After two complicated years of unhealthy parenting and a constant battle for my own mental and emotional well-being, the relationship with my mom reached a breaking point.
She wanted to move to Queens, NY with a new person in her life, and I needed to stay behind in East Rockaway, NY (about a 45 minute car ride away) … so my mother helped me to file the court papers necessary to become an emancipated minor. At 16 years old, I was officially an adult—on paper. I could legally enter into contracts, sign leases or do whatever else I needed to do to live on my own. This allowed me to stay and finish high school in East Rockaway and to get my own apartment. I paid the rent by working three (sometimes four) jobs at once, while still going to school.
Needless to say, I grew up very fast, and my original dream of a living a life of creativity as an actor and performer was set aside as I had to focus on very real life survival questions such as…
- Where will I live?
- How can I pay rent?
- How will I support myself?
- Will I be able to finish high school?
- Who can I count on?