"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Archive for September, 2018

Shadows

 

Although I was at a noisy conference yesterday, I kept my eye on the senate hearing of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.  I was able to listen to most of her opening statement.  I believe her.

I believe her because I have been in similar situations during high school and college.  There but by the grace of God….in my case, I was surrounded by good, decent people who didn’t take advantage of the situation.  Well, except for one — my first college boyfriend, but I’ll get to him.

Drinking and hormones are not a great combination for the young.  They have the adult bodies ready for action but the minds aren’t ready.  In my case, I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I had classic Daddy issues.

I listened to Dr. Ford, who is slightly younger than me, and thought back to those high school days.  She ran with an elite crowd — the country club/private school set.  That’s the set my kids grew up with even though they went to public schools.  In my youth, I also went to public high school, but I ran around with the smart kids — the kids of doctors and attorneys — in a small college town.  The kids who look perfect on the outside, but can definitely get into trouble.

I woke up from a dream this morning and in it were some folks from high school.  I realized that Dr. Ford is triggering me to remember parts of my young adulthood that I have buried.  I remembered several instances where I was drunk, but others kindly looked after me and got me safely home.  What if they hadn’t been there?

What about the frat party I went to when I was told I had a phone call?  I went into a bedroom to take a call and was locked in a room with two guys.  I grabbed the phone and there was nothing but a dial tone and when I spun around I realized my predicament.

Little did they know that the reason I actually thought I would have a phone call is that my mom was in a turbulent time with her 2nd husband who was an abusive alcoholic.  I thought she needed me to come rescue her.  Looking back, I wonder how they knew I would fall for the phone call trick — I guess naivety shows.

Anyway, here I am in a bedroom with two guys and a king size bed separating us.  They are between me and the door.  I was terrified.  I wasn’t drunk.  Thankfully, they only wanted my sorority pledge pin.  They grabbed me and fumbled for it.  You have to wear it over your left breast.  I submitted, they got it and I fled.

I went barreling out into the party, immediately went to senior sorority sisters and I don’t remember much else.  I just know I had people around me for safety.  To get that damn pledge pin back, we had to go sing at their house.  My sorority sisters were great — we moved all their furniture out onto the front lawn for our performance (so we would have room) and then left it there.  Months later, I exacted an even better revenge — we stole their antique firetruck.  But that’s a story for another day.

As Dr. Ford told her story, that bedroom incident kept popping into my mind.  Over and Over.  As I write this, I get teary.  I have no idea who those men were.  I don’t have names.  I was so, so lucky.

I was also lucky when later that same year when I was initiated into the sorority, I went out celebrating with friends.  I was somewhat seeing a much older man (32 to my 18).  We were at a big sorority/fraternity party and I downed 3 screwdrivers.  That landed me on the couch unable to move or speak because I was so drunk.  I was so lucky.

Nobody bothered me, nobody preyed upon my inebriated state and later a couple drove me home and made sure I got in safely.  OK, I opened the door and fell over the threshold much to my mom’s shock, but I was home safely.

That was all in my sophomore year.  In my freshman year, which was at another college, my predator became my boyfriend.

I was young when I got to college.  I was 17, having graduated from high school a year early.  A well-meaning high school friend told me to call this guy who was a year older.  She wanted me to have some friends or know somebody when I got there.  I met him, a ginger-haired, outgoing guy.  Now I know that he probably has ADHD.  Even then I knew he had a drinking problem.

We went to a frat party.  I got drunk, as frat boys preferred, and threw up.  That dude still kissed me with vomit-breath.  Ugh.  He got me back to my dorm room and tried to fuck me.  I pushed him away.  I don’t remember if we fucked or not.  I was too drunk.

Non-confrontational Maggie, who only wanted to be liked and loved, agreed to keep seeing this asshole.  This guy who was constantly pressuring me for sex, sex that really wasn’t very good at all.  I liked his friends.  I liked being a couple.  He was bad news. I managed to escape him by moving across the country to another college.  Yes, I moved away to escape him and for other reasons.

My childhood was complex.  I wasn’t abused.  I always had food and clothing.  My parents were smart and educated, but self-centered.  As soon as my parents separated when I was six, my mom moved around.

She first moved to get a different college degree in what she really wanted.  I have to give her props, she was the oldest student in the class and this was the profession she wanted, not the English degree her parents insisted on. That process necessitate two moves:  one to the College Town #1 (grades 2-3) and then to another city for the 6-month internship.

Then we moved back to the city where my dad lived.  That didn’t work out.  He didn’t want her in the town, her job sucked, so we moved about a  year later. That was 4th grade.  I hated 4th grade.  My school life was consumed by bullies and nobody was interceding on my behalf.

Now we were in in Town 3 for 5th grade, for those keeping track, and it was a charming college town.  I loved that town.  I could ride the bus around, great schools, good friends.  I had a paper route.  I won an election for a school office (7th grade) right before Christmas.

Then I learned we were moving back to College Town #1 in January, so I had to relinquish my office, my friends and my great school.  College Town #1 was building a new middle school, but the current one sucked.  Ancient, dilapidated.  The blessing was that many of the kids remembered me.  I didn’t really remember them, but that was OK.

We stayed in College Town #2 until 11th grade.  Then my mom met Ed.  That motherfucker.  She didn’t want to be lonely and found this guy.  He was a piece of lying, alcoholic shit.  I came home from school in the Fall of 11th grade and got a call from a hospital in Florida.  Congrats, my mom got the job in Florida and they needed her to call to wrap up some of the details.  She never told me that she was looking for a job.  She never told me that leaving before I would graduate high school was in the cards.  She was moving for Ed, who needed to skip the state to evade his crazy Ex wife.  We moved 10 DAYS later to a shithole town.  My only escape was to graduate a year early, so I did.

I left behind in College Town #2 a kind, gentle boyfriend, tons of friends — friends whose parents were calling my mom and begging her to let me stay with them for my final year and a half of school. But my mom wouldn’t hear of it — she didn’t want my dad to have a reason to gain custody of me.

With all this moving around, I learned that to make friends quickly I needed to be nice, funny and accommodating.  Add to that the lack of any male father figure and that’s a classic recipe for a woman to have Daddy issues.

So Dr. Ford, I believe you.  I know you are telling the truth and I know that Judge Kavanaugh is a lying sack of shit.  I know that he had some serious drinking issues in his youth because I dated his type.  I know that his white-privileged mind cannot wrap itself around that fact that karma is a bitch and she is here to claim her due.

Let’s hope the US Senate realizes this as well.

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New Men in My Life

I am really focused on getting my shit together.  My new diet regime is going well.  I’ve stopped the strict Whole30ish thing I was going, but I’m still with little to no carbs, little to no refined sugar crap.  I fell off the exercise horse, but climbed back on this week.  I feel better and sleep better when I exercise, so I just need to do it.  My weight should continue to drop now that I have exercise back in the schedule. I am still losing inches which is awesome.

What really has me infatuated this week is the new man in my life.  I’m absolutely obsessed with him and think about him all the time right now.  “Who”, you ask?  Well, it isn’t Dave Ramsey, although I still think he’s a wise one.  Right now I am obsessing over Mike Michalowicz and his book, Profit First.

If only I had him by my side as I launched Maggie & Co.  Sigh.  But that’s OK, I have him now.  What has really been useful for me is that as I read him and Dave, I realize that I’m not alone.  I’m not the only spendthrift idiot trying to make a living.  I realize that I will be OK and I can get a handle on all these things.

This weekend I had a lovely lesson on QuickBooks.  Yes, I kinda knew how it worked, but now how to correctly enter everything.  My tutor came over and we blazed through 9 months of bank statements.  It felt good, but exhausting.  Now I just have some older credit card statements to input and I’ll have a good picture of Maggie & Co.  Of course, this picture could be atrocious, but whatever, I need to know.

I am feeling really good these days.  No funk, no depression.  I have a lot of work in front of me, but that’s OK.  I have some cash flow issues, but that’s OK.  The good news is that I have landed a great big elephant that will hopefully spin off a bunch of $$ for me in the latter part of 2019.  It makes me feel confident about the future.

Now, I have to slip away and spend some more time with Mike.  Once I finish this book, I want to cuddle up with his first book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur .  He is a witty writer — flippant at times, but practical. His premises put me in the right frame of mind and his light-heartedness keeps me from freaking the fuck out.

Standing on the Edge

I spent Saturday working on my numbers.  I went through the past eight months of bank statements, credit card statements and logged in all of my expenses with categories so I can FINALLy figure out where the hell my $$ are going.

It was eye-opening.  I have spent Sunday and today thinking about what I have learned.  I still have more to figure out, but the Big Picture is not pretty.  It’s a combination of good news and bad news.

Bad News:

  • Maggie & Co has some serious overhead even though I have made cuts.  I spend a lot of money on health insurance (unavoidable) and on some business necessities that I simply can’t forego.  Between my car payment, gas, auto insurance, I am spending a lot of money on that category (over $800/month).  I don’t even drive a fancy car for crying out loud.
  • I am spending more than I am earning which explains that sucking noise I am continually hearing — it’s all my savings being sucked out of my account.
  • I’m balanced on the edge right now.  I have money coming in, but the question is how fast?  Will I fall off the edge before I receive it?  That could keep me awake at night!  It’s too soon to say, but I need to crunch the numbers a bit more.

That’s the doom and gloom I am digesting at the moment. One thing that Dave Ramsey says is sometimes the only solution is to generate more income.  I need to do that.  I need a side hustle to help take some pressure off  Maggie & Co.  The Hunter needs to join me in our search for the almighty dollar.  Having said all of that, there is some good news:

  • I didn’t have too much fluff in my numbers.  I have some subscriptions and frills that I can dump.  It won’t be a huge savings, but it will help.  This just shows me that all my cost-cutting measures were necessary.
  • I haven’t spent anything on credit cards in months.
  • I am ready to sell some old jewelry and the last time I got an estimate it was worth $5,000 and I didn’t trust the buyer.  Even if I just get the $5k, that will help get my emergency savings funded and start paying down my debt.
  • The Hunter is standing by ready to help.  He is ready to push this boulder up the hill with me.  I just need to sit down with him, walk through the numbers and create a budget we both agree with.

My low point was this morning.  I’m already a tad cranky as I am trying to create some space to think about my numbers while I still push through work.  Then I had a bleep with a major resource for Maggie & Co.  I couldn’t log on.  Do I owe them $$?  Yes, I was three months behind with Month 3 due tomorrow.  The number I owed made me burst into frustrated tears — over $2,000.  Yes, this shit is that expensive.  Fortunately I was able to pay two months of it and log on, but I need to get current with the balance.  Right after I dealt with that, the bank called about an automatic payment that didn’t go through.  Sigh.

I look ahead to the income that is coming in over the next couple of months, even the next 30 days, and I will be fine.  I’m just in a really tight spot right now.  The Hunter just landed a new client that will help and I think will be a great referral source in a couple of months.

Breathe, that’s all I can do.  Breathe and exercise and just keep working hard.  Now, anybody got any good side hustle ideas?  I’m open to ideas!

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Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

Fire in the Belly

My fire in my belly is not my rubber chicken lunch I just returned from.  Although my diet is part of my Fire in the Belly mindset these days.  My Fire in the Belly is Dave Ramsey.  Yes, I’ve heard of him for years and yes, I listened to his radio show rarely, but I never really dug into his message.  Now I have and oh, man, he has lit a fire in me.

As part of my getting my shit together, I was watching a FB discussion in one of my groups about how to get your financial shit together.  Two notable suggestions were You Need a Budget (YNAB) and Dave Ramsey.

I just finished reading Dave’s Total Money Makeover (thank you, public library) and now I’m incessantly listening to his podcast (which is simply a re-play of his radio show) every moment I’m in the car (which is a lot lately).  I bought Financial Peace at my Goodwill bookstore and am about to dig into that one.

I get his Baby Steps, I love the concept and I believe.  I believe that life can be so much simpler if I live below my means, have zero debt and build up my savings and investment portfolio.  He gives me hope that I’m not going to be on this damn hamster wheel of debt and money worries until the day I die.

Now I need to block out some time to work on my numbers.  Figure out exactly what I’m spending, what am I earning, how much debt do I truly have (gulp), what assets do I have that I can see immediately (good-bye ugly jewelry) and more.  I’m excited about the plan, much like I’m excited about my Big Hairy Project (weight loss plan).

Not only do I think I can do this, I think I can do this quickly.  I just need to lay the groundwork by gathering all the info.  That’s going to be my weekend agenda.  Plus I need to make sure that I get the Hunter on board.  To that end, a Dave follower told a great story about how he got his wife on board:  he bought the audio book and asked her to listen to it with him.  They would do a chapter, stop discuss, then move forward.  This guy sold his truck and gun collection to get them out of debt — I need to bookmark that episode for the Hunter (LOL).

But I have realized that I cannot do this alone.  I have a partner regardless of marital status.  He needs to be an active participant of the plan. I need to communicate with him not only my goals and desires, but I need to listen to his.  Really listen and that’s a big step for me because lately, I must admit, I haven’t been a good listener.  That’s something else I should write about….

For now, let me go make some money so I can put my emergency fund together….

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Photo by Ryan Cryar on Unsplash

I’m a Luddite

I spent a rainy Labor Day setting up my new laptop and here I am at noon the next day STILL working on moving stuff over and getting it set up.  Holy shit, this is not an easy process.  No wonder I have been procrastinating for MONTHS.  I still have two programs to upload and get started.  Ugh.

Even with my propensity to google everything, this is still a slog through the thick mud of technical wizardry that I simply don’t understand.  I have persevered and I see the end in sight.  Plus, I keep reminding myself that I was way overdue on this upgrade.  Even though my previous laptop ran on Windows 10, it was 7 years old.  It’s days were numbered and I would rather switch while it still works just in case of emergency.

Excuse me, time for my next upload.  I am digging the touch screen…..

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