It couldn't have come at a better time, because yesterday was just 'one of those days'. They don't happen very often anymore, and when they do it always comes as a surprise. And while I've come through so many battles, I still don't always handle those sort of moments very well. Yesterday afternoon was no exception. It all kicked off with an email from my solicitor. One of the creditors is chasing particularly hard, and despite the fact that I've written to them to explain the situation (that I am going through a divorce, that the debt is a matrimonial issue, and that their debt is one of many that all need to be handled together) and asked them to freeze the account and address queries to my solicitor, they still insist on sending letters demanding payment and a financial statement. Crikey, if they had that they'd certainly stop chasing me as it's blatantly obvious that I have nothing whatsoever!
So, in my mind, I've already done my bit in letting people know what's happening. And also as far as I was concerned, I had explained everything in great detail to my solicitor - and I'm sure you'll remember the battles I had even hiring the right person! Someone I could trust, and who would be prepared to fight for me and with me. So it came as a bit of a shock when he emailed me with the creditor's latest demand, and said he thought I should find a debt specialist as this isn't his field! You could have knocked me down with a feather. Open mouthed and noticing the heat of anger rise in my body, I felt as though all my battles, my research, my hours talking with debt advisors had all been for nothing.
My solicitor had told me when we met that the debts were now to be handled as a matrimonial issue - and added that any advice I'd already been given by debt specialists had not taken that in to account. We'd already agreed a way forward, and I had fulfilled my part of the bargain by writing to each and every one of the companies who are owed money. So why, now, was he advising me to seek help from a debt advisor to deal with this one creditor? It made no sense whatsoever, and in fact could jeopardised the whole plan! Just as I thought I had a professional who was on side, understanding, and competent, I suddenly felt I'd been shunted right back to square one again. The anger subsided, and I was now left feeling ashamed, crumpled and very very small, and wondering again where I was going wrong.
It would have been all too easy at that stage to link together all my other 'failures' and really beat myself up properly. Trust me, it was very tempting.... and it was as I noticed the return of a familiar sneering voice in my head reminding me scathingly that I'll never win, who do I think I am, and just look at the mess I'm in, that I decided enough was enough. The tears of defeat were already pricking in my eyes, and storm clouds were gathering outside. But I pulled on my coat, shouted to Hamish, and set out for a walk.
Well, to be honest it started off as more of a stomp than a walk for me as we marched off towards the barque and across the fields together. Geoff had decided to join us as well. He's my ginger tom cat, and he hates to be left out of things. So it was no surprise when I heard him meowing, calling out for us to wait. I stopped with an exaggerated huff and shrug of the shoulders, hands on hips, eyes rolling and tongue tutting with "can't I get any peace around here?" going through my head (just think of Harry Enfield's Kevin and Perry for I'm certain that's how I must have looked). And I turned around to see him running towards me from around the corner of the lane. My face must have had the sulkiest expression in the world, but Geoff didn't seem to notice, and just tripped along happily towards us - and if a cat could smile, that's certainly what he'd have been doing. And there it was - just like that. My mood was instantly broken.
And I burst out laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Here I was, stomping around all alone, carrying my very own dark and thundery mood-cloud with me, and yet my two pets still wanted to be around me, just happy for some attention. They didn't care that I was in a filthy mood. That I was teetering on the edge of listening to that malevolent voice in my head and giving up on all the progress I've made. Nope, all they cared about was being petted and having fun. So I decided to join them. Even though it was raining, all three of us sat by the river bank, Hamish and Geoff taking it in turns to get as close to the water as possible without actually falling in, and both of them coming back for regular petting and cuddles.
What more could a girl ask for? Unconditional love and affection, beautiful surroundings that money just couldn't buy, and a whole world of possibilities stretching out before me. Who cared about a small creditor getting their knickers in a twist over in England? OK, so my solicitor had slipped up - but then don't we all do that from time to time? And just who was in charge of creating my great future in any case? Well, me of course. And stomping around in a filthy mood, just because of a small set-back certainly wasn't conducive to receiving something better in my life! No way, no how!
So I took a deep breath, held my head back, opened my mouth and I shouted. And I shouted. And I shouted. And I shouted. At the top of my lungs - just to make a noise, and clear out any unwelcome emotions that had become trapped inside me. Although I was a little hesitant at first, I soon got the hang of it and boy did it feel fantastic! Another good reason to be grateful I'm living in the countryside far away from anyone else. Mind you, the French wouldn't bat an eyelid - I'm known for being a bit eccentric!
Back home I corrected my solicitor, and re-confirmed the path I had understood we were following. I asked him to keep all creditors at bay, asking them not to write until they hear from him, and not to respond to any more letters or emails. Each one costs me, and gives me less to repay the debts. And he responded beautifully - with an apology and re-focus on the plan. Job done.
So last night I played the piano at full volume. I sang at the top of my voice. And I danced around the living room with Hamish in my arms (that poor dog has a lot to put up with!). And I went to sleep wearing nothing but a dab of perfume and a big fat smile as I contemplated the great future that is coming in to my already fulfilling life.