For the first 2-3 years of our financial calamity, I hid.
I hid in body. I hid in mind. I hid in soul. And I most certainly hid from the people calling on my phone.
I couldn’t stand to face the truth of my own weakness. I couldn’t stand to look myself in the eye and take responsibility for my humanness and my inept decision-making that had caused our financial woes. I couldn’t face the woman (me) who’d gotten too big for her britches and knew everything was going to be okay (except that it wasn’t).
I couldn’t face my family, my Mom and Dad. I couldn’t believe that the ‘good girl’ who’d done everything in her power never to disappointment them was failing. I couldn’t utter the word “failed” or “failure.” It had never been in my psyche or vocabulary. I’d always been referred to as “golden girl” or “star”.
So I hid. I hid from my friends. I hid from my neighbors. I hid from business associates. The only people I didn’t hide from were my own kids and my husband. They knew the truth. They still loved me in spite of the truth. They were in it for the long haul. To this day, I’m eternally grateful for all 4 of them.
So how did I quit hiding?
Simple. I faced the truth. I added up the zeroes I owed. I opened the mail. I slowly, ever so slowly, started answering the phone again. Sometimes I’d even wince when I hit the accept call button. The pain seemed as physical as it did mental and emotional.
Even more slowly, I started telling my story. I told the bill collectors we didn’t have it. One lady (calling to collect a medical debt) offered to settle if I paid $200 today. I told her to get in line. She softened and told me she was having the same troubles.
I told my friends the truth. Not the whole truth, just the truth. Alot of them couldn’t have taken the real truth. The part about the electricity being shut off for 9 whole days and being 11 days away from losing our house to foreclosure.
If you want to quit hiding, you have to face your monster of debt head-on. You have to turn around and roar at him just like he’s been roaring at you. You have to simplify every part of your life. You have to sell every single thing you can to release yourself from debt hell.
When I quit hiding, it was liberating. I felt like I was loosening the yolk of my debt noose, unraveling myself from the encumbrance of living in fear. I rarely meet a person who doesn’t struggle with some kind of debt, even if it’s just $2,000 in credit cards. Any kind of debt is overwhelming.
If you want to take back control of your life, you have to quit hiding. Open up. Tell the truth. You are not your debt. You’re priceless.