As I pull up to the business complex where I have my final meeting, my lawyer calls and says there was an accident on the connector, so she might be a little late. Worst case scenario if she didn't get there by 8:00a, they would just hold me until the end.

1. I have an interview at 10:00a. I wanted it to be a half hour earlier, but my lawyer told me I may not get out until 9:30, so I should push it out later. The manager I was interviewing with was already staying later (came in at 4) by staying to 10, so if I'm last in the meeting, it would put a bigger strain on her.

2. I already anxiety that is insurmountable because of needing to be here.

Filing for bankruptcy is shrouded in stigma. It took me a long time to come to the point where I looked at the following facts.

  • I had so much debt from a prior life that I had been carrying for 4 years that was preventing me from enjoying my current life. The anticipated payoff with the payments I was able to make was 18 years.
  • With the debt from my past, I could not afford to take on student loans. If I can't go to school, I will be trapped.
  • My anxiety was bad enough on it's own. The weight and guilt of all that debt only added to it. And it only took a little bit of time after 1/3/15 that I realized I would backslide into depression if I didn't make a change immediately.

So I filed for bankruptcy. 2/9/15 according to the receipt the lawyer provided. Today was my final meeting where I met with the trustee in charge of approving my case or not. I walked into suite 210 appropriately named "Bankruptcy Meeting Room" and saw Noah, the trustee, sitting next to the federal recorder. There was a giant seal for the U.S. Department of Justice hanging on the wall next to two red posters warning that the FBI investigates bankruptcy fraud.

Noah looked like he was in his younger 20's. He had a clean shaven face and a boyish haircut, he could almost be confused with Steve Newlin, the pastor from True Blood. The room quickly filled with individuals with their lawyers who were all there for the exact same reason. I was curious if Noah pursued a career in the Department of Justice thinking he would help people, or if he had become jaded after years of listening to people who were unable to pay their bills.

For 20 minutes I listened as Noah asked various people about their financial situations in a series of yes or no questions. I could tell that everyone else was as nervous as I was, because every response to one question was the same. "Have you filed bankruptcy in the past?" "No." And then 8:20 when my name was called, my lawyer was still nowhere to be seen. They told me I would come back to me at the end. Crap.

Eventually my lawyer got there, we went through the motions, I told him what I needed to say, and then it was done. I checked my phone and it was only 8:50. Fantastic. I called my interview and asked if I could push it up because I was banking on a grateful response. Plan worked.

It was my drive from the meeting to the interview that it sunk in. I guess people can look at this in two lights. The first one is "I'm bankrupt." This is the victimization of the process. You have decided that your life cannot go anywhere else so you HAVE to file, and now there is a giant cloud over your head. The other light, and the one I've been trying to take, is "I have another chance." 

All of the weight that had been on my shoulders for the year prior, gone. As soon as Noah said it was done, I no longer had to worry about wondering if I would have to wait to fill up with gas. No more worrying about how long I can go without grocery shopping. Gone were a thousand different scenarios that went on in my head because I wasn't able to escape the mistakes I had made in the past. 

So now here I am a week later. I have missed not one, but two deadlines I've put for myself. I had written the first half of this blog while I was waiting to get tattooed after my interview. I can try and make excuses for not posting, but I realize that this isn't my normal job where I have expectations set for me and someone else reminding me to hit my goals. I need to keep myself focused and prioritized. This blog is the beginning of my future, and I've been continuing the failures of my past by not giving it the priority it needs. 

I know what the problem is. I am terrified of this blog. I am horrified of the absolute vulnerability I find myself in. What if I fail? What if I'm just creating a memorial to my failure? What if it's self-serving and goes nowhere? What if nobody is helped? Why should I continue talking, when I am usually the one listening? I look at my future workload, and how incredibly daunting it is given my lack of knowledge, and I worry most that is going to show through. I can't hide behind a topic I know, because I literally know nothing about how I get from point a to point b.

That's the point though. The Barber Story in design should highlight these things. I've never put myself out there like that in the past, so I cling to the familiar. Tomorrow I have my second interview with the district manager, and in the back of my head the obnoxious voice keeps chiming in "You shouldn't get a new job because you know you're existing one," and it's a true. I am very good at what I do, I take pride in that. But why not take pride in being good at what I do while enjoying it at the same time?  I'm great at doing laundry. I've done it for over two decades. I cannot stand doing the laundry. Just because I'm good at something, doesn't make the time spent doing it any more laborious. To me, it seems that enjoying what you do, and taking full interest in how it works, can make that time fly by. It's not about the paycheck at that point, instead it's about the process of creating and the result of the end product. It's about seeing things come together in front of your eyes. To be better collectively, that what they were previously as individual items, or parts of the whole.

So now that I've gotten all of this out on the table. My next entry shouldn't be too hard. I'll let you know tomorrow how the interview went.

Chris BentleyComment