The Debt Collector

I am in debt. I've always been. Since the ripe age of 19. If anyone would have told me what that debt would do to impair my life I probably would have made better choices. The debt hinders me in so many ways and there seriously is nothing to do about it. Sadly, I don't even have anything to show for it. I basically have one lambskin belt, several pieces of mediocre costume jewelry, a 5pc dinette set, a lot of photos and a reeling mind. That to the tune of just shy of $15,000. I wish I could just pay it all off and be done with it. However, its not that easy. The majority of my debt keeps growing. No matter how much and how often if I don't pay it in full it continues to increase. The reality is I bought crappy clothes, a $300 set, took out a $5000 private loan for school and went on a world tour with a selfish bitch. The odd part is I had the cash money to pay for all of that. I chose to "build my credit". That was the only advice I was ever given.

If you're 19 and reading this, you don't have to "build your credit". What you can do is live cash only. If you want to be practical get one major credit card and one store card i.e. An American Express and a Sears card. This way you can travel, pay for unexpected emergencies, get appliances and or services. Otherwise, you'll be just fine saving up for a car and paying for it in cash, applying for grants and scholarships for school and living off your current means. I didn't need to buy any of the above. I could have waited until I was able to fully afford school emotionally and financially. I didn't need to ruin my credit to so-called build it. I used $25k in inheritance to pay for an out of state education that lasted all of three months. I had about 3 times as much in the bank but was advised to take out a loan for a difference with the bursar. I had a $1500 limit Express card where I bought jeans and frilly tops on a weekly basis. I got a Target card when I went to price my dinette set not buy it. I would shop with my credit cards, pay them off in full and when the money ran out I had no credit. I didn't build anything because I basically bought everything twice.

I lived off my inheritance for over six years. I bought several cars and homes - for other people. I was able to work if I pleased and quit whenever I felt like it. The money also allowed me to simply forget about my education. When I was finally independent and could receive more financial aid to attend college I was forced to work. I sometimes worked two and three jobs just to pay my never-ending and immature debt. When I was younger it didn't affect me as much. I liked the idea of working and paying my bills. I didn't see the ramifications. On paper I was somewhat financially sound. However, when emergencies came I no longer had lump some money or savings. So at times my credit cards were all I had. After a while I couldn't pay anything. It was a catch 22 - I couldn't keep up appearances and I couldn't get on the right path. 

Thankfully, I never bought a fast car or high end jewelry. I didn't splurge on vacations or stay in VIP. I took the majority of my money and invested it into antiques, art, furnishings  for a dream place and I paid cash for practical cars. I was always able to live in decent places, pay all my bills and get from point a to b. Even when I couldn't afford something, I took pleasure in saving my cash money until I could. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I began to have issues. I worked for a college and earned several education grants so I went back to school. I then transitioned into a full time job where I could afford a better place. Then I got sick, was placed on medical leave, subsequently kicked out of school and never given a single FMLA check. My only savings was my 401k. My life saver was killer insurance. However, I could barely pay my bills. I couldn't take out an emergency loan because I was in debt. I couldn't return to school because I was no longer eligible for grants. The people I'd bought homes and cars for were also in a rut. Even my landlord  went into foreclosure jeopardizing a place I'd rented in confidence. I couldn't buy my home because I was in debt. I couldn't find a decent job in a bank or at a major corporation because of my credit. When my friends went on lavish trips or leased newer cars I couldn't even bother because I was always cash poor. 

What always irritated me is that I was never a so-called bad paymaster. I was never really poor. I grew up in a nice environment. I was afforded nearly everything I ever asked for. I  was raised by parents who themselves had always been financially sound yet unsavvy with money. I was raised to be materialistic versus value the comfort of wealth. It's very systemic and I chose to get out of the system at a pretty late age. The problem is now anytime I make a financial move I have to calculate it. I don't have the luxury of swiping my credit card because I didn't understand how to use the ones I had. The only way for me to afford upgrades to things is to get lump some money. My employer finally gave me my FMLA I bought a new computer. My cars engine died I took from my 401k to pay for a rebuilt one. Tax refunds arrive I outfit my home, buy new shoes and get glasses. On Black Friday, I save a bit to afford myself new clothes, electronics etc. Otherwise, after rent and bills I don't have a lot of money to dream. I can have a few drinks, see a movie and have a moderate meal out. That is really all I can do living cash only and paycheck to paycheck. Trying to return to school to finish my degree, start a career - it just opened the gate to more inquiries about my growing debt. What I used to pay less than $50 a month is now $275 a month. I don't even try to ask how do they supposed I live and eat. I just avoid Sallie Mae like the plague. I forbear, I defer, I write this person and I claim this exemption but nothing ever works. My $5000 loan was over $17,000 in 2012. My credit debt was nothing in comparison. The school debt always stood out and always will. 

So let it be known my willingness to drop everything and travel was a huge financial risk. In order to do so I had to confront a lot of errors in my ways. I wasn't able to buy my airline tickets early because I didn't have the money. So in the end I paid more because I had to save to buy the tickets later. This is why the poor stays poor. I had to just believe that somehow, someway I could afford to take this trip. It took me getting there to figure out I never could. Surely, had I been alone I would have managed accordingly. When I chose to accompany her the financial strain was inevitable. We both had to bear paying expenses back home while traveling abroad. I expected some sort of compromise and understanding from her end but there was never any. She was me oh so many years ago. Just living above ones means, abusing the credit system and then blaming everyone and everything later. I wasn't the only one with school loan debt staying in 200 Euro a night hotels and eating 40 Euro meals. Just like it felt good to me at her age the thrill came back but it was vicariously and damning. And just like my phone used to ring non stop when I had three jobs and lived in 425 square feet - my phone rang for her to "collect my debt". I wouldn't have ever expected that. Not from my friend. Not from her. Yet those were her words for several weeks. 

Now I was in an even worse position. I was in my grandmothers home with no job. I was a door down from my mother living off her income. I was sitting looking at a suitcase tagged for Paris, Iceland, London and I really didn't have much to show for it. All I could think is I'm in true debt now. However, I had my education which no one could take from me. So I felt the same about my so-called friend harassing me for $500 bucks. She could bother me to no end, I'd eventually pay it and in the meantime she could never take my memories. Sometimes she would message my mothers phone all in caps about my debt and not even think about the time of day or whose phone it actually was. My mother would spar back and forth with her and I was outback with the dogs. Mom would then berate me for befriending an individual like her and beg me to never pay her back. I always argued about the principle. For me I was never the bad guy, I throughly enjoyed paying off my debt and even when I didn't have it I always made the effort. So I gladly sold my camera and my iMac. I took pride in packing them up and giving them to someone who needed them more. I felt like my money would show that I was good person after all. That I could risk it all, put up with more and still be the better person. This has been me for many, many years. The person she would eventually become. 

I paid most of "my debt". I didn't get a chance to pay it all off. That wasn't my fault either because I did have the money. She decided that her harassment wasn't enough. She also found some reason or reasons to be nasty about it. Again, it wasn't anything new for me to be haunted because I owed something. It wasn't painful to lose because I couldn't pay out. However, this was the first time I owed someone who wasn't far removed. This was a person I thought that was far enough invested in me and who I was to simply wait. She couldn't wait for PayPal to do its magic. She couldn't wait for me to deposit the remaining money into her fathers account. She was also so pissy by then she cut off communication to me and everyone else I could have reached out to to make it possible. I'd never been apt to pay something only to find the lines disconnected and the relationship severed. It was truly a first and the total opposite of my past experiences.

I recently sat at my dinette set. I left it outside for several years. My roommates son dabbed a bit of marker on one of the chairs. She herself spilled some dye on the flat top.  However, it sure was nice to sit four plates on that table and us all sit down to enjoy a shared meal. Sometimes I wear my lambskin belt or I'm able to quote some novel I read in second year. These are all unpaid debts, things I have yet to fully pay for and owe on. My friend though. I don't have her. I didn't have her loyalty. I didn't have her respect. I have debt for $15,000 after this years tax return was mysteriously taken by Sallie. Apparently, I'd missed the offset letter while overseas traveling with my friend. So again, this is a first. I'd risked it all, put up with a helluva lot more and wound up the better person. I paid until she didn't allow me to. She did whatever she could to feel better about it. I haven't heard from her since. 

Allegedly when people ask her how was Europe she says "oh it didn't work out". Well, I'm sorry she has to feel that way. I hope she isn't piss poor due to choices or emotionally bankrupt. I hope the amount of money I did send her direction allowed her to have dinner with friends, wear a nice belt or pay 75% of one months debt to Sallie. I don't see her retaining any memories or quotable quotes. Maybe she'll do well in collections. If they'll hire her since I singlehandedly ruined her credit. 

P.S. My word of the year in 2013 was "Wealth" and mid-year just before my trip I changed it to "Real" i.e. real friends, wealth of knowledge - an education 2013 was

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