If I’m being honest, I’ve always had to be 3,4,5 hell even 20 steps ahead.
I don’t remember ever enjoying my childhood, but instead always worrying. I thought that was just the oldest child mentality, but knowing what I know now: it was my anxiety in full effect pre-diagnosis.
My father would take my siblings and I to McDonald’s frequently when I was around 8 years old. This was our thing. We would sit at a booth with our chicken nuggets and put all of our fries together in the middle to share.
Except this one time, he broke the news that he had lost his job and our McDonald dates were going to have to come to an end because things were about to get tight.
At 8 years old I remember my heart sinking and my mind racing wondering what exactly this meant. Were we going to be homeless? Would I have clothes to wear the next school year? Should I ask for money to go on that field trip?
Moving forward, I became a little too hyperaware of my family’s financial struggles.
I stopped asking for money unless it was an absolute must, as asking for a Benjamin or even an Abraham, came with the reminder that we were struggling.
I was 14 when I started saving up for a car and looking for scholarships to go to college. No driver’s permit or even the slightest idea of how to fill out a college application. Just fear of money keeping me from reaching my dreams, which turned into a drive to make it happen.
So while my peers were spending what money they did have on fairs and enjoying their young lives, I was applying for jobs, scholarships, and saving up for the car I could not even drive yet. Constantly worrying about things that I could not even control yet, which has followed me into my adult life.
I’ve never had a safety net. Not financially, mentally, or emotionally. This meant that I learned young to only depend on myself.
I’ve worked two jobs from the time I was 16 up until now and still have multiple side incomes.
So when I won a full-tuition university scholarship at the age of 14, understand that I’m not lucky. I worked hard for it. You didn’t see the late night tears of frustration from trying to figure it out on my own. The envy I felt towards my peers for being able to just be a kid with no worries or family members who could help.
When you see me driving my car, understand that I’m not lucky, but I saved up for 5 years to own it.
When I say I have won over $100,000 toward my education, understand that I worked for it.
When you see me “living my best life in Ghana, understand that I put in months of hard work to financially be here.
So please, stop telling me I’m lucky. My life is anything but lucky.
Luck respectfully, has nothing to do with it.