A couple of days ago, I came face-to-face with a sad reality of my past: I was very, very irresponsible with my credit. This is one topic that has been weighing heavily on me lately, mainly because I have begun to wish I could have a nice house my children can grow up in. My credit is really bad and I wish I knew how to fix it.
And what a mess it is to fix.
It's not just unpaid medical bills that have accumulated. It's also things I "bought" but never paid for. It's also that huge stain on my credit report that came about because my parents were irresponsible for paying mortgages and they took that money to the casinos instead. (WHY I never did anything to change that, I will never know. I was naive. Everybody in the family laughed about it but I certainly never laughed about it then and certainly not now.)
I don't know why I was that way. Seeing those piles of unpaid bills and notices was certainly very depressing and I just felt terribly guilty. I felt ashamed of myself, really.
My parents took money that was for medical reasons and bought houses, cars and expensive gifts instead. They also had a gambling problem. They were just throwing that money into the wind, you know? It was seriously mishandled and I was so stupid and naive to sign those forms they put in front of me or let them use my name to get loans or my name and address for their utility bills.
It angers me and it frustrates me. WHY DIDN'T I DO SOMETHING?? Why didn't I say "Look, this is wrong"?
Well, I wasn't the only one in the family who was living dishonestly. Believe me, lies, manipulation, greed, immorality and betrayal go way, way, waaayyy back in my family. (It's no joke that I used to refer to my family as "the mafia.") Nobody said this stuff was bad. Everybody thought it was okay. Avoiding the law became a joke among all of us and having a bad rap was something every single one of us was known for.
But I know now that stuff was just wrong. I should have been more vigorous in protecting my credit. Seriously, I should have REALIZED that one day I would want to be able to own a home my children can grow up in, and that I'll need a good credit report to get there. I should have realized I'd feel guilty if I didn't pay for that knickknack I ordered through the mail or if I didn't take care of a doctor's bill IMMEDIATELY. Heck, why didn't I get it that I could ask to pay huge bills in increments??
There's just so much I didn't "get" and didn't understand.
But I am older now. And wiser. Nowadays, I'm more protective about what goes on as far as that stuff is concerned.
These days, I KNOW I have to have good credit. I know how important it is. And I am stronger now, strong enough to stand up for myself and to avoid being in a position where people can use me and use my name to get what they want (usually money). (Unfortunately, I can talk til I'm blue in the face with some people. I have a "friend" who keeps using my name and even my address to get things. Cell phone service, utility service, etc. I have told her REPEATEDLY to STOP USING MY NAME and stop using my address, too. I don't know yet if she has stopped. But she HAS received collection notices at my address. Sigh.)
I have been very depressed and guilty about this. I don't even know if half of what family members have told me about the notices are true. (Mostly, it's a "don't worry about it" response. But I worry!) When I saw those stacks of bills, I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. That right there was proof of my irresponsibility. That right there was proof that I was not being smart about what was going on and what I was doing. I didn't see the bad habits I was imitating from family members but my eyes are wide open now. I am not that person anymore and I have no plans at all to ever be that person again.
I want to lead an honest, trustworthy and charitable life. But how can I do that with that paper trail saying I cannot be trusted?
It's a horrible ache and I've been praying really hard about it. I have asked God for forgiveness but also for what to do. How can I make things right again? What do I need to do to clear away the bad things I did?
I am still hoping that God will lead me to my answer. It all seems so overwhelming. My husband said to just shred all of it then when I pay a bill, the old ones will start to come in. I don't know if that is true, because some of them are REALLY old. And I don't know anything about how the whole "credit industry" works. I'm very clueless about these things.
Except for the fact that I DO need to come clean. On ALL of it. I have to make right what was made wrong.
Part of the reason I am trying so hard to "make it big" with the writing is so that I can make that happen. There's so many old debts incurred, so many current bills to pay, it's like an ongoing process of trying to keep it all in check with what amount I can manage to dole out for it each month.
But the important thing is that the people who contributed to this mess are not in control anymore. I am. So from now on, instead of rolling my eyes and saying "thank you, Mom and Dad" whenever I see "LIEN" or "BANKRUPTCY" on my credit report, I will instead see it as a matter that must be resolved. It hurts that this is a burden I have to carry, but at least I now have control over whether it gets better or worse. And at least I see now the bad habits that contributed to it, and that all of those bad habits must never happen again.
I'm on a Children's Fiction Rec List
5 hours ago