The Nadir

The Nadir

The stormtroopers have the Rebels. Vader has Luke on the ropes. The Death Star’s shields are intact. All is not going well for our heroes. But things turn around. The darkest moment gives into the brightest dawn. Is that how this works?

All of my credit cards are maxed out. My income is about $1000/mo. short of what it needs to be. I could work more to close off the debts, but I can’t do that because all of my time and energy is going into the renovation of the house. All of my available money is going into renovation supplies. The painting of the kitchen means the kitchen has no flat surfaces and the microwave is only source of heat. Translation: there is no way I can cook at home; and there is no money to buy takeout. My crappy paint job took several days. My partner’s repair of my crappy paint job is taking several more. In the weeks prior to the painting, we knew that the kitchen plumbing was dumping its contents into an unused workshop at the back of the house. We have tried to get an electrician in to do the work we need to close off the renovations, but electricians are a precious and scattered lot of tradespeople.

Closing off the house renovations is necessary to nail its defects. The house is very defect-eriffic. It’s 105 years old– the first house on the block. We need the house prepped for sale so that it can be liquidated. It’s the main asset in my soon-to-be former marriage. In 2007, the wife and I were talking about selling our townhouse. Fiscally: things were good. The finances were okay. My income was good. We had a place that had appreciated a great deal (from $130k to $280k). Around the same time, I learned that my wife was creeping around LiveJournal and cyberring smut to anyone desperate enough to give her an audience. I didn’t like the deceit; and I didn’t like that she would hold me back, alienate my friends, and go out there at the same time. I didn’t want to be married anymore. I told her that. In compromise, she nuked the LiveJournal account that she knew I knew about. I still didn’t want to be married. A month later, in prep for the sale, she broke her ankle. I was into a stressful new phase at my job. Between my stress and her ankle, I put my plans to dump her on hold; and we put our plans to sell the townhouse on hold. A year later, the house sale plans resumed. We bought our ramshackle home. I thought it could be downturn resistant. It felt that we were heading for a global financial meltdown in 2008-2009. I needed us to be somewhere cheap enough to live if we were I to lose my job. We did that. In 2010, I quit my job. With my own shingle hung out, I was fixated on making enough money to provide for my family. My wife went into cheating overdrive. Whenever I confronted her, she denied it. Whenever I confronted her friends, they denied it, too. I didn’t trust her, but I was sufficiently gaslighted to buy her crap enough, and believe that North was South. I lived almost 20 years of “no” from the ex-wife. That’s a lot of years of being hemmed in, held back and shut down. That long game of mental torture leaves a mark. It establishes patterns. Those patterns become almost foundational. I got 20 years of “no”, and I need to have a few years of “yes.”

I was at my financial wits end in 2014 when I got a regular job. Things turned around a little. I started The Rebuild. Then the ex-wife revealed all of the cheating in early 2015. We started the long road towards a no-contest divorce. I thought she needed a viable chance at getting a place for her and my daughter. When wrote the deal, I agreed to her getting 60% of the net proceeds from the house sale. I would take 40% and limp off to rebuild my life. Some people will decry this sexism, but the courts favour women. Case in point: when we did the paperwork for the separation we came to it with our 2014 tax numbers. I have my daughter for twice as many days as my ex. The tax numbers say I earned half as much as the ex. Translation: I owe her $19/mo. in child support. Tell me that’s fair. In the spirit of this unfair system, I wrote a deal to make sure my daughter wasn’t living in a slum.

Now we’re into the thick of things. Every day, I am building stuff, buying stuff, cleaning stuff, or trying to herd tradespeople. I have hated this house since I signed the papers to attain it. I have hated the house and now it’s my obsession. In reward for this monomania and putting my life on hold, I will see 40% of the proceeds. In reward for being cheated on and made into a fool for years, I have all this work and a minority of the reward to cap it all off.

I need to know the shields can drop and that the Rebels can take out the Death Star. I need to know that I get to the point where house goes up for sale. My partner is working her ass off to make the renovations happen. With my money gone, she’s draining her bank account to see us through. I have a lot of guilt around seeing her resources get depleted to make this happen. She reminds me that the money isn’t going to kill us, the bad mood will. Every penny and every hour gone is being replaced with my bad mood. I rail against injustice and this whole deal reeks. Worst still, I feel like I’m the architect of this injustice.

In my ontological coaching exercises, I have “abundance” as a project: a point where my money is good and my time is good. A point where my work serves a purpose and I feel fulfilled. Right now, I feel a million miles away from abundant. I feel scarce. I feel hurt. I feel like a caged animal. I am at my nadir. The last 16 months have felt like I was run through by a spear. It feels like I have to grab that spear and pull it through me inch by inch until it’s all the way out the other side. It hurts.

Does this turn around? Have you been at your low point? How did you come back?