A lot of different people, throughout my life, have used a lot of different adjectives to describe me.
Malorie: kind, funny, short, animal-lover…
The list goes on.
Unfortunately, one word that has been used (particularly by certain members of my family) is one that hits me the hardest in the gut…
Out of any word in the entire dictionary that you could use to call me, spoiled is arguably the worst. Scratch that, it is the worst.
But I’m not just here to talk the talk because I’m defensive. I’m here to walk the walk because I want to prove you wrong.
I did not grow up in a wealthy family. My parents worked harder than anyone I’ve ever known to support my brother and I. I remember a time when my dad was working multiple jobs. Teacher by day; retailer by night; with other side jobs here and there. And before that, both of my parents would work at a newspaper warehouse. Getting up in the middle of the night to go sort newspapers to be delivered before the sun. I remember my brother and I would have to go with them to this job because we couldn’t afford a babysitter. 2am, mom would come in and wake us to go to the warehouse. At the time it was fun for us; we though it was a treat. Looking back I realize how hard that was for my parents; taking their two young children to a warehouse in the middle of the city and try to keep them wrangled while tying papers together before the deadline. Sometimes dad would have to leave early for his other job and mom was stuck finishing the rest of the work on her own. Just in time to take my brother and I to school and her off to work. From the very beginning I was surrounded by hardworking people. I never knew anything different.
Flash forward 15 years later and my parents are still those same workers. Dad now retired from teaching but far from retired from working. I can’t even count how many jobs he’s had since being a teacher. Mom’s still at her same job fighting every year to keep her hours and the hope alive for a 10 cent raise. 20 years at the same place and she’s never once had insurance. My brother and I never had any kind of insurance until we went to college. That’s foreign for some people.
Flash forward and now I’m 16. The day after my birthday I was applying for a job. Cart kid at a golf course. For the next 3 years I will be there. Working every holiday but Christmas. Using every cent of my paychecks to buy a car and ride horses.
My passion since I was a freckle in the sky.
I’ve never owned a horse, but I have done everything in my power to ride. I can’t even count how many horses I’ve managed to swing a leg over just by finding people nice enough to let me. I never started taking real lessons until I was in high school and was able to pay for them on my own and drive myself to the barn. Every year since before I could remember I’ve put a horse on my Christmas and birthday list. 20 years old and I still do it. 20 years and I’ve never expected it to happen. I just write it down to remind myself what I’m working towards.
Flash forward: now I’m in college.
I wasn’t supposed to end up at the college I’m at. I wasn’t supposed to be a University of Wyoming Cowgirl. I wasn’t supposed to move out of state. I wasn’t supposed to take out student loans. I was supposed to go to community college and live with my parents because that’s all we could afford. I wasn’t supposed to go behind my parents’ backs and apply to my dream school and get accepted. But I did because I knew I could do it on my own. I knew I could apply for scholarships and win them. I knew I could score high on my ACTs and graduate top of my class to make myself stand out for even more scholarships. I knew I could make it work on my own because I had to. And here I am.
I’m going into my senior year of college and I’ve done it all on my own. Every book bought, every tuition payment met, every loan paid on time. I’ve done it. I’ve had help along the way when I got stuck, sure. But it’s been me the whole way.
I’ve managed to get scholarships every semester for the past 3 years. I’ve managed to be an important and successful member of my equestrian team and continue my love of horseback riding, without ever once owning a horse. I will have lived in 3 homes throughout my college career, paying for them all with minimal help from my family.
Flash forward: today.
July 19th, 2017.
I’m sitting in a chair at a job that I hate, just coming from an internship that I worked so hard to get and almost had taken away from me.
Since the moment I stepped foot back in Colorado for the summer I’ve been working. 40 hours a week making minimum wage at two jobs.
Before walking into work today I watched a Snapchat of a friend of mine on a hiking trip. What I would do to be hiking at this very moment. My friend hasn’t worked. She does everything that I’ve always wanted to do. She has no worries.
And yet, I am spoiled.
No, friend. I am not.
I am working these mediocre jobs right now so I don’t have to later.
I am going to college so I can find a career doing something I am passionate about. I will be successful. I will make enough money to buy a car that doesn’t shake rattle and roll around every corner. I will be able to afford to buy myself flowers just because I want to. I will live in a house of my own with a barn in the back filled with horses that I worked hard for my entire life. My future is going to be sweet, my friend. I am not spoiled.
I am blessed.
I am blessed because I know the true meaning of hard work. I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and not be able to rely on my daddy to send me money every month. I know what it’s like to cry in the middle of the night because I don’t know how I will be able to afford rent and horse show fees and bills from a surgery next week.
Life has not come easy from me. It’s been a guessing game for the majority of my life.
But I’m proud of it.
I’m proud because I know while you, my friend, are having a wonderful summer full of hikes and sunshine, my summer, full of long days and artificial lighting, will pay off when I get to truly spoil myself later.