Interviewing Brittney

A Dad's Point of View by Bruce SallanI met Brittney (a pseudonym), an 18-year-old young girl, on the chairlift on May 31, 2011 at Mammoth Mountain.  She wasn’t wearing a helmet and I gave her my usual helmet lecture (see “Parental Hypocrisy” column).  She ended up sharing a bit of her story with me. She was living on her own, supporting herself, homeschooling herself, learning to snowboard, and planning on working all summer – all with her parent’s permission.

Her situation was intriguing given that so many parents worry that their kids can support themselves, even after college, let alone finishing up high school without supervision. I had to know more so I invited her for coffee, expressing my sincere interest in her story. Following are excerpts, in her own words and vernacular, from my interview with Brittney. Please note that this interview rambles:

Bruce: I still have a hard time believing that your parents would allow you, at 18, to come up to a partying ski resort on your own to finish your senior year of high school!

Brittney: They have trust in me and I want to do something with my life and prove to them that I can make it on my own without needing support, really. And, make something of myself without doing the normal college away thing.

Bruce:  Okay, but how did it all happen and what are your plans?

Brittney: I was doing homeschooling because of my acting and modeling. I did musical theatre for 11 years. Shows such as “Annie,” “The Wizard of Oz,”  “Grease,” and “Les Mis.”

Bruce: Did you like acting?

Brittney: I loved acting, so I started going to L.A. more. I was 15 when I started doing that. My mom took me. I did a lot of Independent and Short films.

L.A disillusioned me. It was so materialistic and hard to find someone that wanted to be your friend. I also didn’t like how you had to be skinny – you had to be super super tiny. I like to eat and it shot my self-esteem.

Bruce: So, after you left L.A., how did you end up here and what are your plans?

Brittney: My plans are to progress in snowboarding – competitions to get money to pay for rent and whatnot and to get sponsors. I want to get on the media side (of snowboarding). Going to get my Associates degree in web design.

Bruce: What did you think of what I said, on the chairlift, about the girls and boys who are transient workers at ski resorts?

Brittney: It’s completely true. All boys who are snowboarders are stoners or alcoholics, especially in a mountain town and they just think they are, like, the cat’s pajamas.  So, they don’t necessarily go for the girlfriend – they just want to fool around. Many of the girls up here don’t have a lot of respect themselves so they just go with the hot snowboarder dudes and get dis-respected and it’s like fine or normal to them.  Because the girls think it’s normal if you just hook up with some dude ‘cause MTV and all those TV shows are just about having sex and getting drunk.  And it’s just trashy.

Bruce: How about you?

Brittney: I’ve gone through that path before of drinking and, like, and meeting guys and hooking up and whatever, but I’ve matured. I want others to respect me and not think of me as a slut ‘cause I want to be respected as an adult ‘cause I want to do things with my life.  I want to be taken seriously.

Bruce: Do you believe in God?

Brittney:  My friend said I’d be “rocked by God.” And, so, I went to his church to make him happy. I know I have lots of “evil” inside just because I’ve gone through a lot of mental disabilities and depression and I’ve been on lots of medications for that – I was like “clinically insane” – and, so, I never wanted to believe in God because if a God was so mighty and powerful why would he give me those problems.

That night I had the worst nightmare of my life. I was staying with my friend and I fell asleep in bed with him and I dreamed that beetles and centipedes were coming to get me.  And, like, umh, he said I was moving around like crazy and it seemed like I was possessed in my sleep.  I was bawling and he couldn’t sleep ‘cause he was so worried about me.  He tried waking me up and he couldn’t.  I was sitting there and freaking out.  He put his hand on me and then I was completely fine.  He took his hand off me and I was bawling again. I researched my dream and what it meant.  Bugs in your dreams mean you’re having complications in your life.  Beetles and centipedes means that your inner consciousness, the devil and angel on your shoulder, are battling each other, like your soul, your brain, continue down the bad path or go and follow God, like you know.

So, to me, it was like heaven and hell was battling inside of me. It was weird.

Right now, I believe fully in God and bring my bible everywhere I go with me.

Bruce: You said there was much more to your story than I got from our short first meeting. What were you talking about?

Brittney: The showbiz and like my depression and how it affect myself in everything I do, like my confidence and I have no self-esteem. It’s just hard for me to go up and walk up to people and be their friend as I’m afraid of being judged. I’m just very negative on myself in everything I do. The chemical imbalance inside my head forces me to not be happy.

Bruce: Have you found any differences between the boys and girls and their commitment to working and supporting themselves?

Brittney: Boys don’t try hard enough for jobs; they dress normally (not good), don’t ask for the managers…don’t follow up – I dress up, I ask for the manager; I let them know I will benefit their work. I talk what they want to hear – brown-nosing in a sort of way. In the Bible it says, if you work, you eat. If you work as hard as you can, you will eat.  If you work, you eat, it’s just the way of living. You can’t half-ass something and expect to get something and then be bummed out if you can’t do it.

It is sometimes difficult for me to truly understand the younger generation. After this interview, I’m certain. I don’t understand them.

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