A Teen In Her Twenties

There is something about myself I cannot stop laughing at.

When I was a teenager, my family constantly told me I wasn’t a normal teen. “Normal” teenagers hang out at the mall with their friends every weekend and normal 20-year-olds hang out into the early hours of the morning every night. I stayed indoors, keeping to myself as I played video games, watched television, and browsed the internet. Not an exciting life, but a quiet one. Interestingly, they never answered the question of where a jobless teenager would get the money for weekly shopping trips.

However, I am 23 and I am now more of a “normal” teenager than I ever was during my teen years.

  • I do shop. A lot. Granted, this is mostly due to getting an employee discount from the store I work, but I shop plenty at other stores too, mostly online. I am getting control of this habit now, but when I first got my job and, later on, my credit line, it was crazy.
  • I have a boyfriend. More so, I have a secret boyfriend. Hiding who you’re dating from your family is definitely a teenage thing!
  • While I don’t have a group of friends, I do have one best friend I hang out with when our schedules allow it. We don’t hang around at the mall, but we do hang around each other’s houses and watch anime together.
  • I have a lot more drama now than I did in high school, and at one point, that did include jealousy and boy drama, a problem I never had in high school!
  • I go out a lot, even when I don’t work. My days off are taken by my boyfriend, my best friend, or errands I’m trying to get done. It’s to the point my family now occasionally complains I’m not home enough whereas they used to complain I stayed in too much.
  • I’m more social at work than I was at school. I talk to new co-workers without shyness and while I would only call one or two of them friends, I easily get along with almost everyone.

Of course, having a job is the reason behind most of this. I shopped because I have money to shop with. I have money for transportation. And I can still save up money by budgeting and not losing my mind. Somehow, having a job has done a lot for my self-confidence in more than only work-related aspects.

I know being a “23-year-old teenager” isn’t really something to brag about, but it makes me curious about how I’ll be when I’m in my late twenties. I can’t say I’d be unhappy with a life that has my “sister”, the love of my life, and some shopping and hanging out mixed in with everything else I enjoy in life.

Advertisements

The Best Years

Something I often say is if I were given a choice between death and reliving my childhood, I’d choose death. For the most part, my reason is, to put it simply, my childhood sucked. It sucked enough that I was first suicidal at age ten, spent nearly my whole adolescence fighting against those feelings, and was often wishing I had died in infancy. I have never said I had the worst childhood, but it’s certainly not worth repeating.

However, even if I didn’t have to experience the abuse and dysfunction, I feel like I’d still choose death over childhood. Being totally honest, childhood is much cuter and more fun as an outsider viewing it than as an insider living it. I could write out a list of reasons, but the main one is powerlessness.

As a child, you have no control over your life, and that’s true no matter how amazing your childhood is. Outside of the dysfunctional aspect, one of the things I hated most about my childhood is we moved every year. I hated moving and to this day, I still loathe it, but as a child, what was I to do? I had no choice in where I lived, what school I attended, or where I moved to. I had a choice in absolutely nothing, and knowing you are powerless against something (or someone) feels awful, no matter how supportive those people are.

I couldn’t do that. I could not return to a time where someone had full and total control over my life, even if that person was the most loving in the world (she wasn’t, but that’s not the point). Childhood is essentially a luck of the draw. If you’re lucky, that powerlessness isn’t often a deterrent in you having a happy life until adulthood, and you’ll wish for it back when you are an adult because it was that enjoyable. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll consider yourself lucky for having survived it in the first place.

The only thing I could say I really miss from my childhood are certain cartoons and the familiarity of some locations. Those are nowhere near enough to make me consider my childhood worth anything. I’d burn all of my years before age 17 into oblivion if possible, and the only reason I’m even choosing the age of 17 is it’s how old I was when I met my best friend, who I continually call the only good I got out of high school. Without her, I’d burn every year before meeting my boyfriend, which would start my life at the very beginning of 2015, four months before my 21st birthday.

It’s akin to the expression of how one’s high school years are the best of their life. Without the existence of my best friend, I’d burn them to the ground, and the school along with them. They weren’t the worst years of my life, but I don’t consider them worth anything reliving.

My 20s so far are shaping up to be nice, so perhaps when I reach 30, I’ll call them the best years of my life and consider them well reliving. For now, however, nothing in my life I can remember, besides meeting the two most important people I’ve already mentioned, is worth reliving. Is that really a bad thing? Maybe, or maybe not. Since reliving the past is impossible beyond hallucination, it’s a moot point.

Credit: A Necessary Evil

Lately, I’ve been researching credit cards and companies because my credit file is nearly non-existent. As much as that sucks because it makes some things harder, I think I’d rather put up with the lack of credit than deal with a credit card.

From what I’ve found, most of these companies are terrible, especially big ones like Capital One, which was full of reviews about how their customer service sucks and they’re terrible at handling fraud. I’ve had my debit card receive fraudulent charges before, so knowing how that would be handled is very important. Thankfully, it’s only happened twice, and each time, I was not held accountable for the charges and the matter was rectified immediately. Hell will freeze over before I do business with any company that would hold me responsible for something that isn’t my fault.

Aside from bad experiences, some of the requirements for these cards sound dangerous. Since my credit is close to none, I could only ever have a secured credit card, which apparently requires a deposit of up to $300. Which does make sense, but worries me for the sole fact that money is no longer mine. Apparently, if you miss even one payment, no matter how small, the company will run off with your deposit. That means the only way to ensure I don’t ever forget the bill is to use automatic payment, and I am not by any means allowing a company I have no trust in at the moment into my bank accounts (if they haven’t already gotten into them, considering a social security number is required to apply for these cards). The only company I have auto-pay set up with is my cell phone provider, and I didn’t even permit that until I’d been with them for at least two years. Also, the only way you get your deposit back (if they don’t run off with it, that is) is if you cancel the card… which will badly affect your credit score. How does that not sound like a trap? “You have to give us your money, but if you leave us, we’ll still damage you.” In short, either way, I’d be backed into a corner and screwed. The choices are stay with this credit company for life, even if I’m not satisfied with them, or take a hit because I dare to leave them. Sounds like an abusive relationship. At this point, I wouldn’t even want an unsecured one, though it’s not like the difference matters to me anyway.

The newest thing I’ve read is spending too much of your credit limit will harm your credit score. I have no intention of making large purchases on credit, but that’s besides the point. The point is you’ll be penalized for spending outside of your credit limit, but also penalized just for getting close to it. Why even have the limit? The point of a limit is “you can’t cross this line”, not “you can’t get this close to this line”. Yet on the flip side, I read about experiences where the credit company unknowingly closed the user’s card for spending too little. So, let’s get this straight. You can’t overspend (which makes perfect sense), you can’t spend too much within the limit, and you can’t spend too far away from the limit. I repeat: How does this not sound like a trap?

On top of that, those negative hits remain on your credit history for seven years. So, if I cancel one credit card to go to another, that first card is still badly affecting my score for over half of a decade later, no matter how well I’m doing with my current card. Or I miss one payment, but never miss another, and that one missed payment is still biting me in the behind for years to come. No times one thousand. Even my job isn’t that unforgiving, and they pay me!

The bottom line is I’d rather continue what I’m doing and stay as far away from credit cards as possible. Yes, I know having no credit history will make some things harder, but I’m not sure making a few things easier is worth trapping myself.

Which Priority Is Which?

I mentioned briefly in my last post I was hoping to move out by my 24th birthday next year. But lately, I’ve been considering postponing that even further.

At 23, I do not have my driver’s license. I’ve wanted it since I turned 18, but I never tried to get it because I didn’t see any point since I’d have no car to drive, and eventually, I forgot about it entirely. Lately, however, it’s been on my mind again due to my job. More specifically, because I’m gaining a growing hatred for public transportation.

The problem here is for the time being, it has to be one or the other: the apartment or the car. I feel like the answer should be obvious, yet I’m having trouble deciding which to make the priority. Both would bring me freedom I crave, but I cannot decide which advantages are worth more.

Advantages of having my own (or willingly shared) apartment:

  • My own living space
  • Living alone, or with my best friend or boyfriend
  • No smoking, drunkenness, and loud noise
  • No one touching my things without my permission (I’m fortunate my boyfriend and my best friend have manners!)
  • Not having to hear gossip or petty complaining
  • Being able to bring my boyfriend to my house almost any time (or my best friend if my boyfriend is my roommate; she’s asthmatic, so I can’t let her come to my family’s apartment)

Advantages of having a car for myself:

  • Not needing to rely on public transportation (except when I travel to visit my boyfriend)
  • More choice in where I can work
  • Less restriction on where I can travel in general
  • Shopping is easier since I don’t need to lug bags on a bus or train (even a bunch of small bags can be a nuisance)
  • More places to go with my best friend and boyfriend (these two awesome people get all the free rides they want!)
  • A small place to go when my family inside wears on my nerves. It’s illegal to live in a car, but not to sit and unwind in it for a while.
  • Aside from an auto accident or something else unforeseen, I’d never have to worry about being late for work because the bus or train is running late (and trains frequently have delays!). I use Lyft’s service in these cases, but their prices fluctuate, so it can get costly.

I’m aware having a car is more than just making monthly payments because there are expenses like repairs and maintenance. Likewise, I realize living by myself or with a roommate in an apartment is more than just the rent, as there are also utilities to pay for. In the case of the car, I still have to get my driver’s license to begin with. Plus, I’m assuming I’ll even be able to find someone to lease an apartment or a car to me (my credit history is nearly non-existent). I fully expect I’ll panic for a period of time and feel like I’m in over my head. But that happens to me with almost everything, so I’m willing to experience that and let it pass.

I’m not sure if I should be deciding which advantages are worth more, or which disadvantages are worth less. I also worry whichever I choose, I’ll regret not taking the other one, but I can’t change my mind on a whim about such a big choice (not without heavy consequences anyway).

I don’t know if this is a sign I’m still trying to fit myself into adulthood, and failing miserably at it, or I’m indecisive and nothing more.

Follow the Timeline

Way back in 2013, I made a timeline starting from 1999 (as far back as I could somewhat remember) of how my life had gone so far. It’s not happy. I can’t remember why I made it, but I suppose it was something that crept into my head during nighttime, when many of my deepest thoughts tend to surface.

With 2013 here, it’s been four years and my life certainly didn’t pause, though I had more moments than I can count of wishing it had. I mistakenly believed things would finally be good at the end of 2013. They weren’t. I don’t want to post the whole timeline here, so I’ll link it, but I will start from the very last one.

  • Age 19 (Birthday-October 2013) – Graduation; move back in with my mom and sis, therapy continues, attendance to college starts, tries to start dating
  • Age 20 (2014-2015) – Move back in with grandparents, drop out from college, job searching
  • Age 21 (2015-2016) – Still job searching, suicidal ideas return, meet my boyfriend
  • Age 22 (Late 2016 to early 2017) – Found a job, begin building my accounts
  • Age 23 (Birthday-Now) – Holding down my job, searching for a second job, continuing to save money, creating plans to move out

Hopefully, I can add I have moved by age 24. I must admit besides a desire to write things out, I’m not sure what the point of this timeline is, but it is nice to look over it and know I’ve lived this far. That’s not to say I’d be willing to do it again. Surviving once feels more than enough because aside from the typical transition to adulthood, no one should have to deal with that. But I’m glad to say I’m getting closer to where I want to be. With a lot of planning and some luck, I may be there by early 2018. That’s still a long time, but we’re already in May of 2017. In another month, the year will be half over. If I can control my spending urges, I shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

Another Year Has Passed

Which means it’s my 23rd birthday! Hooray!

I was expecting to work today, but my job is over payroll, so I had to be taken off the schedule for today due to being called in one of my previous off days this week. I already have permission to bring food, so I’m going to bring cupcakes to my job tomorrow. Today, I will just celebrate my birthday, and the privilege of not working on it!

A Lesson In Scammers

Some time ago, the art bug bit me and I started being pulled toward wanting to draw again. I draw very, very scarcely because I don’t like most of my drawings, and drawing itself felt very tedious with what I had. So, I had the idea to get a graphics tablet, a kind of tablet specifically made for artwork. Only problem was my naïveté rose its gullible head.

At first, I was hooked on getting a tablet called a Wacom Cintiq 13HD because not only is it generally believed tablet artwork is always better than mouse-created artwork, but Wacom is akin to Apple when it comes to graphics tablets. A lot of artists insist nothing compares to Wacom, and the huge prices (the one I linked costs $800 from its retailer) are worth it. However, for $800, I could buy a desktop computer, so I didn’t exactly want to spend that amount of money on something I was only going to use for one purpose.

Amazon had a list of third-party sellers who I thought had it on offer for much less. Notice I said “thought”. I’ve had Amazon since 2008 and while I wasn’t exactly a regular buyer of theirs (mostly because I didn’t have my own bank card until 2012, when I was finally 18), I never had any trouble with them, so I thought nothing of it. I quickly learned there’s a different between buying from Amazon and buying through Amazon.

I bought from a seller who’d “just launched”. Turned out to be fraudulent.  Not only did the item never come, but it never even shipped. I’ve had orders where there was no shipping info and the item still arrived on time, but in this case, the seller couldn’t even be reached. Amazon cancelled my order and I got the money back. I thought maybe that was one bad seller, so I tried with another “just launched” seller who had the Wacom Cintiq tablet for even lower than the first did. This one got exposed even faster as a scam, as the seller’s profile vanished. Interestingly, it reappeared days later after I’d called customer service to have that order cancelled. I’m currently waiting for the pending transaction to clear, so the money is available to me again. I even went to my bank to be certain and they assured me since it’s pending, the money is still there, and the transaction will clear since Amazon cancelled the order and didn’t charge me, as charges, unlike refunds, are immediate.

You can imagine how much I kicked myself. I went on DeviantArt and asked for some alternatives. A very helpful user led me to a journal she made that detailed Wacom tablets, as well as alternatives to the expensive brand. She told me it’s likely those who insist Wacom is the absolute best say so because it’s the only one they’ve ever used. It’s no surprise I became so persistent in trying to get a Wacom tablet when it’s the one praised to high heaven, despite not having much more overall than the others. In the end, I settled on getting a tablet called an XP-Pen Artist 10S, which cost $300. Since it was eligible for free same-day shipping, I opted for that and, to my surprise, it worked! I ordered it at 11am and it was delivered to my door at 7:20pm that very day. It works wonderfully!

I wish I could say that’s where this story ends, but it’s not. To help with the cost of purchasing the graphics tablet, I tried to sell my iPad, since I no longer use it. Now, I’m not so naïve, I believe every buyer is genuine, but I still ended up almost falling for a scam because it was one I’d never heard of. Basically, if there’s any mention of shipping agents, cashier’s checks, wiring extra money back, or shipping to any place besides the buyer’s location (especially outside of the country), pass! I actually busted one scammer on my own, and he tried very hard to convince me he wasn’t a liar, giving every excuse in the book and changing his story a dozen times.

On to the scammer I was fooled by. This person wanted me to ship it to Texas as a gift for a family member of his, and since Texas isn’t international, I didn’t find it strange. He wanted to make the payment through Paypal, a service I’ve used for years and found trustworthy (though not so trustworthy, I’ll give it my social security number!), so I agreed. He even sent me what seemed like an official email from Paypal that the payment had been sent through, so I was ready to ship my iPad. I took it to the post office, boxed it up, and paid for it to be shipped. After I submitted a picture of the tracking number, as asked in the first email, I later got a confirmation one. I thought everything was fine.

It wasn’t until I was on my way back home I realized everything was not fine at all. I read over the emails and this time, I took notice of the email address. It was from Yahoo. That was weird to me. Why would Paypal use a Yahoo account? I searched for it myself and found something interesting on Paypal’s help page. Paypal always addresses customers in their emails by their names. The scammer’s emails addressed me by the name on my Google account, which is a nickname, but I use my real name on Paypal. On top of that, there was no pending transaction for the payment. I called their customer service and after I described the emails, the representative told me those emails were not from them and suggested I return to the post office. I couldn’t go back right then, so I called the post office and asked them to hold my package for two days, when I’d be able to come back for it. Thankfully, they did. In the end, all I lost was the $11.28 I paid for the shipping since that was non-refundable, but I didn’t care. That was a very small loss compared to losing my iPad. Just because I didn’t want it anymore didn’t mean I wanted to be scammed out of it.

When the scammer contacted me again, I furiously and unkindly told him to go away, explaining I caught him in his lie. He said it was a third-party Paypal service exclusive to Texas that people used because Paypal was too much of a pain to bother with. Even if that had a slight amount of plausibility, why wouldn’t the customer service representative have told me that? Paypal’s employees don’t know about another Paypal branch?

In the end, I learned two things. Only buy expensive items from Amazon, and buyers are terrible. Every buyer I had for my iPad was a scammer, and I tried on three sites: Craiglist, Facebook marketplace, and LetGo. I suppose I should consider myself fortunate in that I didn’t lose any money with the third-party sellers. I’ve heard Amazon, though they’re not perfect, has a reputation for not fooling around when it comes to scammers, and with how quickly they got those investigations done, I can believe it. But I can only imagine they think they have an idiot for a customer. I don’t blame them.