This is all part of a much bigger story that will be revealed later. To sum it up, I went to live with my birth mother at the age of 14. It was more like a roommate situation instead of a relationship between a parent and their child. After 10 years of separation, any bonds we may have had were broken and we were like complete strangers to each other. We were always broke and I never understood why because she made more than enough money between work and what she received from my dead father. When I would complain to her family about her being broke, they explained that she had a bad gambling addiction. At my age, I didn't understand how someone could be so broke from gambling if you're supposed to win money. Many years later, as an adult, I finally understood why gambling made her broke. There were many times I wanted to go back into the foster care system because I was bored and things weren't as I had expected, however, I was warned that if I went back into the system, things would be far worse for me. In the end, I sacrificed my mental freedom in order to be bored with absolutely nothing to do but watch tv and chat with friends on my computer from a distance. (The computer was a gift from my uncle, her brother)
With that said, I ended up raising myself from this point. It was clear that I couldn't rely on her for anything, including emotional support. She gave me my annuity payment of $150 each month. This is what I had to live on and had to include all of my expenses aside from rent, utilities, and groceries. For groceries I got $50 every 2 weeks. The $150 was to cover my cell phone, internet, clothing, hygiene products, school supplies, school fees, and any extracurricular activities I wanted to do. $150 was not enough to pay for these things. The moment I could get a job, I immediately started working. The older I became, the more I understood why my mom was always broke. She would even go out of her way to steal my money. I eventually got fed up and dropped out of school so I could work full time and focus on getting away from her sooner than later. I paid cash for my first two cars. I lied about my age and started establishing credit when I was 16. I got my first apartment before I was 18 and lied about my age at that time too. I even went to social security and told them she was gambling my check every month. The guy was so mad that he did everything he could to get my money away from her. This only helped me save even faster and gave me plenty of cushion to go back to high school and finish both my 11th and 12th grade years in one year. I did everything on my own. I got back into school, I worked, and I went to school and did online school from home at the same time. I did it all without a support system and based on my own choices. I could have chosen different, but I was too mature and responsible to do anything that normal kids probably would have chosen.
I learned responsibility early on. Many accused one of my early foster families of giving me too many responsibilities in their care. They figured I had to help care for people because so many had disabilities. I really had no more responsibilities than a normal kid would have had in any other home. I had to set and clear the table every single night, clean my room occasionally, and sometimes help with weekend cleaning. If anything, I learned what I am capable of by watching people who were less advantaged than I was. The woman who raised me was a strong woman and she did almost everything on her own with little support from anyone. People probably thought I had to help her a lot because she had muscular dystrophy and couldn't move her arms or legs. She was actually very resourceful and found ways to get things done with or without help. With her, I was still able to be a kid and my life was mostly exciting. She was the primary person in my life who raised me and is probably the only person I have ever felt bonded to besides my biological grandmother. It was she who taught me right from wrong and truly loved me as if I was one of her own. If anyone in my life taught me what I am capable of, it was her. Everything else was work I did on my own and my self determination to get somewhere in life. The Teddy Bear may have been my wake up call, but everything else was me and my own will to do good and be able to survive in the world.
Again, this is all part of a much bigger story. Stay tuned.