April 2004. I was born to a thirty-two year old drug addict and a twenty-five year old woman just trying to get her life back on track. My father was the guy who everyone knew, and despite his addictions, poor choices, most everyone liked him. My mom was an intelligent and loving woman who had fallen into the wrong crowd. The moment I was born my mom took it upon herself to straighten her life out. My father said he would as well, but struggled and couldn’t overcome his addictions. Despite all that, despite their disagreements, the one thing my parents had in common was their love for me.
It was February 2009 when my mother, nine months pregnant, had to tell her crying four year old daughter that daddy was gone forever. A heart-attack, previous conditions combined with substance abuse. We already didn’t have much income, our whole family was quite poor on both sides. Even after getting back on track, my mothers mental health issues made it hard for her to keep a job, at least before my father passed he had tried to contribute a little. Since his passing we’ve received a little money from his Canada Pension Plan Survivor's Benefits each month and that's definitely helped a little, but, should I continue to receive it under my name once I turn eighteen to help me through University, it'll mean I have to pay in during tax season each year as I make more than my mother has.
As a kid I always felt pressured to go to university. To be more “successful” than my parents were, but it was always my expectation, my worry, that doing so would break the bank. Yet regardless, I want nothing more than to go, to prove that despite the emotional hardships, familial complications, and money stresses, that I can succeed at University. I think about it a lot, how maybe if my father had had life insurance, had we received a little more money, a little more help, maybe my dreams of pursuing post-secondary education wouldn't have been seen as so outlandish, unrealistic or unobtainable. Maybe I wouldn't have been teased for being poor growing up. Maybe I wouldn't be relying solely on scholarships and student loans, anticipating crippling debt. Maybe my mother wouldn’t have to ask me to lend her my hard-earned money to help cover groceries when holidays and unexpected bills have come up.
Although no one thought I could do it, people looked at my parents choices, and my family's financial situation and considered me a write off, thought I would go nowhere, I've persevered and fought to be where I am. A 96% average student, who's been accepted to a competitive program in Forensic Psychology at St. Francics Xavier University and a Customer Service Manager at Walmart all at seventeen. Despite all of life's hardships, I've worked for my successes and hold them proudly.