The other day at work, I was talking to my coworker and the topic of wealth came up. Everytime I talk to her about goals that I have or things that I’ve done or have, she always says, “Yes! Money.”
This makes me feel super uncomfortable, because I’m not one to brag or talk about the fact that I didn’t necessarily have to struggle growing up. My family, by no means was rich, but I never had a day that I had to worry where something was coming from.
When I was younger, I couldn’t tell if we were rich, poor or somewhere in between. It was my grandmother, my mom and I in a small house in pre-gentrified Flatbush, Brooklyn. I went to private school for the first 10 years of my life. Half of my friends from that school lived in public housing, the other half lived in houses that their parents owned. I was probably one of the few that had a single mother holding the shit down.
My mom put me in dance lessons, piano lessons, art lessons and time and time again I met people whose parents had money. If I was here with them, wasn’t I rich too? I remember once, I took a class at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and became friends with two girls. One was super pretty, she could be a supermodel and I thought she was. Her family lived on the Upper East Side…speaks for itself. The other was from New Jersey and I never had a friend from Jersey.
When the program was coming to an end, both friends decided to have a get together at their respective homes. I was so excited and I begged my mom to take me to both. I was about 12 or 13 at the time a very impressionable pre-teen. My friend from Manhattan had her get together first. My mom and I took the train from Brooklyn. When we arrived at her apartment building, I was speechless. My mom even said, “Is this the right place?” We checked the address and called my friend. We were in the right place.
The awe was going to increase. As we went up the elevator to one of the top floors, I was getting impatient. The doors finally opened to a penthouse. It was HER penthouse. Not her mom’s, not her dad’s…HER’S. All of the other girls were giggling and I joined right in, but that’s when I realized that I was not as rich as I thought I was.
My other friend from the program was earning her own money. At a young age, she started acting and she landed a role on Broadway. Not only that, she was the singing voice of a character on one of my favorite Nick cartoons. (I have more celebrity friends, but that’s for another post). When I went to her house, her backyard was three times the size of mine and her room was four times the size of mine.
I was not rich, but my mom had money. She made 6 figures and I never had to struggle. In fact, my tuition for undergrad was paid in full because of her and that coin. Talking to my coworker and other friends, I realize that I had it better than a lot of them.
Now I know, there was definitely struggle, but my mother never let me see that. I never had to guess if there was going to be enough money to pay for everything that I was in, but she probably did.
I hope that whatever my financial situation is when I have my kids, whether I’m married or not, they can be like me, be children and not worry about our financial situation.
Thank you mommy.