Friday, June 22, 2007

coming out, again, in a different way.

So, I mentioned the other day about being broke, and I'm sure if I haven't mentioned that before in the blog, I've mentioned it ad nauseum to those of you I know in "real life".

I've had an issue with money management and debt and the resulting guilt/shame/embarrassment/terror about it since, well, since I can remember. And, I've been really pretty good at pretending like I don't like in a constant state of panic about (the lack of) money to most of the people I know. But, I've been in a pretty desperate position financially for a while (my entire adult life), and I'd only really told two people the extent of it--and, not then even fully. But, just recently a potential opportunity has presented itself to me in changing careers and geographical location, and while I was excited, I know that it will probably be a year of facing my demons, working really hard to get things in order, and saving every penny to make this happen. So, it may not happen--well, not, at least, in the way it was originally intended. But, it's been a huge gift, even though it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, to have to face up to the actuality of my situation and try to figure out how to deal with it. Because I'm tired of living like this, and I've made lots of positive changes in my life over the past months, and I want to keep that going.

So, despite being nearly paralyzed with fear and driven to severe nausea, I just made an appointment with a debt counselor for next week. They want me to bring all the names and balances of my debts. And, I had to tell them that I don't even know what those are because I've tried to avoid them and all evidence of them for years--which is why I'm in this predicament.

I never learned how to manage money, and my fear and intimidation about it let me get myself all crunked up and in a horrible spot. I live in a state of near-panic all the time about money, and it's time for that to stop.

During my beach trip we had a Women's Circle, which my friend D. proposed. She works with a woman in her midwife center that started doing them years ago, and wrote a book about it, and D's been having them for a few months with some friends. The idea is that you have a small group of women and you gather (in the case of her group, once a month) and each of you takes a turn to go around the circle and talk about whatever is going on in your life or on your mind. No one else speaks, and no one interrupts--even to offer tissues--until that speaker says she's done, even if she takes some time in the middle of her stream-of-consciousness style speaking (called "holding space" for that person). D and her group have found it to be immensely healing and satisfying, and so we did it at the beach. But, we were catching up on an entire year (since we'd seen one another last), and because we are used to being very intimate with one another, this was a very, very intense experience. I mostly talked about how I've always been a failure. I didn't expect that to happen, but out in came. And, then afterwards I just felt really horrible and embarrassed and ashamed. And, unfortunately, I think I made D feel bad about introducing us to the experience. But, honestly, it's maybe one of the most powerful things I've ever done. I laid stuff out I hadn't admitted to my friends or my therapist or even myself. It sort of shook me to the core. I kind of think, actually, that it's maybe why I've been sick for the last week--because I was still resisting dealing with it.

And, D's also the key factor in this possible opportunity I mentioned above. I just sent her an email this morning "coming out" to her about the reality of my situation and how that will postpone me going forward immediately.

But, wow. Mixed in with the guilt/shame/embarrassment/terror, I feel some hope. For the first time.

Thank you, D. You've actually just changed my life for the better.


Ashley said...

I struggle with financial responsibility too, Ehrrin. And like you, I instinctively shy away from acknowledging the problem, and live in a perpetual state of anxiety over all things money.

Anxiety-ridden is a terrible way to live. I'm SO amazed by all the ways you're trying to make your life better. Your motivation is truly awe-inspiring.

Keep it up.

nowlzie said...

that's amazing. i love you so.

Deidre said...

Thanks, Erin (intentional new spelling of name) you give me too much credit. Coming forward takes immense courage. "the only real failure in life is the failure to try" Go for it, Mama.