The truth will set you free…but first, it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem
I struggle daily with my decision to keep fighting for my home. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I’m ready to accept the truth and move on. Today marks the 4th time our house has been scheduled for sale on the county courthouse steps, and the 4th time it has been postponed. A new date has not yet been set. The bastards want me to call back tomorrow. I always picture a sheriff in a cowboy hat standing in the public square, reading a decree out loud, offering my home to the highest bidder in the crowd. I’m sure that’s not the process, but something about all of it reminds me of some old western where the wealthiest landowner gets to bid on the property of all the natives. “But it belongs to me….!!!” I’ll want to scream. And no one will care.
Two years ago I became very ill, and we fell behind on our mortgage payments as they continued to rise. Apparently subprime is a fancy way of saying ‘you got screwed’. I would be surprised if it wasn’t in fine print somewhere. I subsequently lost my job, and though I am working again, we have struggled to negotiate a reasonable modification arrangement with our mortgage company. Note: $20,000 down is not reasonable by anyone’s standards. Unless of course 20,000 refers to dog hair. In which case, I may be able to make that happen.
I have learned to hate my beautiful hardwood floors. They stare up at me and dare me to keep them clean. I despise the backsplash on my kitchen sink in a way that no one should hate an inanimate object. I even hate the windows on every side, letting the stupid sunshine in now and again. And the sunroom that I painted dutifully before we even moved in? What gives it the right to sit smug and stare at me, all convenient and warm? I want to rip up the carpet on the stairs with my bare hands, and send it piece by piece to the PO Box listed on my statements. Please. Instead of the pieces of my heart that go every time you tell me “No, we cannot approve your modification…”, please accept these shreds of mixed fiber, dog hair infested, memory of baby steps up and down, up and down, up and down, instead.
And yet, despite my unreasonable distaste for all things in my home, I call everyday and I speak to a different “counselor”, encouraging me to apply again, to call again, to wait again, I do it. Dutifully. Giving up is not in my nature, though I’m wondering if hopeless insanity might be. Each time I prepare and fax thirty three pages of information that is supposed to somehow verify that: I am who I say I am, I have always maintained regular work, I have struggled as a single mom, a married mom, a step-mom, an auntie mom, and am fighting now to not become a homeless mom. Each time I change a little something and hope that maybe someone different will look over our numbers and maybe, by some shred of crazy lightning strike type luck, that person will realize what logic will tell you: it doesn’t make sense to take my home.
I have felt so overwhelmed as the reality of what a foreclosure would mean to me and my family hangs over me like a thundercloud. Where will we live? Will anyone rent to us after the foreclosure goes through? How will we move? Can we take the fridge? Will my children ask why and how and blame me for not fighting hard enough? Will I miss these horrible hateful hardwood floors? Will we ever be able to own another home? Would I even want to go through this again? Will I be able to qualify for school loans for my kids? Will they be so emotionally scarred from losing a home that they will not function and not go to college anyway? Will the wealthy landowners who win the auction wonder why the carpet is in shreds, torn by hand at the seams? And the answers to all of these questions is always different, and never the right one.
The truth is, I secretly want to give up (But I won’t, not yet). Because at the end of that list of questions, is the God honest truth that I will be so very relieved when this is all over with and I can move on. My daily plan changes, but the idea that I have a plan, even if I have nothing else, is enough to set me free.
After working to promote many others: friends, family, businesses, I have faithfully decided to promote my own cause. The truth about foreclosure isn’t in some magic mathematical formula that reveals your debt to income ratio; nor is it a step by step check off list that will save every person’s home. One thing I recognize in every person that has gone through or is going through the same struggle as ours, is that all of our situations are different, and it’s the attitude that is going to get you through it. The truth is that you have to find a way to be in control of what is happening, even if that seems hopeless. It isn’t necessarily going to save your home for you, but it will keep you in it until you are ready to leave. The truth about foreclosure in this climate is about: having a plan, being flexible, open minded, and letting go of all the stereotypes and shame that go with the idea of losing your home. You won’t be able to fight it if you are embarrassed or afraid. It’s about finding like minded people who will encourage you to continue to have hope, (even if it’s just a small shred), but to stay grounded and be realistic with forming and implementing a plan B. Most of all it’s about being proactive, even and especially when all you want to do is lay face down on those beautiful hardwood floors and wait for the sheriff to come and get you.
If you’re going through what I’m going through, please visit the resources that have helped me get to where I am now at www.truthinforeclosure.com. It won’t give you all the answers, but it will help you begin to imagine a future that isn’t about being afraid of what’s going to happen next. Though I’m not any closer to a loan modification, the information I found on this site helped me formulate a game plan, and the correspondence has encouraged me daily to go on. I have managed to stay in it until now, even after 4 sale dates, while we save money and orchestrate a plan that keeps our family from living under the overpass.
So bring on the crooked lender (fired a few months after we bought our home), the ridiculous loan terms (that an eager me failed to inspect), the absence of regulation (the story of our times), the promises of change (empty for some, available to only the select), the criteria I can’t seem to get right (no matter how many times I submit the paperwork), the telemarketers posing as counselors (please be nice to me), the carrot I keep on chasing (and likely will never catch)…their single purpose is to piss me off. And then, with luck, and hope, and faith…lots of faith, the truth will set me free.