When I was eight years old my father told me that we had money problems and so I brought him my piggy bank. What was only pennies and dimes to most were riches to me? Even with what meagre savings I had to offer, it was offered nonetheless. My father looked like he was going to cry.
In the prestigious hills of Orange County money runs rampant. People live in doll houses with horses grazing in back. It is a place with huge Fourth of July parades and prestigious events that cost too much to even be worth attending. The streets follow the curve of the earth, the higher you follow it, the bigger the houses seem to get.
My house sat on the bottom of a hill. In the summertime, my best friend, who lived across the street, would hop on our bikes and try to ride up it. We failed every time and had to walk the bikes to the top. Going down was an entirely different story. The wind would pull through our hair like a comb and take us soaring down the asphalt. Once at the bottom we could choose which house to go to hers or mine- right or left.
Saddlehill, as we now call it, was a house that looked pristine from the outside. HAving been my parent's dream home they re-did it from top to bottom. From floors to ceilings to rebuilding the muddy pool into a kids dream, nothing was left untouched. The house was in phase two when 2008 rolled around and everything changed. Concrete remained unfilled and the mood in our home shifted. The pretty of the house hid the heartache beneath.
We were never OC "Elite" or on any reality show and we had no trust funds to survive off of. The problem with bad luck is it tends to ripple, one bad thing after another. No matter what my Dad did every market seemed to crumble around him. Behind the pretty picket fence, my Mom was hiding how bad it really was getting. Years passed and when cans started piling up it was 'just in case of emergency.' Looking back it might have been as inconspicuous as the food she fed us- all they could manage to afford of food stamps without us noticing a change. My parents are proud people that didn't want to scare us or be judged by others. You see, when you have a paper house no one sees inside they just see the illusion you've drawn.
Personas are a flimsy thing and can easily crumble like paper in water. There is an orange-tinted glass to the life we had before the storm of 2008 and many still live with their eyes clouded that if the outside looks okay that everything must be fine. The truth is something far more bitter to the taste. Still, there is something honourable about loss, about living I the moment with o idea where you are going next, of moving seven times I four years, each movement makes you stronger. Home no longer is the place you live but the people you are with and a house is nothing but a space to refill with new memories. There is no shine I adversity but there is honour and growth. I don't miss the house I left behind, the life I had, because it was a stepping stone to where I was meant to be.
The most important lesson I have ever learned is the importance of moving forward. We can't live our lives looking I the past, how can you make the right step with your eyes set behind you? Paper houses are flimsy but a person is made of steel and will ot crumble beneath the waves of adversity.