I grew up as an only child for the first seven years of my life. I was spoiled to the point of no return. Santa brought me everything I ever wanted and more. I often cried to get my way. If my mom said I could only pick one thing at the toy store, I often left with five. Birthdays go without even saying. They were the celebration of a young princess of England.
I look back at old videos of these moments and cringe. How could I have been so rotten? Was life really better back then? Or was I in a strange bubble I enjoyed way too much?
At 17, I decided it was time to pop this bubble. I told my parents I was moving away for college and they supported me every step of the way. I thought I would have all the luxuries of home while away. Boy, was I wrong.
My parents quickly replaced “my” brand new car with a pink bicycle. I attached princess streamers to avoid feeling completely out of my element. Ridiculous? I think not.
I rode my bike to school and In N Out Burger everyday. I was still a princess. I was the princess of french fries. I cried for a car for over a year even though I lived at school and my job was about six blocks away.
The car I longed for never magically arrived at my dorm parking lot. It rained and I often got soaked in puddle water on my way to and from work. I struggled but I refused to move back home. I refused to give up. I was desperately trying to run away from that brat I had become as a child.
After many mistakes, some deadly, it was safe to say I was humbled by my college experience. I met people at work who had only owned a bike their entire life. I met people who had to work overtime just to “make it.”
Coming from a bratty background, I realized the bubble I had lived in for so many years was a sad one. I hadn’t seen the world yet. I hadn’t felt any pain yet. I could honestly say I had never once suffered in the past.
Coming face-to-face with the real world was extremely painful for me. Mostly because I have the great gift of empathy. I feel what other people feel. After my brat phase, I was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and gratefulness.
How could I have enjoyed life so much as a sheltered little girl? How could I have not seen the real world for so long?
I became very angry and bitter for the next few years. I was angry at the world for treating every person in it so differently than the next. I was angry that the world I once knew was completely shattered before my eyes.
After all had been said and done, I came out on top. I realized I needed to stop trying to punish myself and embrace the beauty of the world again. Not the beauty I had once known, but the new beauty I had found as a result of my painful reality check.
I now find beauty in other people’s journey. I find the old lady with the colorful fuzzy hat to be extremely intriguing. Vulnerability inspires me to do more, learn more and write more. I share love instead of words of hate because I know I can greatly impact just about anyone I cross paths with.
The brat version of me still likes to make surprise guest appearances but I quickly tell her to stay grounded, humble and kind. She’s sometimes quicker to leave than other times, but in the end, I am no longer defined by her. I might struggle with multiple personalities at times, but I love the 20-something humbled version of me best. She has the ability to change the world.
Love Deeply and Forever,