Yesterday I talked to, what I believe is, the last legal/financial mind I’ll be speaking with regarding this lawsuit. For the first time since I opened that letter, I felt a sense of release in an option that I was resisting for the last three years. Bankruptcy.
I have had a stigma about bankruptcy since I first heard the term. When this financial situation reared its head three years ago (due to one big ill investment), I was determined to pay off my debt. Year after year I would draft a plan to pay things off and year after year another situation would come up (owing more taxes than expected, medical bills, etc.) to throw my plan off track. I’d be back at the drawing board knowing full well that any tightly sealed plan I could conceive of would be subject to the unexpected diversion. Basically my “paid in full” date kept moving father and farther away from me.
Talk about feeling like a failure. My debt and how I thought about it caused me many sleepless nights, many judgemental conversations with myself such as “you are so stupid, irresponsible.Why do you deserve anything good if you’ll just fuck it up.” I felt forced to stay with my job and career (which is no longer what I want to do) because it paid enough to make payments. I also forced myself to make the difficult decision of moving back to my sister’s just so I could pay off bills. The option of filing for bankruptcy was out of the question. I made my bed and I was going to lie in it.
This real life scenario is an example of me reacting and living from a place of wounding. As I have said here before, I always felt alone, so therefore I felt like I had to deal with my problems alone. Problem is, when I do that, I am operating within my limited knowledge of issues (no matter how much I do my research) and from an emotional place.
Because I knew so little about bankruptcy, I had fears and judgments about it, which made it not an option. What has shifted now is that I kept myself open to possibility even if I couldn’t see it. I reached out to people for advice, and along the way kept collecting information. I advocated for myself as much as I could and looked for people who could advocate for me when I was unable to (even if that meant just hearing me complain in times of feeling hopeless). I prayed to affirm my connection to life itself and handed over my need for control, over and over again. In times of feeling unable to see possibility, I vented.
So here I am about to start the process of filing for bankruptcy. It is an option that feels like the right thing to do. It embodies the act of me saying “Okay, I hand it over. I’ve tried to do it in my controlling way and it’s not working. Here, you take it.”
It’s so easy for me to go back and beat myself up for not doing it sooner. Had I gone this route three years ago, I would have saved so much money, and time, and had less stress. I wouldn’t have had to move back to Salinas, and I might have been able to keep my apartment. I go back and forth between moments of being judgmental about not doing it sooner and being compassionate towards myself. I didn’t know then what I know now. At that time, I was not doing the kind of inner work I’m doing now. I was operating from an old habit then.
Strangely enough, I’m able to look at the lawsuit differently now. It really tore me up emotionally when I started out trying to figure out what to do with it. Now, it looks like a gift that forced me to push myself into a decision that is better for me. I can make myself suffer very well by the decisions I make, and I am learning that I don’t need to do that.
I start the bankruptcy process this week and if all goes well, this will be a he burden lifted from me. I am so use to having this debt as a part of me that it’s hard to imagine not having it. There is a bit of internal freaking out going on. That part of me that I call the punisher (ego?) is really freaking out and feels like its saying “Wait! Wait! That’s my job! That’s where I live! You can’t take that away from me! Where will I go? What will I do?” And to it I say “Oh dear punisher, there will be plenty to do and there’s plenty to work with. Have you ever considered taking a vacation?”