Bankrupt. Not a word anyone likes to use when it comes to explaining your financial situation.
Yet here I am. Typing out those words. Because the truth of the matter is, that has been our experience. We have experienced bankruptcy at the age of 27 years old.
We have been so broke, buried so far deep in a hole that there was no way we could ever find ourselves on solid ground.
Bankruptcy was not an easy way out, and for anyone naive enough to think that bankruptcy is a cop-out; you really have no clue how hard of a decision it can be.
Setting your pride aside, and admitting that you have messed up – it’s not easy.
You see, we tried. We tried so very hard to fix the hole that had been dug. We took extreme measures. We split our family apart over 1,000 miles for 6 months to save as much money as possible. My husband working some months 35o hours, while the kids and I lived with my parents.
We tried to sink as much as we could into the debt we had accumulated, but the gap just wasn’t closing and the phones wouldn’t stop ringing.
You hear about creditors calling, but they don’t just call once a day. They call over and over to the point that you just silence your phone because you can’t take one more lecture.
One more phone conversation where you have to explain to the person on the phone that you can’t pay them today, you can’t pay them because you need to feed your kids.
To have the police show up at the door to serve you papers that your home has been foreclosed upon, to have a repo man show up and take your possessions away in front of your kids, it will rip your heart in two. I will never forget the looks on their faces and the tears they shed because they didn’t understand. I had failed my kids.
Did we make some bad choices along the way? Absolutely. Did we accumulate debt we shouldn’t have? Yes. But when we made the purchases we did, our finances were way different. At the time of our purchases, we could afford them.
We didn’t expect to have the rug pulled out from underneath us. We didn’t expect my husband’s paychecks to go from a very comfortable number to zero, but they did just a few days before Christmas.
You could say that’s the life of an entrepreneur. That’s the risk. But it still doesn’t make it any easier. It still doesn’t make you feel like any less of a failure.
For 5 months we lived on love and a lot of help from our family members just to cover the basics. Food, water, and shelter. While my husband and I worked our guts out to make ends meet.
But no matter how hard we tried, it just wasn’t coming together. For 15 months we worked on bridging the gap, but we just couldn’t get ahead.
They say that finances are the number one cause of divorce, and I totally get it. Our relationship was suffering during this time. We were so strapped, so stressed, so beaten down that we built walls between each other. We stopped communicating because we were exhausted and unsure of how we were going to survive. Our love was there, but we were so focused on how to repair our lives, that we no longer had joy.
Bankruptcy isn’t a cop-out, it isn’t an easy way out, it’s difficult and emotional. It’s not something you see people talking about because it’s embarrassing. But the truth of the matter is, it is more common than you think, and if you are struggling don’t be ashamed because sometimes that is the only option you have.
It’s not an easy decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but you should also know it is an option. I never imagined that I would be in that position. That I would have to sit in a courtroom with my husband and four-year-old and basically tell a judge that we had failed. To ask for a do-over to have the slate wiped clean in a room full of strangers.
But I can tell you there is light after bankruptcy, and there is a great future awaiting you. My hope is that by sharing my story with you over the next few posts is that I can touch the heart of someone who may be struggling as well.
That I may be able to shed new light on the situation and help others see what emotional ride bankruptcy can be. To show that it can happen to anyone at any time if you aren’t careful.
Because I have been there, and I know what it is like to feel the shame that comes with such a heavy decision. Sometimes we just need to know that, we are not alone and eventually everything is going to be alright.
Stay tuned for Part Two.