A Jail of My Own Making

>> Thursday, August 6, 2009

I had the strangest dream last night. It was a wierd dream. I went to jail. By my own choice.

I remember bits and pieces of the dream. Being at the computer and doing something on the computer - in what seemed to be a gesture of turning myself in online - and then just sitting there and waiting for the police to show up at my door a few minutes later to take me away. I remember looking at My Marine and saying that I have to do this and that it's for my own good. I remember telling him that he had to call a friend of ours to help with the girls while I was gone - which was only going to be for 45 days. (45 days?) I remember the "jail" being more of a glorified dormitory where I basically did some hard labor and was able to see my family every once in awhile.

Why did I have this dream?

I'm certainly no expert on dream interpretation, I'm sure I can give you my interpretation. I've been so incredibly out of sorts lately. I feel like I've got the weight of the world on my shoulders. Our finances are so out of whack and we just had an unexpected car repair earlier this week to the tune of $667 that pretty much wiped us out until our next pay period.

Yes, we have debt. Yes, we live paycheck to paycheck. No, we really don't have much of a savings cushion - not any more, not in this economy. Yes, I stress every single day about paying bills, putting food on the table, stretching every single little thing so that it lasts just a little bit longer.

My worries and stresses have put me into an emotional jail -- a jail of my own making. I can't get through the day without thinking about the upcoming bills and where we're going to get the cash to pay for them.

Sure, I can hear it now -- well, why don't you go get a job? Sure, I could do that. But you figure out daycare for two kids on a paycheck of minimum wage and what's left wouldn't even get me a cup of coffee and a danish.

The worst part is that I feel that because I'm a failure when it comes to our finances that somehow that makes me a bad person, a bad wife, and a bad mom. If I can't get a hold of something so simple as money and debt management (and it really is a simple concept if you boil it down to the basics), how can I be a good person. I look around and all my other friends seem to have it together. And I know that the situation we're in is my fault.

You see, I'm a recovering compulsive shopper. It's a real, deep-seated problem that I deal with every single day. It was at it's worst right after I first got married and was living in a state other than my homestate, with no family, while My Marine was gone 9 months out of the year. I shopped to fill the void - the loneliness, the anger, the sadness. I'm still paying for those mistakes - and now that I have kids, I struggle every day with not falling into that trap of shopping for them.

But I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying so hard to keep the faith that God will provide - somehow, someway, He will provide. I'm trying to remember all the good that I have right now -- I have two beautiful, healthy girls, My Marine has a job, we have a roof over our head, a vehicle that now works, and food in our fridge.

If I focus on that every day, instead of stressing about my bank balance every single hour of the day, then maybe, just maybe, I can break free of this emotional jail that I find myself in and dreaming about at night.


Christy August 6, 2009 at 7:19 AM  

Aren't dreams crazy?
Don't be so hard on yourself. Even the people who seem to have it together are struggling with something. I have had shopping problems myself. The internet is my weakness. I should own stock in Amazon.com. I used to hope that the UPS truck would not come when my husband was home for lunch. I'm doing better with this, but it's still a struggle.

Too Many Hats August 6, 2009 at 8:40 AM  

Hugs. I also struggle with not getting caught up in the whirlwind of our finances - it's pretty bleak here. Thankfully dh has a stable job, but with almost 3 teen there seem to be expenses at every turn. I did have a prt-time (one day a week job for 12.5 years) that I was laid off from last Oct. We made the decision to just ride it out. It has been hard. We have had some crazy out of the blue expenses (car repair and vet bills). Some days I think we will never be out of debt.

As far as your friends that have everything together - don't be so sure. We all put on a face when in the world - no one talks about how much debt they have or how how they are not sure they can pay the electric bill. You probably appear to have it all together to them too.

Your in recovery that is awesome. Take it one day at a time. You are doing great!

Erica August 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

The best thing to do, from my own experience, is to take a deep breath and forget about everyone else. Those who seem to have it all together are usually the ones that have it the worst. I think I've read something like 80% of people live paycheck to paycheck, so believe me, you're NOT alone! The greatest thing I've ever done is join Financial Peace University. I used to have all those same fears you're talking about and I have them no longer. You can read up about it on www.daveramsey.com. Dave's great...it's not get rich quick, it takes a lot of hard work, but I think he even has special classes for the military. Check it out! It's the best thing you'd ever do!

Jennifer August 6, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

Oh, my heart hurts for you. I KNOW those fears and worries all to well. Don't be to hard on yourself. Lots of prayers and hugs from my way.

June Freaking Cleaver August 6, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

I've been where you are, but was a single mom of two. This was 20+ years ago - we lived on $575/month, and the rent was $310.

And it sucked. After 8 months of that, I finally snagged my first fulltime job. It eventually got easier.

Now I'm married, and I'm unemployed once again. So far, we're doing okay - but my husband is a contractor, so there's no job stability at all.

We live simply, and make the most of what we have. We've even been able to save. It's so much easier when you have a supportive partner.

Good luck, you can do it!

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy August 6, 2009 at 5:21 PM  

Thank you for following me!!!

God says... 'Fear not... I feed all the birds of the world don't I? they don't have worries... why should you worry, aren't you far more important than the birds?"

I have been where you are... and there is light at the end... I promise.

Jen August 6, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

Dreams sure are weird. I have had my fair share of weird dreams too. But I think that you did a good job on finding the meaning.

Summer August 7, 2009 at 10:34 AM  

Money is such a burden....and I hate that. But you are so right, God will provide. He promises!!!

Jennerific August 7, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

Weird dream!!! The other night I dreamt I had to put a snood on Lindsay Lohan.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog August 7, 2009 at 1:44 PM  

Oh, that is hard... I love how you pointed out that you're trying to focus on all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for now. There is real power in that. (((((Hugs)))))

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight August 7, 2009 at 5:46 PM  

I am totally with you. I can get really worried about our bills sometimes...and I know that where we are is a result of some overshopping I used to do. Let's get through this together. I'll be praying for you!

Unknown Mami August 7, 2009 at 6:09 PM  

Just keep on keepin' on. You are owning your problem and that's a big step.

mom of 4 boys! August 7, 2009 at 7:06 PM  

Jenn, I can totally relate. I/we live it. Having 4 boys under the age of almost 10 is frightening. A woman at church said to us not too long ago "Honey, I am not going to tell you that you have your hands full, I am going to say 'boy I would hate to see your food bills in a couple of years'" But, the food bills are huge NOW with 4 boys in our house!!! And with boys who are into sports, the costs of putting them through both baseball and soccer has all but strapped us. Gotcha my friend! Totally relate....

Susan August 12, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

I can understand, with dh out of work for approx 4 months this year. Its tough. I also am trying to catch up and get ahead. I just take day to day and try to stay positive.

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations August 12, 2009 at 6:56 PM  

I'm so sorry. Sometimes dreams can hit us really hard, and this is obviously something very close to your heart and on your mind right now. I hope you can focus on yourself {not on others, as they typically do not have it together anywhere near what it looks like on the outside}, and continue to move forward. It may be a daily battle at times, but I know you can get through it. Just take it a day at a time. Hugs.

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