This situation didn't happen overnight, few "situations" transpire between the closing of one's eyes at night and hearing the alarm clock in the morning. Some do. Tragic ones do, like accidents or aneurisms. Not that near-bankruptcy isn't tragic, it is. But its onset is usually slow, a buildup, a foreplay of financial infidelity. An insidious inception. Which of course means that the shaking of it is also a slow, painful process.
I guess it started with my divorce. A horrible divorce, in which my ex was determined to show me that horrible things would happen if I dared leave him. Well, for two seconds I wondered if he might be right, but I knew that horrible things would indeed happen if I didn't leave him, so I did. And my checkbook is only one of the forms of "payment" that has occurred since.
So fast foward ten years and I met with one of those accredited debt counselors. I've actually been meeting with him since last October. The rep didn't tell me that they needed not only the numbers, but copies of my actual statements. As soon as I write the monthly check, I shred the statements because I can't bare to look at them. So a second month went by in which I saved the statements, but mailed them to him every couple days, as though having them reside in the house any longer than that would create an even worse energy than they create in reality. I now see that my writing the check as soon as the bill was opened, even if only to sit by the door with a post-it reminder to mail it two weeks from today (I've become an expert at how many days it takes for each payment to reach its destination) and immediately destroying the rest of the bill was my idiotic, pitiful way of getting the "mess" out of the house as soon as possible. While that may have worked in terms of getting the evidence physically out of the house, I still somehow carried it around with me, and I don't mean in the register of my checkbook in my purse. I mean in a way that affected my daily expressions, my gait, my driving.
Then after the second month of this nonsense, the rep told me that they need an actual copy of the portion of the bill that I return with my monthly payment.
And in between this nail-biting time, while wondering if a payment plan would even be an option or they'd send me directly to a bankruptcy attorney ("do not pass GO, go directly to bankruptcy"), the holidays, with all their unnecessary but expected gift buying, cookie making (baking ingredients added to the grocery list), decorating ($50 for a tree, just to have it sit on the curb two weeks later) and holiday dinners (is it true that hot sauce and horseradish really never expire? should I test that rule on family in order to save $2.29?) happened. Oh sure, I cut back hugely, but doing so still meant that my usual living on $20 a week would not work.
So today I met with the rep again. To get The News. Are you interested? Do you share my pain? Are you in a similar situation? Do you want to know what happened?