About 12 or so years ago when I was still spending money on glossy magazines I read something in Cosmopolitan which I seem to have never forgotten. It was one of those Oprah-esque live-your-best-life-type articles and the piece of advice that stayed with me was this:
Learn humility. Because if you don’t, then you will be forced to learn it. For life will have to teach it to you. Violently.
As an aside that was probably the last issue of Cosmopolitan that I ever read. One day I just realised how “white” the magazine was. All the makeup being advertised were for fair skinned women and all the models had VERY straight hair due to the products that they were advertising for THAT type of hair. And all the real-life issues were stuff that a certain demographic was regularly going through. I just realised one day that my look and my features and my needs were not being represented and that all I was learning was things like the best way to have s.e.x on chairs or whatever. I’m sure it’s changed by now but it still remains one of the most expensive publications on the shelves so I have never bothered to buy it again.
Anyway, back to my point. I have often wondered if the crap that I have gone through these past few years was life teaching me humility. Violently and all. I don’t consider myself to be someone that is proud though as with everything, there is always room for improvement and growth in certain areas of my life.
I don’t really like asking for help. Specifically when it comes to money. I don’t mind asking my family to help me with logistical-type things like collecting the kids from school or taking them to the Dr while I’m at work or practical help eg donating a pair of summer sandals for each kid or whatever. I just REALLY cannot ask for money. And it seems like during the past 18 months this is all I’ve had to do. Whenever I am in a fix, my parents (who are very discreet) always help me with whatever I need and some more and they never, ever make me feel bad about it. I think it’s because they know that I would NEVER ask if I didn’t have to.
However, getting to that point where I have no choice but to ask for help is incredibly painful and almost soul-destroying.
I get angry and I cry and I vent and I throw things and I curse and I rage at the heavens and I plead for some kind of miracle but alas. Nothing falls out of the sky. I don’t win the lotto. I don’t wake up and then find money under my pillow. I don’t get the insurance payout that I’ve been expecting, because I actually forgot to read the fine print in my contract.
So I look around my house if there is still something that I can convert into cash. All that I can still sell are my beloved musical instruments. I cry some more. How can I possibly part with something so dear to me?
I empty my children’s money boxes.
I scratch in my jacket pockets.
I scratch in ALL my bags and my jeans pockets. My husband does the same.
I check online to see what my bank account looks like – why I bother to still do this is beyond me. It just makes it worse.
I think about being humbling myself and asking for help yet again, and the only word that pops into my head is this one: HUMILIATION.
Because for me there is nothing more humiliating than having to ask my parents for financial aid. Surely it should be the other way around? Surely I should be treating them to dinners and holidays? Surely I should be spoiling them at this point in their lives?
I think about how I did NOT grow up like this.
I think about the fact that this is NOT what I want for my children.
I worry about the subliminal messages that they are are taking in from this.
I wonder how much longer I can hide things from them.
I pace. I pace some more. I take a drive to the beach to cool off. This is usually the place where I get perspective. Must be those big waves. I cry some more in the car. I walk a bit. People are looking at the lady walking around in tears. I don’t care.
And I wonder if this is possibly humility being taught to me in a violent way.
I wonder if this is karma being a bitch.
I wonder if perhaps I am not praying hard enough.
I wonder if maybe I should pray differently.
I wonder if I should try to fast.
I wonder if I should buy less food.
I wonder if I am possibly living beyond my means – I know I am not.
I wonder if I should get a weekend job even though it would mean that I will never get see my kids or sleep again.
I wonder if I am being “punished” for whatever sin I have committed in my youth.
I wonder how it is that EVERY SINGLE TIME I have this fight with myself in my head my Mother knows to call me. She just knows.
And then I realise something. Despite all my struggles, despite all the anger and the humiliation. Despite all the pain of this very sordid situation, I am blessed in abundance. I am loved completely. Unconditionally.
I am able to provide. I am worthy of more. I will have more. And I realise that one day I will probably laugh about this.
This is all I can do to remain sane.
To remember to see the blessings no matter how deep I have to dig for them.
Otherwise I will most certainly fall apart at the seams. Everytime.
All the time.