I've written quite a bit about this being the year for transitions, for myself and others, and that is not an exaggeration. I am witnessing struggles of healing reveal beautiful moments, for myself, the #WhenIBecameFree project, and in others. So much so, that I keep trying to remind myself in that old saying, "no pain, no gain." The thing is, I am not sure I have what it takes anymore to withstand the pain, I'm getting old and damn, I am exhausted!
Pushing these feelings to the surface has been this weekend I've shown my house to four different people in 24 hours, all on the heels of waiting for a different potential buyer's bank to make their decisions on providing a loan. I am sure other sellers would be feeling hopeful but for some reason, I feel exposed.
As strangers are walking through the rooms where most of my healing memories have happened I am mentally trying to stay strong trying to not blurt out excuses and explanations why everything in this old house is falling apart, has not been replaced, or in the state of disrepair. I am fighting that urge while I also try to stay strong because next week I have yet another doctor's appointment, as well as a first-time visit to the pain clinic and then an ultrasound on that rather swollen parotid gland of mine so I can ultimately have surgery to have it removed.
I need to sell to get out from under debt and move on with my life, closer to my boys in Memphis. I need to sell because I have to prepare for a life where I am not working as much as I once did but I need to be in a position to do so - I need to sell because it is time or else I will be homeless from not being able to afford life while trying to get my health under control.
I feel like a clock is about to run out of time and this house of memories that is for sale contains the story of the struggle breaking free before it does. Breaking free from a life where abuse controlled my actions and where dysfunctional cycles were broken at the financial cost of once having so much to living in a poverty that promoted the transitional phase.
It was in 2011 when I first reached out for a medical explanation for symptoms I was having - that first effort came after many years of just dealing day to day with life as a single mother working hard for every penny earned and ignoring my health - after all, I looked okay, I could pretend I was okay.
After a couple of years of trying to solve my medical mysteries, I lost insurance due to making just over the cut-off line for Wisconsin's Badgercare and all because I received a promotion at work that took me from basically a freelance writer's pay to a salaried employee for a corporation that offered no benefits- not one. That salaried position coupled with the gutting of small-town community newspapers meant I was doing the job of many people, and always on a deadline with a bare bottom budget to adhere to - the stress was immense and support was scarce.
It was a job that went with me everywhere I went. When people commented that the paper was my baby, they weren't lying -it was constantly on my hip. I never had a break but it did offer me a lifestyle where I could be where my sons needed to be at any given time. I didn't miss school functions and we ate dinner together where we had some incredible conversations. I was able to remain that mom they always knew, even before domestic violence took our once middle-class life to poverty overnight. We functioned as a unit, a tight-knit family, through it all. We worked, lived, and even volunteered in our community, together. My boys and I went through healing, together. We broke cycles.
The cost of breaking those cycles meant we went without material things. As this old house started falling apart we did our best to put band-aids on what needed repair or adapt to going without. Old carpeting no longer able to be cleaned and starting to unravel meant a new throw rug to be placed over the most vomit worthy spots. We did manage to paint the walls every other year or so until life with Kyle - my budding musician youngest son - took off. When I wasn't working for the paper I was his driver, public relations, and guardian at venues where he was a minor surrounded by adults drinking.
We didn't live paycheck to paycheck, we lived day to day. For a vast majority of those years, my pay was under $20k, I supplemented it with making homemade all natural moisturizers and selling whatever I could on Ebay.
When people heard I worked in media they envisioned something other than our reality. At one time I probably would have thought a reporter or editor made more than what was really the case. In a way that image allowed me to move in different circles with ease. Socially, I was able to cross that invisible line of the have's and have not's - My position and once prior life allowed me access in one world, while my volunteering and day to day life of struggle placed me in the other.
It has been in the last couple of years where the spiral of failing health and being completely alone that has taken a once superwoman to feeling like a snail competing in a marathon. I just cannot do all that needs to be done - I cannot even work like I once did, for me, that is probably the most frustrating part of this all. It is pulling out an anger in me I didn't realize I still had. An anger at my once husband - the man I married and started this family with. It is an anger I know I have to let go of because it is not doing me any good but this weekend as strangers walked through this old house, the fixer-upper that it pathetically is, I found myself fighting as the thought of "if only," kept popping up in my head.
If only he hadn't started drinking again...
If only he would have accepted help...
If only he paid me what he owes me in child support arrears other then just $25 a week/ $100 a month...
I guess in a way I am feeling sorry for myself, which, that is okay - we all need to from time to time. Somehow I will get through this all; the selling of this old fixer-upper, the medical mysteries, and getting to the point so I can be closer to my boys - out from under debt and ready for the next stage of my life. Maybe by the time this all comes together, it will be the final chapter in #WhenIBecameFree and I can start a new novel, Taking Flight.
I need to give a shout out to a couple of friends and fellow survivors for helping me this weekend get through a rather emotionally intense period in my life. First, thank you for realizing it all without me asking for support - and then being there for me even when I fight against it. Georgia, also helped me with some cleaning I am unable to do, and Savannah today came with Georgia to spend time with me as strangers walked through my life - with her was little Ella, a dear little girl I am practicing my future Grandmother skills on. Thank you!
I can do this!
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I also need to thank the corporate sponsors who have climbed aboard and believe in the work I am doing: Wisconsin River Meats, Benders' Family Restaurant, The Dirty Turtle, and the Fun Company Game Store for being official sponsors of #WhenIBecameFree. Give a like to their Facebook page (click links above) and let them know how appreciative we all are that they are supporting survivors finding their voices!
Also, my baby boy who has donated his own hard earned cash and in-kind support as he will be writing and performing the music for the video, Kyle Roberts. Give a like to his Facebook page.