I looked myself in the mirror two weeks ago and my eyes looked vacant. So bogged down I was by outpouring so much of myself into other people and other projects that I was running on empty.
And if you know me, have seen me in person, or follow me across any of my social media accounts you know that I have expressive eyes.
So to have them staring back at me with none of their usual sparkle, or twinkles of amusement, or glint of mischievousness…
to see none of that reflected back at me, scared me…and sent me back to another time.
A time when I lived in Orlando, Florida
and I found myself sitting in an overcrowded room of strangers
in a run down government owned building
waiting for an attorney
whom I had never met
to accompany me in front of an overworked judge
to declare bankruptcy
at 24 years old.
It was just the latest blow in a string of metaphorical gut punches and slaps to the face I was taking.
me and my coach were no longer on the same page…maybe not even in the same book.
the hard drive of my laptop computer wiped itself and I lost my completed honors thesis just hours before I needed to submit it.
I was working three part time jobs because I was on a $20,000 contract.
My home had gotten foreclosed on, was sold at auction, and the bank was demanding I pay the difference.
$285,000: due upon receipt.
The IRS was breathing down my neck in the same way over back taxes I didn’t even know I had.
The guy I was dating at the time lost my dog, and I never saw her again.
I was heartbroken…
Wondering how I was going to start over, and with what.
I was surprised how I felt the day “they” came and took my car. I watched them drive it onto the back of the flatbed truck through the blinds of my apartment’s dingy windows.
I stayed there, eyes plastered to the scene watching it unfold as if it weren’t happening to me.
But it was happening.
And oddly enough, as the truck disappeared from my view I did feel a sense of freedom.
I was suspended in that space between having and not having.
There I was…
a track and field has been
thinking what now.
Fast forward a year or two and I’m sitting in a kitchen in Tampa, watching him prepare steaks to throw on the Green Egg. It’s the weekend, and I’m enjoying the background noise of the Great American Songbook playing through the house-wide Bose sound system.
Browsing through the liquors and wines in the bar room.
Playing with Bailey, his teacup Yorkie.
And I remember being incredibly happy in that moment, and then incredibly sad. So I spoke up.
“There’s something I have to tell you”
“What’s up” he continues to toss the steaks in a mixture of spices.
“I had to declare bankruptcy not too long ago, my credit score is in the toilet, and I have a huge tax bill I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to pay.”
He stops tossing the steaks around and looks at me.
It’s silent. So I continue to speak.
“I just want you to know that because I have nothing. And you obviously—” I wave my arm around the space to signify the expansive house… “you obviously have it all. I am not bringing anything of value into this relationship really.”
He said then…
“thank you, for telling me. But it doesn’t matter. It happened but it’s not who you are. And guess what else, I’ll take care of it.”
I looked at him hard then.
And he returned my gaze.
“Because I can”
And a few days later after turning all of my relevant info over to him and his accountant I didn’t think about it again.
I reminded myself frequently that what’s happened to me isn’t who I am. And I was so relieved that someone else was going to “take care of it” for me.
Fast forward to present day (seven years later) and…
none of that was taken care of for me.
for the second time in my life I find myself wondering how I’m going to start over and with what.
And I’m going to be honest I ask myself pretty regularly WHY.
Why do people take so much from me…
how does it get so far that I end up with nothing.
Why does this keep happening to me
The answer, came to me finally yesterday…driving back from the Atlanta airport after giving a presentation at ALTIS in Phoenix.
Why do I keep ending up in situations where I have to start my life over?
Because I needed to learn a lesson.
And that lesson was this…You never have nothing.
I might not have any of the money I earned during the years I was with him but I do have the body, the mind, and the spirit that did that work.
I might not have the security of the six figure contract anymore but I am the same person that earned that, that worked up to that.
As long as you are breathing
you have something
and it’s enough.
You just have to figure out what that something is.
when I left my marriage I truly believed I had nothing. And I was devastated by it, debilitated by the thought even.
But the reality is
I had family
I had a handful of friends
I had my physical abilities
I had my brain and my mental strength
my writing skills
my insatiable desire to thrive
And damn it that’s something.
Blogger’s Note: Operating from the idea that you are never in a position where you have nothing makes it harder to give up on yourself. You have something. It’s there. What is it? What can you do with it? My ebook was the one material thing I had, the only thing I actually owned at the time that I left my marriage. It was my something. I turned that into a website, I turned the website into a place full of resources, I turned those resources into a crash course, and that crash course into a tour. If I had truly believed I had nothing…I would not have seen all that I had in front of me. You have something. What is it?