About five months ago my building announced that we needed a new roof which resulted in a “special” assessment of a couple thousand dollars. Two weeks later I took my car in because it was making a funny noise and found out that it needed (more than) a few thousand dollars worth of work.
I patched the car up as best I could and I started saving for the special assessment. But my budget is pretty tight and, even though I’d known about it for lots of time, I was struggling. The car was hanging over my head like a guillotine. A few more things happened that were comparatively minor but still significant… And I realized that I was in over my head.
So I thought through my options and asked Mommy and Daddy if I could come home for a bit.
Taking on debt wasn’t an option. And I simply couldn’t come up with the several thousand dollars needed over such a short period of time.
Living in the lower mainland isn’t easy. My mortgage, taxes, strata and utilities take up about 46% of my net each month. If you amortize the cost of the new roof over say, a two year period, we are at 50%. So. 50% of my net over the past two years has gone towards housing. Then there is car insurance, cell phone, fuel… It’s all rather a lot.
(I’m going to be fully honest here and tell you that I also eat out too often and have far too much clothing hanging in my closet. These are my vices. Giving them up would not have made the difference in this scenario.)
Because I get steady salary increases each year I am not concerned by the long term. I was concerned by this moment, here and now, and how to get through it.
And I was really, really lucky to still have parents who could lend me a room for a few months.
So I’ve rented my non-rental strata unit out to a couple of girls who wanted to try living on the west coast for a few months. And I’m going through the, rather humiliating, process of convincing my strata that, yes, this is my only option.
I’m sitting in the small upstairs bedroom of my parents house surrounded by too much stuff feeling pretty shitty about myself but also pretty grateful. And the dinner that Mom made was pretty damn delicious.
Here’s the thing. I’m going to turn 32 while I’m living with my parents. I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a grown-ass-woman and I feel like I’m failing. I feel like I’m screwing up in a bunch of different parts of my life. I feel like I am self-sabotaging with the best of them.
My reboot was going well. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t. Too many things converged all at the same moment and I found myself crying on the drive home wondering aloud why I couldn’t do anything right.
The thing is that I can do stuff right. (I swear!!!) It was just too much, all at once. It was the feeling you get when you know that one more thing will break you.
Mom and I were struggling yesterday to pack the large and unwieldy cat tower into her truck. It wouldn’t fit and I kept having to crawl into the back, (in a work dress, pantyhose and heels, because what else does one wear when moving?), and I kept thinking about how many people in my life had offered to help me. And how I had stubbornly said “No, I’ve got this”. And how that meant that my poor Mother and I were now giggling helplessly and slightly hysterically at our failure to lift this heavy damn tower.
I was able to ask my parents for help when I needed it. But I’m rarely able to ask anyone else. This is a problem. Asking for help is so incredibly scary. It makes one raw, vulnerable. Saying “No, I don’t have this” is a terrifying thing for me.
I have always hated admitting that I don’t know how to do something. It is crippling for me to try something for a first time and have to admit that I need help. Anything from an exercise class to using a compass card. Stupid things that shouldn’t be embarrassing! I will research it, I will barrel through. I will not admit I don’t know. I will not ask for help. Even when help is willingly, lovingly offered, I often will not accept it.
It’s not an attractive quality my friends.
I feel like each and every moment of my life I am one shown weakness away from… What? People not loving me anymore? My friends know my weaknesses, my failings. My family does too. None of them love me less for these things.
It’s something I’m working on.