Friday, August 15, 2008

An Anniversary (of Sorts)

It's been a year since I started this blog and oh so much has happened. When I started the blog, I was in the middle of Bankruptcy filing hell. Every time I turned around, the attorney and the court needed another document, or more documentation, or the wrong form got filled out, or..., well, you get the picture.

I remember sitting in my office and literally sweating rivers of perspiration-mainly from the stress of the whole procedure. I had been told by my attorney that once the initial paperwork was filled out, the process would not take very long. I filled everything out, got copies of all bills, names of all creditors, and if I had a question, I asked the paralegal to make sure this process would go smoothly (if it ever does) Oh yeah, "not take very long". Right, it was three months until my hearing and then the discharge finally occurred three months after that.

I filled out my BK papers, made copies for myself and mailed them to my attorney (along with the requisite filing fee) in the end of May 2007, it seems I spent almost all of summer 2007 going back and forth between the court, the trustees and my attorney with forms and more forms. Then the delays-my CMA on my house was delayed because the agent doing it for free for me took his two week summer vacation. My attorney and his paralegal took their 10 day summer vacation (did either of these vacations overlap- No Of Course Not). I filled out paperwork, I got appraisals (sometimes two), I got quotes, I got copies of pay stubs (three pay periods prior to the application date, three pay periods prior to the court filing date), I took the requisite Bankruptcy credit courses (yes, when you file Bankruptcy, you are required to take classes on credit and credit management one before you can file and one before your Bankruptcy can be discharged), what ever the court and Trustee wanted, I got. At times, I felt like all I was doing was filing out paperwork for the court.

I read a number of blogs, one of them being Ladies in the Red and was struck by Katie's willingness to be so public with her Bankruptcy. She was even a featured article in the Sunday Mail (UK). She is based in the UK, but her web site gave me a lot of hope in a dismal time, and I even got a mention on her brassic blog when I got my discharge. She,plus a few others, gave me the courage to start my own blog. I had nothing to lose and if anything , just a place to vent.

I've reread a number of my earlier posts and Lord Almighty, I can see how stressed I was and how helpless I really was. My life was still spinning out of control at that time and I was helpless to stop it. Maybe not helpless, but it seemed like every time I could get control, it just fell out of my grasp. I just could not make things work like I wanted them to. What a feeling of hopelessness I had at times. Made even more difficult by the fact that I made the decision to tell no one about my problem, not my family, not my boss, not my friends. My neighbor found out because my old car decided to have a transmission meltdown the day I went for me 341 hearing (yes the transmission decided to die just as I driving home from my Trustee hearing), I was having a meltdown and blurted it out to her. I told my friend James because I was in a car repair hell meltdown. Other than that, I've not told a sole other than my readers.

I read somewhere in a book that it takes living a year and a day to get over a life changing incident and get on with life. I'm paraphrasing here, but the concept is when you survive something that really shakes you to your core, it takes a year and a day to start to move on. You have to go through all the seasons and celebrations of your regular life to move on to the next stage. You may or may not agree with this phrase, but I completely get the meaning behind it. It has taken me almost a year and a day to come to grip (and I mean really come to grip) with the fact that I am Bankrupt, and when I hit the year and a day mark for the discharge, I'm sure that will make me take notice as well. Up until the day I started this blog I had held the hope that somehow I would come up with the money I needed to pay off my debts (unexpected inheritance, win the lotto, get the long shot daily double at the track), I was going through the motions of bankruptcy, but still held this hope I would not have to finish the filing.

In a previous post just after my mini-break, I said it was nice to go away and not think of the Bankruptcy everyday. I went two days without the thought of my personal Bankruptcy entering my mind and smacking me upside the head. It did not happen because I was not on blogger, it happened because I am starting to move on and that is a good thing.

I'm not a bad person, I did not file Bankruptcy just to avoid my debts. I'm just a person who between a spell of bad luck, bad timing and decisions gone bad ended up in a fiscal hell. I thought long and hard about filing for Bankruptcy, I did not want that stigma of "being bankrupt" on my personal resume. In my mind, it clouded over all the other wonderful things I've done in my life and I accomplished personally and professionally. Eventually it will be just another event in my life, albeit a painful one.

What have I done since I've started this blog? A number of things. I got through the last stages of the Bankruptcy filing and got my discharge, the court and bank said I could keep my house (which was probably the most important thing to me, keeping my house), I've been able to learn from some of my decisions gone bad and have become a fiscally responsible person I used to be, my bills are all paid on time or early, I have an emergency fund, I'm working on a savings account, I'm starting to contribute back to my retirement fund, I'm working on a way to have a second career and income, I was able to get a car loan for a new to me car (albeit in the double digits, but I got a loan).

More importantly, I have a plan again for my life.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this post.

It sounds like you have really started to deal with the emotional impact of bankruptcy. Although I was discharged more than five years ago, I have not fully dealt with it myself, and take inspiration from your site. I too told no one, and was recently turned down for a job because of it (I have commented here before - anonymously). The whole job debacle prompted me to start dealing with my feelings about having gone bankrupt, and on the whole, I think it is for the best (but it is painful).

Good luck to you - you seem to be doing really well.

Budget Mama said...

It really sounds like you made some great progress in a lot of ways. Congrats on the progress and best of luck.

veronica said...

First, thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment on my blog. It's so reassuring to know I'm not the only over-40 chica dealing with PF issues out there. Realistically, I knew that wasn't true, but when you read the blogs out there, it seems like everyone is married (or otherwise paired off) and has kids.

Second, I really like your blog! While I'm thankful for your comment because it made me not feel so alone, even more, I'm delighted that your comment introduced me to your site.

Best wishes!