July 17, 2003
One hour and forty-five minutes. That's how long I've been looking at this blank page. I opened it at 5am when Eric left for work. I know there is a lot to say, but it's all jumbled and I can't seem to find any organizational hold on any of it.
I've been doing a lot of thinking in the past day or so after writing yesterday's post. It's dated two days ago, but technically, it was about 2am yesterday morning. I am surprised at the amount of self-pity and negativity one can muster up during a good bout of insomnia. It's not that anything in there is untrue. If anything, I didn't cover all of the frustrations and obstacles that we have faced lately. I am just not pleased with my response to it. As I reread my words, I wanted to slap myself and say, "Snap out of it already!" I sound like a person devoid of sincere hope, sliding down a laundry chute into hell.
As of today, I am going to make a genuine effort to deal with this better, in a more positive fashion. If I've learned anything, it's that worry and fear are, in financial circumstances, useless expenditures of energy that may be used in more positive ways. Wringing your hands and whining about what you deserve and what should be doesn't help anything and at best cements you in the role of helpless victim rather than a creator of your own circumstances. Granted, I'm not sure what I did to create these circumstances, but I'm damned willing to do whatever it takes to create some new ones.
I can feel that my friends don't know what to do with me during these times. I love them and they love me, but what do you say to someone who, by all appearances, has their life rapidly fraying out in tattered heaps all around them? Can you talk about something fun you did that they could never afford? Can you say that you know how it feels or that you wish you could help? It's hard to what to say or do and that creates a kind of resentment for even knowing its going on. Don't get me wrong. My friends are priceless towers of strength for me, but man, *I* wouldn't want to be around me lately! Helplessness is such a vicious little demon when you want to do something, anything to make it better and just have to wait until that move reveals itself.
I see sites like
this and at
first consideration of it, I'm aghast. I found out about this
in an indirect way. A friend told me about
savekaryn.com, which was started by a young woman who
had gotten deeply in debt and was asking for donations to extricate
herself from twenty thousands of dollars of it. I hadn't
looked at the site in a few months, but the last time I checked, she
was well into having over half of it covered and now I read that she
doesn't need saving any more (her words). When looking for it
to check in on her, I accidentally typed in "savecaryn.com," which
redirects to savingmysanity.com and tells the story of this girl
(entirely different person) who is attempting to get her car fixed
($1000) and pay off her debts, including her Discover and Citibank
cards, her Fashion Bug, Hecht's, Sears and Millcreek bills and her
car loan, among others. In return for people assisting her in
paying off these debts, she offers sage advice on cutting corners,
which includes (and is limited to): Coupons are golden - Cutting
coupons and matching them to the sales at grocery stores saves alot
of money On a good week I can get about $ 96.00 worth of grocery's
for $ 10-15 (yes I am for real)
In her daily journal, which is updated about once a week, she says:
This is the $20 picture of which she speaks, paid to her by the creators of a website dedicated to the hatred of their boss.
She describes herself this way on her front page: I'm not perfect I've gotten myself into trouble with Credit cards I blame myself for all my foolish mistakes Credit cards are deceiving they lead you to bealieve somehow you can afford to buy things my life is in shambles my world is broken totally busted because of debt I'm a loser and I know it You can hate me , or help me through it
This is next to a picture of her weeping face.------------------------------------------------------->
As I read all of this my head it spinning. First, I'm thinking about how she can afford cigarettes, hair dye (my head looks like frickin newsprint, man, and not in some cool "Alexandra From Josie and the Pussycats" way) AND two pairs of Victoria's Secret low rise panties for Mothers Day (by all evidence on the site, she is not a mother, therefore could just as well be treating herself to drawers that run about $10 each - on sale - because it's say, Wednesday). Lord knows I was just bitching about my stained up old woman cotton "lingerie" that costs about $7 for a package of 6 at Target. Something about the way they creep up my ass and cuddle up to my massive belly make me feel sooo sexy very strange I know.
As I said, when I first saw this, I was fairly offended. There are a LOT of these sites out there (called "save me" sites begging money for anything from bill relief to medical expenses - more understandable - to "buy me a guitar!!") and my first thought was to wonder how far above this is from the guy outside the grocery store who begs me for spare change or makes up some lie about needing bus money to a job interview. The only difference I can see is that unless this is spammed into your inbox, at least this is something that does not approach you, but is approached by you.
I looked over her words and thought about how this little girl still just doesn't get it. She says she takes full responsibility for how wretched and ashambled her life is, yet accuses the credit card companies of deception for (I guess) letting her believe she wouldn't have to pay them back. In her "helpful links" section for money saving ideas, she lists links to sites like cell phone companies with NO CONTRACT NO CREDIT CHECK. I wonder if the cell phone companies are deceptive as well since they also insist that you pay for your calls. Evidently, since her Verizon bill is $400 and is currently disconnected). I... just don't know what to think about this. I asked Eric about it, troubled that maybe our requests for donations to help keep the site expenses covered might be dangerously close to this and he said, "Not when you sit your ass in that chair for 8+ hours a day making that site happen, it's not." Then he starts fussing about making it a pay site and blah blah blah and I frown my Lisa Simpson frown and tune him out.
I asked my friend, Georgia about it and she said, "Pfft. Like she got a Millcreek card. They only issue those to old uppity white women." I can always depend on Georgia. :)
I wonder if she (the site chick, who I see is named Tasha) has parents. She is a 23-year-old bi-sexual and her motto is, "Whatever happens, happens." About herself, she says, "I'm not going to sugar coat myself and pretend to be some goody goody girl , I am anything but that . I am very outgoing, crazy, wild girl who is willing to try anything at least once." And, evidently, ask for help paying for it. At 23, I wonder if her spelling has anything to do with her inability to obtain employment that will better sustain her drive to try (or buy) everything at least once. If any of my grown children were that illiterate, I'd have them bounced into remedial night school in a heartbeat.
So I went through all of this judgmentalism (and, I will confess, felt really wonderful holding myself as superior to someone for the first time in a long time) and wondered why I have having such a strong reaction to this. I looked at her tearstreaked, "Poor, poor fucking me" face and felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up at full attention, then curtsey to the chill running down my spine. I thought of her whining about her credit cards and her car when we're losing our house and are scrambling to feed the kids (thanks, Maurien). I thought about her brand new VS panties and my Target panties from 2 years ago. I thought about her sobbing face (after wondering how she got the picture... did she work up a good cry and get someone to hurry in and snappity snap the Kodak moment before it dried? Is it baby oil smeared on her cheeks to simulate tears? Did she use onions?) and realized that in some ways, it didn't look all that much different from Eric's when he's asking why things are as they are and I don't have any answers for him. Granted, he's not bawling his eyes out, but the pain is there just the same. It looks like mine when I'm doing my affirmations in the mirror and my voice starts to crack and I get that, "What the fuck?" look and start a good boo hoo session. Am I so far from that after all?
My son, Dylan, who's 6, just came running into me, sobbing because he can't beat one of the little games on his Pokemon Stadium 64. His heart is breaking and he's no less devastated than I am over the state of our finances. Sure, the stakes are much higher when I'm losing a house versus his inability to flop a fish higher than the computer can, but his feelings are no less valid.
Tomorrow is our last day of the three day "Pay or Quit" notice on the house. Eric talked to the landlord and was assured that they have no desire to evict us and if we can come up with the money, it's pretty much a "no harm done" situation, so that's a good thing. Eric has spoken to his father, who has said he will send some money to help out. I don't have family to ask or believe me, I would. My brother is shouldering the $500 a month payments for my mom's funeral on his own AND just relocated, so I'm definitely not asking him. What I'm going to do is exactly what this little kitty at the top of the page is doing. I'm going to wish on the stars and pray and have faith that all will be EXACTLY as it should be. I've come too far and logged in way too many flight hours to stop trusting the process in its exquisite perfection now. The Goddess has always provided in the past and I'm going to just believe that it will happen this time as well.
I think about the words to a song sung by one of my favorite singers, Sister Vestal Goodman from "The Happy Goodman Family," who sings, "Hold me fast! Let me stand in the hollow of your hand! Keep me safe 'til the storm passes by." If only it was that easy. I look to the Goddess and say, "Shield me! Keep me safe! Protect me from the storm! Let me nestle into your ample warm holy boobies and sleep this away until the storm clouds are gone and the sun comes out!" and She says, smiling sweetly, "And why would I do THAT when I MADE the storm to teach you and guide you and show you things about yourself that you never knew? Protect you from the storm? Do you really believe that this is external and happening *to* you rather than *for* you? That is how a victim speaks and you are anything but a victim! The storm is there so that you may discover new depths and strengths within you that you never knew were there before! When you polish a stone, you do so by mixing it with abrasive grit! When you forge the best sword, you pass it through the hottest fire, again and again and again, making it stronger and more resilient each time! Protect you from this storm? It is I who pushes you INTO it, silly girl! Now start swimming, darling! Swim! Your arms may grow tired and you may take in some flood waters until you feel your lungs will explode, but I will NOT let you drown!"
So that being the case, if indeed tests and trials are meant to sharpen and refine my coping skills and teach me more about myself (personally, I'm a little sick of myself), then I s'pose I should be putting more energy into weathering the storm and taking whatever it has to offer. What do I want? I think I want one of those begging pages!! (smile - just kidding) I want to be able to pay my rent tomorrow and secure my house for another month. I want to get my bills paid up and more than anything, I want Eric's company to get the contract they are bidding on for this tract housing. He should find out by the end of next week. That's one way that all of our problems could be solved basically in a day, in a moment. As soon as they have the signed contract in their hands, they can get a business loan and pay out salaries to themselves. For now, I'm grateful that he's back to working a job that he loves with people he genuinely likes and respects, even if it doesn't pay out for a little over 2 weeks. At least it's something! I'm so very grateful for all of the miracles and blessings in my life and for the joys I normally take for granted.
I wonder if people read my entries, like the one I wrote previous to this, and think about me the same way I thought about Tasha and her whining about all of the bills she incurred with uncontrolled shopping. I wonder if people think, "Shut up and go hug your kids, lady, I just buried mine." I wonder how many single moms read about my struggles and wish they had a wonderful husband who was pouting about his lot in life. (I've been a single mom of 3, 4 and later 5 children fighting to keep them fed and electricity on while my ex-husband bought expensive cameras and partied with his buddies, safely tucked away at an Air Force base in Japan, so I've done that dance as well). When we re-married later, I looked at the nice cameras, nice stereo, nice TV and nice clothes that he unpacked and thought of the endless boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Ramen Noodles. I could barely stand to look at him. His response was a shrug and the coveted information that if I had handled my money better, I would've had these things too. How much better can you budget when your income from child support and three jobs is about 3/4 of the amount needed for your most basic living expenses? How many hours can one person work in a day? He didn't get it then and when we divorced two years later, he still didn't get it. But then, there are a lot of things he just doesn't get (like my attention, so I'm moving on). To counter this paragraph, however, I have to quote Dr Phil who says, "If you have a broken leg and you're in the ER next to someone with two broken legs, your leg doesn't hurt any less!" Just because there are people worse off than I am doesn't mean that I don't hurt, that I'm not afraid or that I'm impervious to fear and worry. It just means that as with every other circumstance in an entire lifetime, I am responsible for how I react to what happens to me. A really wise adage goes, "You will not be remembered for the things that happen to you, but for how you conducted yourself in the face of the things that happened." How many times have you remembered something harsh that was said in an argument, but couldn't for the life of you recall what the fight was about? I can remember words people I loved, trusted and respected said to me, ("Why do you say such stupid things? Why are you so incompetent? Are you always going to be this worthless? How can you be so ignorant?"). I can remember how their faces contorted in anger and outrage and derision, but I can't remember what we were actually fighting about or what was going on at the time in almost every case. I guess that proves the truth of the words: Our actions and our words endure.
Man, I've got to get better at this grace thing and stop with the fussing and worrying. So I guess in the big scheme of things, that's what I really want. I want to perfect that in myself so that when people remember me, they aren't seeing my anger and my fear and my helplessness. I want them to think about the strengths and depths and grace and patience that I showed in the face of adversity. I want them to see a brave smile and not the tears of the eternal victim. I want them to see someone who smiles and says, "Thank you," when help is offered rather than letting pride get in the way of the miracles The Goddess sends. I want them to see a person who works to "pay it forward" to make miracles occur for others.
For now, I think I'd best weather the storm by cleaning my kids' room and tossing some dishes around in soap and water. Clean houses are, indeed, little miracles unto themselves (especially if someone else does it!)