Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just Surviving

This is an email I sent out this morning to a select group of people. It is pretty much self explanatory.

Dear, “Insert your name here” (You know who you are and rather than individualize letters to each of you... Well this is just easier.)

You are receiving this because, well… because I consider you a friend and I added you to this short list of people in what is possibly going to be my last email.

There are only nine days until I have officially defaulted in my home loan and the foreclosure process begins. I’m really tired of begging my creditors for more time as nothing has really changed in months. Each time the phone rings I hope it is a job, full/part time employment, or work but ends up being a collection agency. Alas…

I can’t tell you how hopeless I feel at this point. Really hopeless.

I could go on and on about how I’ve had the same two $1 bills in my wallet for over a month now or go on to say even the Dollar Store is too rich for my blood, but instead of cracking jokes about how poor I am… ((How poor are you)) I’m so poor… blah blah blah…

Instead I’ll be serious here. I know, Not something I’m used to and for those closest to me will think it odd of me not to crack a joke here and there or make light of the situation.

Well it is serious.

I’m broke. And I’ve done everything I can to keep from becoming this poor. I’ve hustled and moved and tread the murky financial waters for quite some time now…

I know this may come as a disappointment to some of you or possibly a shock. Just because one lives in a big house doesn’t mean they have money. It just means they have a big house. It didn’t look this luxurious when I bought it six and a half year ago. I worked hard at making it beautiful inside and shared it with most of you through the years. My doors were ALWAYS open. My food was always there to share with those that were hungry, my roof there for your shelter. Hopefully you will remember the happy times we had together here.

Many of you know me as a hard worker and a survivor of sorts. I haven’t had an easy life and have pretty much been on my own for most of it. It has always come back to basic survival and through the thick and thin of it the fact is the only person I can rely on is me. So I survived. Sometimes putting up a pretty good front about the inner pain I’ve endured for far too many years now.

When my daughter was born 18+ years ago my life completely changed. Was it for the better, well, for the most part, or so I had thought. I even tried to make a go of it with her mom for a little over a year. “From the moment of her birth I knew one of my prime reasons for living and breathing here on this earth was to protect, nurture, love, and teach my daughter right from wrong.” Those of you that are parents can relate to that statement.

I fought long and hard for custody. I stayed involved with the school systems in both the city where my daughter first attended school while living at her mom's and here in my home town once she came to live full time with me. I was a member of the PTO/PTAs, spoke at district wide meetings, volunteered at various school functions, and never missed an open house or parent/teacher meeting, not one! I volunteered not only my time but gave my hard earned money at helping ensure the education she was getting was fair and just. I was even awarded a citation for leadership in community involvement in a school district 4 cities/towns away from where I lived. I made the effort and went above and beyond. I gave 110% not just some of the time, but all of the time.

I wasn’t that way just in my daughter’s education and life but in everything I did. I’m dedicated, I’m fair, and I’m trusting. I call them the way I see them and yes, I do speak my mind at times and when I see something not right I’ll call you on it.

The tragedy that began to unfold before me in the midst of December of 2011 has all but reduced me to the man I am today. Quite broken. Emotionally, physically, and monetarily.

After the shock of it all, I went into survival modem Something I am all too familiar with. It seemed every step forward I’d end up two steps behind and the truth of the matter is I’m tired of “Just Surviving”.

But I have tried…

There have been no nibbles on my ad for the rooms I’m trying to rent. I have posted it across the tri-state area broadening the field of viewers and hoping to find someone. I feel I’m doing everything I can to try and stay afloat but I feel it is not enough.

I haven’t paid my gas and electric since November since they can’t shut me off in the winter. A friend who works for Comcast has been letting the bill slide for me but won’t be able to for much longer, hence this email. I haven’t seen the inside of a grocery store in months and although I have a ton of canned foodstuffs my body is beginning to breakdown due to the lack of getting the right nutrients.

I can’t recall the last time I’ve had milk as the only liquid in this house these days is beer, wine, and hard alcohol. Well there is also water from the tap too, it doesn’t taste very good compared to the alternatives. So I’ve learned to drink coffee black and make a pot last for three, four, or more days. (That’s what the microwave is for.)

On the upside, by NOT paying my other bills gave me the chance to focus strictly on the mortgage and prepaid cell phone I currently use. (The VERY BARE essentials) With the total of $170 I have made all this month… Yep that’s all I’ve made this month, I just don’t have enough to survive even in a minimalistic capacity. With a mortgage at $1800+/month, the $170 is not enough to even make a partial payment to the lender’s bank. They won’t take it. I’ve called and asked already.

Now there may be some of you who have been wondering why I haven’t been around or stopped by to visit over the holidays. Well, I haven’t started the Jeep since before Christmas as I haven’t had anywhere I can afford to go because I haven’t had the money to buy gas either. That, and the front axle still needs work. The Jeep currently has a safe top speed of 30MPH. For most, a $300 fix to get your vehicle running seems like a no-brainer. Well, when you don’t have the funds, it’s sort of tough to do even that.

It is surprising what you can learn or condition yourself to live without. In a way now… I feel like I’m just fading out slowly. I’ve already peaked and this is the end journey.

For those that say can’t you find a job? I’ve tried! And if you or any one you know of is hiring then PLEASE give them my number listed below! Because, I’ve applied for jobs, emailed out hundreds of resumes, and mailed dozens more. I’ve gotten really good at writing cover letters. I’m not entitled to any state benefits because I don’t pay into the system. (Unemployment, SSI, etc.) I’ve enquired about it just the same.

Like I said hopelessness. L It’s what I’m feeling.

I know there isn’t anything anyone is going to do for me at this point and that Is just the reality. I’ve tapped my church for all the free meals I’m going to get and sold some things I thought I’d never part with just to pay bills that won’t really matter in the end once it’s all gone.

I’m not saying the system failed me. I’m not saying the court system failed me, nor did Bethany fail me. It… It just wasn’t meant to be. It was a combination of a lot of different things. I just couldn’t catch a break and no one wanted to help me out back when I thought they would or could. I’ve let all that go.

I hope that whatever happens and wherever I end up down the road that you the reader of this email realize that I consider you a close friend and not just some person who helped me out with a little work here and there or with some emotional support. Maybe you did what you could and are hurting yourself. Somehow I don’t think it’ll get as bad for you as where I am now and am headed in the very near future. I just wished things were different and I was able to survive. I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone.

A quote I want to be remembered for is this: “Wishes are for dreamers and dreams are not a reality.”

Therefore I don’t “wish” any more. “Hope” is for fools and “Faith”… Well we shall see where that journey leads me.

I guess I’m telling you this all now before my Comcast gets shut off due to nonpayment. (Easier to do in an email then through a text or two to a dozen or so people.) My friend let me know she can’t extend my shut off period any longer. Will I miss the Internet? Sure… But I’ve lived without a TV for 6+ years now. Shrug.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this. You can pray for me if you are religious. I’ve had many churches praying for some time now and haven’t had any results that I can clearly see. L

As an interesting read I have tacked on an attachment that made the front page of my local paper yesterday.  It discusses how the system and state has failed so many families in these tough times and how it has led to at least 40 deaths in the past year alone due to the neglect of what the state calls a functional system. Attached is the pdf. Hopefully most of my friends receiving this are tech savvy and know how to open it. If you don’t, Well then I guess we failed each other in that aspect.

This article just brought me down even lower than how I already feel. There’s only bad news out there anyway.

Well this is it.

For some, you may not have my phone number or have possibly lost it. I don’t know how long that it will be good for but at least I’ll have it for another month provided I can make the $40 for that bill. For those that don’t have it, it is: XXX-XXX-XXXX. This # is for voice and text.

Thank You to all my friends that read this.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It Hurts - Living In My Head

It is 2:30AM and I'm not even tired. Not even a little. It seems I have gotten out of cycle with the rest of the world.

Most nights I lie awake restless from the fact that I am not exerting enough energy throughout the course of the prior day to make me tired. What keeps me up mostly though are the thoughts in my head.

I keep replaying particular days and certain moments over and over in my head. Most of these moments involve my daughter and her sudden and tragic disappearance from my life. I'm no longer doing the "what if" scenarios in my head. I'm just replaying the events over and over and reliving the painful outcome.

I've done a lot of reading and a ton of writing in the last twenty years. I'm currently reading a book about forgiveness that was recommended to me by my current and latest therapist. It's divided into a few sections while those sections are subdivided by chapters. The first half of the book is a step by step self-help on helping us understand why we are the way we are. It explains what a genogram is with various examples and helps the viewer see that there are patterns in families and that these, healthy and unhealthy patterns, can go back many generations. It goes on about the different types of dysfunctional families and the many complex layers of relationships are in each.

Well after reading the first few chapters in this first section I was ready to put the book down for good. I have no way of creating a genogram of my own family and although I did see some patterns beginning to emerge I wasn't sure if it was enough. I already knew my family life sucked and there was no love or nurturing going on in that household between any two people for as far back as I can remember.

What I did get out of what I read thus far was a diagnosis or two of past girlfriends and even some strong opinions on the family dynamics of the woman I am currently seeing.

When I voiced all of this to my therapist she simply stated that the intent shouldn't be to formulate opinions or try to diagnose others perceived issues but that I should be reading the book for myself.

Last night... A few hours ago, I reached the halfway point. The book is finally getting into the steps of forgiveness. The reading isn't any easier but for different reasons. Much of what is in these chapters DOES apply to me and I can completely relate.

I've worked my 12-steps of recovery in the past, been to meetings, etc. I know all about how forgiveness is supposed to set you free and the fact that you can never forget your past. I get all of that. What I'm tired of is being a survivor. I want to grow and learn and break beyond my mind's grasp of what this current perception of reality is.

This is when the movie in my head starts to play the same loops over and over again, especially in the middle of the night.

Because it hurts living in my head.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 - Just another year?

So hear I am in the year 2013. We've had a bit of snow but it's all but gone. Just the lingering traces in the big box store parking lots. It has been nearing 45 degrees this past week locally and hit the 50's in Boston this past weekend.

I hate the winter. I hate everything about it. I hate the cold, I hate the snow, the shoveling, the plows, the ice storms and downed branches. I hate the fact that my Jeep doesn't have heat or defrosters making it near impossible to go anywhere when it is at, near, or below freezing. The dealership said that it has something to do with a flapper valve that got stuck in the wrong position and that it'll cost too much to fix. It involves removing the entire dashboard and takes many hours. I also have a right front axle that needs replacing and I don't have the money for that either.

In fact I don't have the money for anything these days. I haven't booked an hour of employment thus far this year and the days are starting to blur and blend. The hours drag on and I sleep most days until noon or later.

I hate being broke and not working. I hate the word "hate" as it is what my life has become these days. Hurtful and hateful and full of pain.

My daily diet includes a coffee when I eventually drag myself out of bed and make it or reheat the brew from the day before, and either a grilled cheese sandwich and a few hard boiled eggs (If I have eggs) or something canned from my pantry, usually raviolis or something to that effect. It's not that I don't have food in this house I just don't have the ambition to make it and then eat it. Depression is a real illness and I think I have it pretty bad. And although I see someone on a regular basis I don't know if it is doing anything to help me.

The bills are beginning to pile up and I'm not sure what's going to happen next. At 45 years of age I can't say I feel my age any more. I don't know what I feel. I thought I'd be in a much better place in my life by now. Instead, I'm a middle aged single guy, never been married, in debt with my house, and unemployed so to speak.

Just a few years ago I was on to making 70K+ a year in contracts and side jobs. I was pretty successful at what I did. I had my bills paid and had plenty of extra money. I was involved in my daughter's high school's PTO and had what I thought a pretty comfortable life. Sure it wasn't perfect but nothing is.

Now look where I am... Broke, tired, not feeling well and blogging about it. I don't want to be my own friend these days.

I'm also feeling that I am dehydrated these days. I guess coffee and beer doesen't count as liquids. I have been trying to drink more water as I feel I have not gotten enough in the past few weeks.
I thought I had a handle on this situation but I am beginning to thing that I don't.

To be continued...