Adulting is so ghetto, and I think it’s fair to ask for my money back. I’m celebrating my birthday soon, and all I can think of is everything I wish I had not taken for granted when I was younger. A prime example: my parents being my sole, personal sponsors for everything I needed. If I had known better, I would not have been in such a rush to be on my own.
I remember being 16 years old, attending Glassboro High School; I could not wait to graduate so I could tell my parents, “I am grown!” Now before y’all get to thinking I would dare talk to my parents that way, I would not. (I might’ve been exhausted from following rules and orders, but never in my life was I stupid. Let’s be clear: my mom is Black, and if you grew up with a Black mother, you knew to not even play like that. I would’ve gotten the taste smacked out of my mouth and would not be here today to tell the story.) The point is, the thought of being grown and not being told what to do was always on my mind.
I grew up in a household that, honestly, was stricter than most. The rules and guidelines I had to follow were, to my knowledge at that time, absurd and unjust. I could not even have a boyfriend at 17 years old. In my senior year, I literally had to protest. Basically, my mother took me out of school and told me I could no longer go if I continued to have a boyfriend. I loved school and education was important to me, so I am pretty sure my mom did not think I would follow through, but I did.
A week went by, and my dad couldn’t believe I really would not give up my boyfriend and go back to school. He told my mom to knock it off because this was unhealthy; eventually—after she thought long and hard about it—my mom let me have my boyfriend. Who could only call the fax machine for 5 minutes at a time—because all my calls were monitored and recorded. (I promise my mother lowkey worked for the Feds.) After that whole boyfriend boycott, as soon as I graduated, I went straight off to college.
Once I got to college and was no longer confined within my parents’ walls, I thought being grown was lit. I was an RA (resident assistant), so that paid for my housing. All I had to worry about was going to class, making it to the cafe for Fried Chicken Thursdays, cheer practice, and paying my lil’ Sprint cell phone bill (that was $30.00 at the time). Nobody could tell me that being grown wasn’t lit.
Fast forward to life in 2023, and I’m over here feeling like Oprah in The Color Purple (All my life I had to fight!). All this time, being grown was a scam and I had no idea. I cannot tell you how many times in this past year I would be sitting by myself thinking, if only I could go back to my recorded and monitored calls, life would be so easy. Between work, bills, finances, family, my health, balancing work relationships, personal extracurricular activities, and making sure I do special events (or risk becoming the villain in someone else’s story for not showing up)—I truly appreciate and have nothing but respect for the Black bootcamp I grew up in.
Now, I do not want y’all to think I am complaining; I am only expressing my reality and truth. Although I’m built Ford-tough to outlast any storm, the reality is I did not fully appreciate my childhood when I was growing up. I was so eager to be grown and to change my situation that I missed a lot of the roses along the way. Oftentimes we let a bad time trick us into thinking we have a bad life. But appreciate whatever situation you are in because, I can assure you, someone is praying to be in that position.
I thought my parents were overdoing it, but they only wanted to protect me, especially from dusty boys in high school. Yes, monitoring phone calls was a bit extreme, but I would give anything for them to be the extra pairs of eyes I need now because in my world one bad decision can cost you everything. And I may not have had the freedom of speech, but I definitely had freedom from bills.
Tell me something you wish you hadn’t taken for granted?Leave a Comment