Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop (@STMSBmore), held online.
• What have been your top 3 challenges in the past 6 months? Are you happy with how you handled/are handling them? If not, what could you/would you have done differently?
I think the most challenging thing I dealt with was the uncertainty around my house. Nothing else really came close to that.
Shellpoint, my mortgage company, was threatening to foreclose on me, and kick me out of my house, and I didn’t really know what to do. They kept sending me more and more threatening letters, which compounded everything I owed up, until the Unpaid Amount I owed was over $40,000, more than the house is even worth.
I had gone into bankruptcy to try to delay the foreclosure process, but the bankruptcy was now over, and they were clawing for their money. There was no way I could possibly pay $40,000. I didn’t know what to do.
My bankruptcy lawyer told me not to worry, that because my mortgage was included in my bankruptcy, they could not go after me for the house, and that I could just walk away whenever I was kicked out.
I didn’t really want to be kicked out, but I just did my best, and started packing a box every month or so in preparation for the inevitable.
Although this was really stressful and definitely added to my anxiety, it also gave me a sense of peace and something to do about it, instead of just sitting and waiting for the sheriff to show up at my door.
Surprisingly, Shellpoint sent me a modification to the mortgage at the 11th hour. It’s a terrible modification; a balloon mortgage (which means I would pay a gigantic lump sum at the end of the life of the mortgage), but it does mean that if I make monthly payments, I can stay.
What did I do? I was patient, and prioritized my own peace, and promised myself I would roll with whatever punches that came. I think I did pretty well. Now I am in a place where I can come and go on my terms.
• How well do you take care of and nurture yourself? What is your self-care routine like?
Lately, I’ve been working on a morning routine that I do when I don’t have to rush off somewhere, which is about half of my days roughly.
I get up, without guilt for however long I did or didn’t sleep.
If it’s a day I don’t have Karate, I’ll do a short workout.
I’ll take my temperature, weight, and take a hot shower.
I’ll light some incense, turn on some guided meditation, stretch in honour of my grandmother, and do some breathing exercises.
I’ll water and check on my plants.
I’ll freshen up, take care of my skin, and get dressed.
I’ll make myself a hearty breakfast, feed Auta and change her litter, and tidy up the kitchen while I listen to big band music.
• What are your top priorities in 2021? What things are you
determined to achieve this year?
I want to learn to surf! Even if I can’t travel, I’m going to drive out to Ocean City and take classes.
I can’t afford one on my own, but I want to buy a jetski with friends of mine.
I want to go camping at least once a month once its warm enough to do so. I have everything I need to do it, I might as well.
During the summer, I want to go to the beach every other week.
I would love to get my business back to the point where I can hire someone again.
I want to publish my first book. I want to get the rough draft for my second book done.
I want to see my parents.
• When was the last time you felt the need to assert your
boundaries with someone? How did feeling the need to assert
them make you feel? How did the person handle it?
I recently had to tell someone specifically how they had let me down, and hadn’t been there when I had needed them.
I felt awful about doing it, even bringing up the topic felt really terrible to me. But I knew that I had to be open and honest about how I felt, and if they did not respect those boundaries and me asking for what I needed, then they might not be good to have around.
They reacted in a way I totally did not expect, with tenderness and apologies, and promising to do better next time. I had been bracing myself for admonishment and for defensiveness, but it never came.