Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I can't describe how much I appreciate the words of support concerning the big "f" word.  To address a few comments and questions, first, I think I will just sell the ring for scrap, but I'm in no rush to do that just yet, and then I will spend the money on something wonderfully unecessary like strippers and booze!  Regarding SnuggleBunny and his past negligence of rent paying, I still don't know if moving into a different place with him was a good idea.  I have made it VERY clear that every single household bill is to be split in half from this point forward, so we'll see how that goes.  To have my portion of rent be this cheap for a place of my own, and to not have to depend on anyone else to come through with their share, I would have to rent a room and get rid of or store a bunch of furniture.  So it came down to choosing to live with my familiar things and have a place to garden and room for my cats but risking being in the same situation where I'm paying for someone else's living expenses again.  If this backfires I will totally expect and accept a chorus of "I told you so".  And speaking of space to garden, I put a lot of thought into what to do with the butterfly garden.  I felt it would be a little weird to bring the plants, sort of rude to mess with the landscaping, it would definitely be tiring to add another strenuous activity to the move, and the butterfly bushes had grown so large that such a dramatic pruning to be able to move them would risk killing them (lots of good reasons to leave the garden there).  But then I worried about their care while the house was empty (they could die from neglect or be ripped out with re-landscaping) and I worried about my already broken heart suffering another loss by leaving my healing place.  So I did what any halfway-to-crazy, down-and-out, BLM would do and I dug up the garden and brought it along!  The butterfly bushes had to be cut back by about 2/3 and they lost a lot of roots but they are actually looking ok now and are growing new leaves.  The other plants are also doing well, all things considered.  I don't think there will be many flowers this year and since this is a rental house I don't know if I'll see it all flourishing again (I may not move the plants again).  I was thinking of doing a series of posts about setting up a memorial garden to encourage people who want to do this but feel intimidated by gardening.


At the end of my "f" word post there was supposed to be a statement of how I'm going to do something awesome next, but I forgot to add it in, and then put it off and put it off, but now I see there was more to that thought.  The last 4+ years have been a disaster and I'm so tired of reporting bad news.  Before this mess I think my family was always a little baffled by whatever I was doing (getting married young, moving across the country, getting a master's degree in something that my Mother still doesn't quite understand) but now I'm really too embarassed to even give details of what's going on.  Problematic pregnancy, dead baby, divorce, job loss, foreclosure.  I wonder if my religious relatives think everything after Toren was deserved because I didn't carry to term.  I didn't say anything about the foreclosure until my Dad called and asked what I was up to and it happened to be moving day and I was following the moving truck with a car full of stuff to the new house at that very moment.  Shortly after that I received an email from my sister with more photos of the new boy they are adopting with a sentence about how she's sorry to hear about the foreclosure.  I didn't reply.  There was the excuse of not having internet for a few days and not wanting to reply from my phone.  Then there was the empty feeling of how cut off I feel from my family because it's been so long since something beautiful happened and they don't know what to do with someone who has been hurting for so long.  There was just that one sentence.  In an email.  As a side note.

So while moving I made a promise that I would have good news next and energy is being focused towards having something (anything!) great happen!  And positive things are still the goal... but negative things were never the goal and look what happened. 

"Something awesome" is loosely defined here and really it can be as simple as something big and bad NOT happening (the absence of bad times is pretty fucking awesome!).  In my head anyway.  In my heart I want very specific things. 

But the question that won't leave without an answer is can I feel accomplished if any of those specific things don't happen?  Is it possible to feel like I'm even sort of a good person if I stay overweight, and broke, and sad about the past 4 years?  What if I don't reach the career goals I initially set out for?  What if I'm never a parent?  What if I don't ever have a secure romantic relationship?  What if I can never forgive my ex-husband?

I am happy but I kind of hate my life and I am so far from feeling proud of being who I am.


Today is Toren's un-birthday.  The 4 year anniversary of an unfulfilled EDD.  I miss him and wish I could have gotten to know him.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A sparkle inspired segue

I think a marriage is something to be proud of - being married is a source of pride.  To me, wedding rings look like stability, determination, patience, and being selfless at times.  They are a symbol that someone loves you enough to make that pledge of "for better and for worse" and that someone is willing to spend the rest of their life with you.

So it's hard to know what to do with these stubborn ideals, even after having experienced their fiery failure, and it's hard to know what to do with an old wedding ring, even after learning that the diamonds are cheap and the whole thing is only worth the price of scrap gold.

I used to be so proud of that damn thing.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How do I say this?

I've known since the beginning of January that the big "f" word that concerns mortgages was happening to my house and it's been almost 3 weeks since I moved and I've told hardly anyone about it.

Most of this is probably mentioned in prior posts but here is what happened all in one place:
In Spring of 2008 my husband was laid off from work and a few months later I took a position that was a departure from the career path I wanted because it had better pay and full benefits.  In November 2008 hubby left for greener pastures and I stayed in the house because I could afford it easier than he could since I had a job.  In hindsight that was one of the dumbest things I have ever done.  Fast forward through 3 years of me struggling to make the damn mortgage payment (done terribly... I learned pretty quickly to give preference to keeping the utilities on) and I was laid off.  It didn't take long for the mortgage company to get really annoyed with me.  I applied for a mortgage modification but since my ex-husband was still on the loan, proof of income was required from him too.  But not just one time, they needed monthly updates of pay stubs and bank statements and each time it took longer and longer for my ex to send the information until the application was eventually denied because of missing information.  In November I tried again for the mortgage modification.  The ex and I had been running into each other out and about and had even exchanged some pleasant text messages so I thought I would have fewer panic attacks when requesting information from him and he would be more receptive to helping out.  A week after my first request I sent him a message and he said he had missed that email but that he would get the information to me and that he didn't want the house to go into foreclosure.  A week later I sent a reminder.  And then more reminders, for six weeks, and he never responded.

In early January I spoke with a housing counselor of sorts and went through my financial information with him.  I had my income and monthly expenses memorized from having done so many applications and whatnot.  But he presented things in a different way and he asked how much the household income was reduced by the divorce (quite a lot) and then how much was it further reduced when I was laid off and took a part-time position.  I was working with about 20% of the income we had.  I was trying to pay for the house with next to nothing.  He talked about how you should be paying about 30% of your income on housing (the entire mortgage was about 100% of what I was bringing in monthly - I was just paying several hundred a month towards it at this point).  And, after first protesting because the mortgage amount was in the right range when I moved in and how could I even afford ANYTHING on 30% of my income, I finally started to get it.  I couldn't afford to live there.

On the day when I learned that the bank had bought back the house and there was nothing else that I should or could do about it, I wept for hours because I was so relieved.


It's been a hard time.  The strongest feeling has been shame because you are not supposed to lose your house.  There's also been a lot of happiness over leaving the house where so many bad things happened.

What has been the most difficult are the feelings about my ex.  He is not an idiot and he knew exactly what would happen if the modification wasn't approved.  He elected to have a foreclosure on his credit score in order to see me displaced.  While not a violent act, his lack of action feels very aggressive.  Again, he made sure that I knew he was the one in control.  Again, he let me know that I am not capable of doing things correctly.

I don't know what I did to him to cause him to be such a jerk.

I have not said anything to him about it but I have documented all communication between us in case he takes legal action against me over the house.


I've been going over and over all of the things I could have done differently to avoid this.  And there was a lot I could have done better.  I should have explored short sales more.  Perhaps I should have sold it for a loss (the mortgage was more than what the house was worth).  I rehashed decisions made all the way back to 1995 (my favorite life-fork-in-the-road) when I didn't take a new job in California and instead moved back to Washington because the letters being exchanged with the jack-ass I would later marry were getting very sweet.

If I didn't feel so bad about failing on that important commitment, I would have very few regrets about the whole situation.  Maybe none!  Few people know where I am or even that I moved and I feel more secure with my ex not knowing where I live.  The place I'm renting is much smaller (I wanted to downsize so that is good but it has been hard getting rid of things.  It's still a work in progress...) and the neighborhood isn't fancy (we're talking bars on the windows) but guess how much of my income goes toward rent now!  Right about 30%!  And the house is truly adorable, is in town (versus a suburb), and I haven't had a single problem with crime or anything so far.  Snugglebunny lives here too!  We are trying to have a fresh start.


In the past 12 months my divorce was finalized (FINALLY), I was laid off from a long-term job, and had the house foreclosed on.  I'm so tired.  And I feel so happy!  It feels like there is space to move on now.

Thanks for listening :)