damn life is) and I just started asking her for more specifics. But she'd just keep telling me, "Oh it's fine, he's just not "doing very well."

And one day she asked if she could use my laptop to watch some Korean dramas in the kitchen while she cooked and I said sure. When she returned it to me, I turned on the screen and saw that she had accidentally left an internet window open on my computer.

It was an email. The email said it was from my dad (?) to my mom, yet the letter was addressed from my mom to our landlord.

It basically said... We're sorry we haven't been able to pay the rent for the last few months, my husband's business hasn't been doing so well lately (URGH), we haven't been able to pay some other bills also, so please give us some more time and... basically give us some mercy.

After reading that, well... I wasn't sure how to react. The naive child in me began to feel fear, the moody adolescent in me started to feel rage. I was torn between feeling angry at my parents for not telling me the truth, and also felt fearful for what would become of us. But mostly, I just felt stupid. How could I have not know our financial situation was so bad? What are my parents doing to me? Has my entire life been a lie? Just a facade that everything is okay, everything's alright, I'm a normal kid living a normal life in normal god damn home.

That was a few months ago. And... I forgot about it. Wow, I really am something. Well, I didn't completely forgot about it. I wondered for awhile whether I should confront my mom about the email, but I decided I wouldn't. I just decided after that day that I'd be more careful with my money, and that my mom would tell me the truth eventually. I started nagging her every now and then about telling me the truth about our financial situation but she'd always reply, "It's fine, it's fine everything is okay, we'll handle it."

Well okay, well here's where it comes to today.

My dog ran away today. There was a hole in our fence that we didn't know about and I guess he got out and now he's lost.... I'm so scared. I'm so freaking scared that he might be hurt or scared somewhere in the dark. I'm scared of all the horrible people out there who might have kidnapped him or sold him or I don't even want to think about what else they might do.

In the past, he ran away once because my mom left the gate open on accident. When I went to backyard and saw that it was open and he was gone, I panicked and ran out to find him. But once I got out onto the sidewalk, I saw him just strutting along and once he saw me he ran towards me. I picked him up and felt so relieved, and a person walking his dog saw me and told me that he saw my dog just walk around the neighborhood and come right back to our house. We laughed about it, and everything was alright.

But that was a long time ago, and now... I don't know. He's a really smart dog, and I'm sure he would have found his way home but since he hasn't.... I don't know what could have happened to him.

I contacted all the closest pet shelters and hospitals, and even the police department. I put up a few posters tonight, and I'll put more up tomorrow.

Anyway, after I put up the posters and I got back home, my mom asked me if I could show her how to scan a document for her to send to my dad. I said sure and I showed her how to do it. While scanning it, I glanced very briefly at the title and saw the words "Superior Court". I had a brief second of panic which I kept inside, and calmly scanned and sent the email to my dad. She took the document and went back to her room, but the USB is mine and it's plugged into my computer right now.

"An unlawful detainer complaint (eviction action) has been filed naming you as defendant."

....

So now we're going to court.

Within one day, I lost my dog and found out we're going to court. That we could possibly be evicted. And my dad is still in Korea and I haven't see him for two years and asking my mom once again today, she still tells me, "It's fine, don't worry about it, we'll be okay"

I don't know anymore. I don't know anything. I feel like my life has just been a facade of normality and false comfort. I should have been working on my college essays today and yet here I am on this website typing out my entire life story for you to read.

I don't even know how this website works. What happens now? Do you give me advice? Do you tell me you relate to my problems? Do you really relate to my problems?

The future is so large and dark. Dark as the dull suburban nights in my neighborhood with no stars and barely any streetlights. I walked for thirty minutes putting up posters with brother and tomorrow I'll have to put up more outside of our neighborhood and in the streets.

I used to be an optimist. At least, I've always thought I was an optimist but in reality I can see that it was just naivety, perhaps even idiocy. I am an idiot. I can't understand myself. I can't understand the world.

I've learned so much over the years in my education, I've learned maths and sciences and history and literature. I'm currently taking an AP literature and AP psych class and as I learn more about the human condition, human nature and the human mind, I still feel as if I don't understand anything at all.

And after running around my neighborhood in the dark, searching for my dog and putting up posters, this part from the song "Javert's Suicide" from Les Misérables got stuck in my head.

"I am reaching, but I fall
And the stars are black and cold
As I stare into the void
Of a world that cannot hold
I'll escape now from the world
From the world of Jean Valjean.
There is nowhere I can turn
There is no way to go on...."

WAIT but don't take this as a sign I'm going to commit suicide. I'm much to stubborn to die. It's just those two lines, "I am reaching but I fall/ And the stars are black and cold" which kind of stick to me. Probably because of its reference to the earlier song he sung "Stars", man.... Les Misérables really gets to me. I cried throughout the entire movie. After watching it, I started listening to nothing but the soundtrack (of the 10th anniversary cast because they're amazing), and I started reading the book.

But basically... I just don't know what to do. I don't know what a normal person would do in a situation like this. Why am I focusing so much on being "normal" anyway? Well... it's just societal values and pressure, I guess.

I don't even know what the point was of writing all this and submitting it to this website. What good will it do? I will still be stuck in this life, and I'll still have to write some college essays where I pretend I'm a normal student who aspires to be something great when... that probably won't happen.

Who knows. Maybe I'll get out of this, maybe we'll get out of this. My optimism (or blind naivety perhaps) is struggling to stay alive, but it's still there, yes.The future is dark but if I stare long enough I'll be able to see a few stars.
An Ep User An EP User
1 Response Jan 21, 2013

You'll get beyond this, have faith. This is just a particularly bad period and set of circumstances. Pull together as a family. Tell your Mom that you know of her struggles with rent and ask her what you and your brother can do to help. She may initially be embarrassed that you know, perhaps trying to insulate you from that bad news so you didn't have to get dragged into her problems and could focus on school, but its too late now anyway. Besides, she needs your moral and physical support right now. Your stress is nothing compared to that of your poor Mom.

You're already doing all you can to find your dog. We lost two dogs for a couple days, but they found their way home. And there are more charitable people in the world than mean so he's more likely Ok than not. You're a good student. Focus on your studies. Your education will allow you to build a better and more stable life than your parents. Your intellect is your greatest strength. Let this experience teach you to persevere. God has a plan for you. Have faith for a better tomorrow, but don't sit on your *** waiting for it to happen. Good luck.