Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just the Facts

At this moment in time, these are the facts:

-WE are "in foreclosure" still without a sale date
-WE have requested qualification from our lender- Countrywide- for Obama's Housing Modification plan and are waiting for approval
-WE are still trying to sell the house and it sits still without any offers
-Between the 2 of us, we are working 3 jobs
-OUR combined income still does not pay our mortgage
-WE don't have the money to stop the foreclosure and keep up with the payments
-UNLESS we win the lottery, there is no way for us to remain in our home as the owners without loan modification.
-IF we don't sell the house soon, the bank will sell it from under us and we will have a foreclosure on our record for 7 years
-WE buy a couple lottery tickets each week

These have been the facts of our lives for half a year with some variations. I was just thinking how it was so much worse when we were still unemployed. That was... hard. Terrifying. Work helps so much. Not only does it pay for food and debt, but it keeps us focused and occupied. Working towards something. Now that we're working, we're sinking much slower. We were sinking in the middle of the Pacific, where now we're sinking in quicksand. And there's a branch within reach. If we could only just grab it. I believe we will. I have no doubt. That branch is ours.

But until we actually grab a hold, either by our own sheer force of will or someone pushing it a little closer, the facts remain. And I have come, over the last six months, to relate to them as such. Just the facts. I was telling a co-worker the other day about our situation. I told her, "We're in foreclosure right now and doing everything in our power to fight it." I said it as though I was saying, "We were married on a cool day in May almost six years ago." Or, "The new peanut butter with flax seeds from Trader Joe's is my new favorite." Another fact in the many that make up our lives. We are in foreclosure, and we are in love. We are deep in debt and we are in our thirties.

This one fact that we are in foreclosure does not define all of who we are. It could if we let it. And in the beginning, when foreclosure was only a dangerous possibility looming on the horizon, we struggled with the failure we felt. Both of us. We felt stupid and ashamed and afraid. The thought that we should have known better haunted us. For a couple of weeks... maybe even months... it was terrifying. Depressing. Lonely. We were stuck in our shame and embarrassment and it was paralyzing.

Now, that dangerous possibility is an actual reality. The facts, you could say, are worse. Our situation, more dire. But we have more freedom and power. Why is that? Somehow we were able to find freedom in the facts. My name is Stephanie and I am a writer. I have a husband, a dog and a house I might soon lose. I really do love the Trader Joe's Valencia Peanut Butter with flax seeds. And I have been called resilient many times in my life. This is yet another opportunity to exercise my incredible resiliency. Which is probably my second best ability. The first is sleeping. Another fact. I'm a wonderful sleeper. Sometimes, when the facts are too heavy to carry, sleep is where I find my solace. And that's okay. Just another fact.

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