You will likely find that the title to this post is a bit melodramatic, but to me, I do find it apt. In this post, I’m going to lay down the events that have occurred over the past week that have lead me to make a radical decision to change my life.
Monday morning at around 3am, my father received a call from my brother crying about my car having been wrecked. My brother works a 5pm-2am shift and usually has a ride with a co-worker. But not this day. The weather was bad, so I drove him to work during the day and my mother offered to pick him up at 2am with my car. The newest car in the family and thought to be the safest. Especially after a recent investment of nearly $5k of work. $5k I really didn’t have.
9am, Monday morning. I finally see the wreckage of my vehicle. According to my mother, the car took a hard pull to the right and drove right through a telephone pole, taking out a lower middle-ish chunk of the rotted wood. All airbags deployed. Both of them survived with no lasting injuries. She had managed to steer the car to hit square in the middle of the front end, nearly cleaving the engine compartment in two. Doing that saved their lives. The gentleman who towed the car, as well as the police officer who responded to the accident, both remained in shock over how lucky they were that they hit DEAD center.
That night, I began the claim with my insurance. On the front of the insurance, this whole process was very painless and I can’t thank them enough for their swift handling of the situation. No names will be given because this is not an ad, but I was impressed with the speed. Then again… I pay an awful lot for something I’ve never had to use…
So 9am, that same morning after the accident, I’m standing in a tow lot staring at my wrecked car. It’s gone. It’s beyond repairable. I start crying. Six years I spent in debt to that vehicle. Six years I spent working a horrible job to keep up with payments. I loved that car. I did everything I could to take care of it. It had a brand new transmission just the beginning of this year… Breaks and tires a month ago… To me, she was my freedom. I live in a very depressed area of NY. It’s bouncing back, but that doesn’t change the lack of diverse industry. My car was what gave me mobility. It was the one thing I had in my life that I was CERTAIN I’d always have. I mean, she was almost paid off too…
Wednesday comes around. The insurance declares her totaled and reports a very generous settlement. Right then and there, we paid off the remainder of the loan I had on her. After that, I had a good chunk of change left for a down payment on a new car.
I had fallen in love with the Kia Soul. It’s safety and user ratings far exceeded anything my previous car ever had. I felt so safe when I test drove it. So I began the leg work of buying one.
My credit is in a state of recovery. Depending on who you ask it’s either “good” or “bad”. The wide margin will always remain a mystery to me. Anyway, I authorized a check, hoping they’d see the “good” rating. I took four hard checks yesterday and got rejected unless I took a very predatory 7 year loan. I suspected this would happen, but hearing it first hand kinda broke my soul. Four hard checks in one day DESTROYED everything I’d spent years working on and I had nothing to show for it. Three banks and the dealership showed up on my credit report as having administered hard checks. YEARS of work. Gone in an instant. And I was left with nothing to show for it.
I hit rock bottom. My freedom was gone. I felt trapped. I’d never get out of this hellhole… And then it hit me.
The remainder of the settlement money was mine to do with as I pleased. Who’s to say I couldn’t use it to start a new life?
The gears in my over-taxed brain started cranking into motion.
This wasn’t the loss I thought it was.
I was free of the biggest debt I’d carried in my life. I was free of a financial mistake I’d made six years ago. I was free of the one thing that forced me to stay where I was and work a job that’s nearly broken me over the years.
I was free to finally make a change.
From the ashes of despair rose the tears of hope I’d never felt before. My path was open. The way forward was infinite. My debt… Gone. I could finally… FINALLY… Start over.
Immediately I thought about the west coast. About finally running away to Washington, the state of my dreams, but my mother reminded me I had family in California. That was it… There it was… My opening… My freedom… I can now put my passion project, “The Q’taxians” first and foremost without worrying about paying the bills. I can make something I truly want and living the life I fucking DESERVE.
Baby, my car, carried me through so many dark times in my life. without her, I know I would have given in to darker temptations at some point, but she was always there as my wings, ready to fly me out of any situation even though I knew I’d have to return to it. She’s gone now and where I thought I’d lost my wings, I grew a pair of my own.
I know now what I have to do and I’ll do whatever it takes.
I’m not sure who said it, and I’m pretty sure I am quoting someone, but from the ashes of despair will always rise the flames of hope. Or something like that… For the first time in my life, I have hope. Real. Actionable. Hope.
It’s time to seize that opportunity. To seize my life and take it back from debt and the servitude of others. It’s time to live the life I want and to take a stand for myself and my needs and wants. It’s time to stop asking what other people will think or say about my decisions.
It’s time for me to take care of me.
All that matters in the end, to me, is that I’m free. Finally.
Free of a job that’s nearly driven me to insanity.
Free of a debt I felt was never ending.
Free of this place that’ll never accept me for who I am.
I am free.