Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The heavy stuff

Life generally doesn't turn out according to plan. Sometimes it turns out better, sometimes worse, but it rarely turns out exactly the way we pictured it. It's easy when it turns out better. When loaning someone my car turns into a lifelong friendship, a week at the lake creates a family, gallbladder surgery allows for (occasional) decadent indulgence, vacations become lifetime memories and that unmarked packet of seeds turns out the most delicious tomatoes ever. The unexpected can be awesome.

It can also feel devastating. It can feel like more than you can handle. And after a few months of that, I think it's important to let you in on my big stupid secret.

The emotional fallout of my divorce was horrible. But once I healed (mostly) from that, the financial mess was even worse. After careful counsel with people I respect and admire, and after weighing all my options, I've filed for bankruptcy. I feel a little bit like General Motors, and probably just as hopeful.

I'm not proud of it. I've spent a large portion of the last few months ashamed. I have always believed that we should take responsibility for our actions, and paying our debts is part of that. I still believe that ... but there is just too much there and too little coming in to bridge the gap. I tried. I failed. And at this point, I can either chip away at the mountain well into my 80s, or I can bite the bullet, accept the consequences, and begin with a new, albeit tarnished, slate.

My fatal financial error came in trying to be a good ex-wife. I recognize that my ex can't hold all the blame, but when we parted ways, there were things I didn't consider - that I'd be essentially out of work for more than a year, and that when I found a job I would be earning considerably less than I once did. And so, in an effort to finally get something right in my relationship with this man, I accepted the lion's share of our debt. Huge mistake. One I never should have made, and one he never should have allowed me to. But what's done is done and I can't go back.

So this is the way I've chosen to move forward. I hope you can still respect me; I know it's taken me awhile to earn back my own self respect. This is not a decision I've taken lightly. I struggled, considered all my options, and chose the path that was the right move for me.

All that being said, my budget will remain tight, at least for a little while. I have to plan for life's indulgences. I'm working from a budget that has very little wiggle room, but is doable. I hope to replace my car (with something a little newer with fewer miles, but similar to what I currently drive) before the end of the year and am beginning to save for that. I'm a little frightened, because it's "do or die" time. I can't afford to screw this up, which is part of why I'm choosing to share this with all of y'all. The time to be secretive is in the past. This is where I'm at, and I have to acknowledge and accept it before I can move past it.

So anyway, that's the heavy news from my world. If you're reading this, there have likely been several times I've wanted to tell you, but it's just not the sort of thing that comes up in polite conversation. Pass the potatoes and oh, by the way, when I say I have no money, I mean I actually have less than no money. Oy.

It's a new start for me. I pulled my head out of the sand in March and began to face the music, and here I am. Whether you know it or not, your generosity of spirit and your faith in me has helped me to smile in those moments when the numbers say I'm worth more dead than alive. It's going to be tough, but I've done tough before.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for being there. Thanks for believing in me. I hope this doesn't cause you to think less of me, but I'm not going to hide the truth from people I care about. Well, anymore.

Ever forward ... tomorrow's a new day.


mike rice said...

Just one more thing for me to hold against him. Sorry it's come to this - but I'm glad you were able to do what needed to be done. You'll get through it.

maggie said...

Thanks, Rice. And you're right, I will get through it. It isn't easy, but I think one day I will look back and be glad I was able to put it behind me move on.

Seriously, to you and yours - thank you for everything.

jjsinks said...

love you mags.keep your chin up.
mama j

maggie said...

I'm keeping my chin up, dearie. Both of 'em, in fact!

Janie said...

Aw, Maggie, you are not the first or only person to ever have this happen to them, nor will you be the last.

Hold your head high. You'll get through it. My hope is you did this with some good sound financial advice and it will really do what it is supposed to for you.

We don't care, we love you "know" matter what.

mags said...

Thanks, Janie. I am looking at it as an opportunity, and while it is scary, I am confident that it will allow me a new start. Not a clean slate, but certainly somewhere to begin anew. And I know who to call when I get stuck with the numbers!

Love you guys.