The Story of 2: The End Comes First
I am going to tell you that I am going to tell you a story.
Then, I’m going to tell you the story.
Then, we will recap the story.
That is your first take away from this narrative.
I just told you my short version of how to give a speech. I studied speech in high school extensively and while some of you may think that speech refers to speaking and how to converse with others – what I studied was much more in depth. I studied communication of the verbal form but also more. I learned body language, enunciation, tempo, tone and eye contact. I learned and practiced impromptu and extemporaneous speaking for school competitions. One is a short rehearsal and the other is “off the cuff” or absolutely no time to practice.
So how do you give a speech?
Let’s recap. I told you what I’m going to tell you, then I’m going to tell you and then I’m going to tell you what I told you.
While that sounds funny it’s the basic truth of it all. The more you repeat a point, the more likely people are to remember.
Well, that was my first valuable piece of information for you and my introduction. On to my story: The Story of 2: The End Comes First.
Ironically, the Story of 2 starts as a Story of 1. It’s my story and how I got where I am. Flashback almost 16 years, I called a friend and said “There must be more to life than diapers, dishes and laundry.” Now I don’t recall what I had expected to hear from my “best friend” who was like a mom to me but I felt like I needed a pick me up. I felt down. Now let’s see why I felt that way.
1) I was a stay-at-home mom six years at that point,
3) No friends I ever got to spend “me” time with,
4) No “ME” time and
5) I had applied to every restaurant in town and got zero calls back. (I have an Associate’s degree in food service and I didn’t understand
1) It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and 2) being overqualified is a killer!)
There are your #2 and #3 take away advice from me. Always make time for ME and being overqualified is a career killer. So now that you know where I was mentally, you may understand why the rebuttal I got hit me so hard.
So when I said to this friend in total exasperation “There must be more to life than diapers, dishes and laundry or I’m ready to checkout." I was quite taken aback when her response was (Let’s take a second to consider what your response might be) Are you ready for this? She said, “No not for you.” To this day those words echo in my mind. It felt like someone had pushed me off a cliff! So guess what I did?? I hung up on her.
I didn’t think about it. I just did it. Now maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do but it sure felt right to me. That was definitely not the right thing to say to me at that moment. Then my phone started ringing.
I answered. She yelled at me.
I hung up again. She texted me.
She told me how absolutely immature I was being, how childish such an action was, blah blah blah. So, I turned my phone off.
So, let’s stop for a minute and put this in perspective.
I had no friends. I didn’t like any of my in-laws because of “family loyalty” anything my husband did to me I thought was unfair, was fine by them. Mental abuse is still abuse.
#4 Take away – build a network so you always have input. I couldn’t talk to my parents. I had no siblings. I’m not close to any family. I had in fact, reached out to the ONE person to share my thoughts and she either didn’t care or couldn’t empathize but the result was : I WAS ALONE and felt like I was in the bottom of a 20 foot hole with no way out.
Let that sink in for just a minute – you’ve heard people say – “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
#5 Take away Perspective is everything. So let’s examine my perspective and compare that to the statement I just made. I said I felt like I was at the bottom of a 20 foot pit so my only ray of light is straight up OR a walk on a reasonably flat surface for a distance. Which one seems easier? “The light at the end of the tunnel does.” It’s a cake walk compared to where I was!
So how did I come back from that??
I tried a therapist and drugs for a while to collect myself, my confidence and create a plan. What was I going to do?
Take away #6 Have A Plan! Then execute it. It doesn’t do any good to “just think about it.” You need to put those plans and ideas on paper! Write it down/ organize your thoughts, create a goal, then execute the plan. Fun Fact – if you have a thought and don’t act on it in five seconds – you probably won’t because each second you wait gives your brain an opportunity to talk you out of it! Watch Mel Robbins on YouTube on TedX. here
So, what was my plan??
I had to be able to support my kids and myself. As it was, I had an Associate of Science Degree in Food Service Management and already tried to get hired by applying at all the local restaurants. No one wanted me. Not one single call back. I look back now and wonder if someone was erasing the answering machine. Since my husband at the time thought of me as “his” property, it’s understandable he might want to keep me isolated and dependent right? I did have some factory assembly experience and some shipping experience. While manufacturing jobs are prolific, shipping pays better but at the time still hard to find. Nothing happened quickly enough so I decide another avenue-more education! I knew I was a very creative person- all for me, with lots of ideas but no clue how to capitalize on them. So after some investigation and getting completely confused I signed up for an Associate Degree in Business Marketing with the Harrison College. They had been Indiana Business College. Now, knowing what I know now, the name change should have been a huge red flag. Add the fact the “admissions counselor” only compounded the confusion of how I was to be charged, when I would be charged and if credits did transfer to other colleges. It was a bad choice. So, with no one to really guide me in this process or even able to get straight answers, I plunged head first into my second term of college. I’m still 30k in debt!
Take away #7 here – you do not need a college education!
If college taught me anything it’s this –
Take away #8 –
1) It’s not what you know, but who you know that will get you the job and 2) “Business” is code for “lie” and they justify the lies with manipulation and call it “sales” which is nothing more than basic psychology.
so build that network, keep those contacts and reach out every so often just to wish them Happy Birthday. Now add up with a phone, text, recording and email it’s FREE to do so, SO DO IT!
So, you think if you have a college degree your chances of getting a job improve right? Seems logical, right? WRONG! If you can’t “sell” yourself, no matter what education you have you will never land a great dream job! Yes, you will always fall just short of where you COULD be.
I can’t tell you how many times I created a resume and asked for it to be reviewed by the employment officer at Harrison only to be told each and every time I submitted that something else was wrong. It was never “good enough” by her standards. I would get responses like “needs more continuity”. I would double check all my placements, periods, capitals. I would check that all businesses were listed in the exact same way. Check my color choices. Needless to say, after four times of this I decided her advice was an exercise in futility since it was never “good enough” and she never had a positive thing to say about it. I plowed ahead and started applying before I even actually graduated.
I landed some contract jobs in exponential marketing. What is that? Also known as engagement marketing where you interact with the customer in a non-traditional more personal way. It’s about not just educating about the product or brand but asking questions of the consumer/customer and relaying that info back to the company. It meant I spent a lot of time repeating myself! And when it came to representing a cell phone company, I had to work extra hard to engage customers because they all thought I would try to sell them a phone, when in fact I was trying to educate on availability, options and added value perks so when they are ready they would consider “brand x.” I thought I had a great job! Work when you want, if you want,you know, freedom.
But – no raises, no appreciation and I despised food demos at WalMart!
Add the need to constantly apply and train for new positions and it was exhausting. So even though I made $12 to $20 an hour I got no paid training, no vacation and no benefits. I applied for yet another part time job from Craigslist : that’s where I found all my gigs by the way. I found I liked working for Budweiser! What’s not to love ? I got paid to give away swag and hang in bars all night taking pictures of people enjoying beer and playing games.
It was at this low point in my life I was the most alone. My jobs took me out of the house on evenings and weekends (as I chose them to) and away from my husband. We just grew farther and farther apart. Now you may be inclined to conclude in a not so happy marriage there may have been some arguing going on, maybe a bit of physical abuse. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I smiled in all the pictures. I cut coupons. I tried to save money. We went out for dinner whenever HE wanted. From the outside looking in I bet it looked pretty good! But it wasn’t. We didn’t talk; if it didn’t involve paying bills, driving kids or feeding kids, we didn’t even bother to discuss it. That is how the end begins.
Now back to getting out of the proverbial hole I was in. Remember, the twenty-foot-deep hole that went straight up? I still wasn’t exactly sure how to get out and after the bank called to raise our mortgage it began to feel like a bottomless pit with only a pin hole of light at the top. I was doing all I could; I worked as much as I could, saved as much as I could. Clip coupons, buy in bulk, don’t drive unless you have to, make your own cleaning supplies. He did what he did – went to work and came home to play video games. There was no money for books from Schoolastic, school pictures or year books, and no vacations. The one time we did go away with freinds for a weekend trip to Ludington Michigan our scant savings never recovered.
It’s about now I had settled on divorce. We had been married 12 years. So, after much discussion he had divorce papers drawn up. Guess what the settlement was? I got to keep my clothes and personal property and my car. When I questioned him about buying out my half of the house, we would first have to sell it. The one and only real estate agent I had contacted told me I would have to sink 50K into it to sell it for $75 but we owed almost 80K! We had nothing.He wouldn't even buy my half of the house from me. Half of nothing is still NOTHING!
So I concluded : I am good enough to live in the house, clean the house, have your kids and raise your kids so you can work but that is how much you value me? I thought about it for a while and then packed my stuff and left. I refused to sign the divorce papers. Then he didn’t allow me to see my kids. Now this was an eye opener. Since I had nowhere to go, I could not take my kids. I had the education but still could not support myself. I left the kids with him because school was starting, I figured he needed time to miss me. He could feed the kids. He could shuttle the kids. He needed to clean his own house. After six weeks I didn’t want to go back but I HAD to. He seemed to do fine while I was gone. Come to find out he had been laid off just a few short days after I left so had been home all day.
1) I had a right to the relationship with my kids who were still small in my eyes at 4 and 6.
2) I needed a better plan. So, I took a big step back and went back – for my kids.
There were conditions I had to agree to upon my return. I was to make no adjustments to the house. No painting anything or even moving furniture. I was to sleep in the same bed as him and it was to appear to the kids that nothing was wrong. I had no access to HIS money. This actually relieved me of quite a bit of stress. I had 2 things to worry about: my cellphone and gas to get to my gigs. Of course I was expected to clean the house, do the laundry, cook the meals, etc.
We ended up losing the house within 2 years. His employer decided to cut his wages and keep him on but our house payment didnt change and our expenses couldnt get any lower. It was so bad we were selling personal property to make the payments and using credit cards to buy groceries. That can only go on for so long. We tried working with the bank but because we had actually made all the payments we were not considered "in need". So we stopped making payments. Only then did we qualify for HARP. All that did was add additional years to our loan. We bought the house with a 30 year mortgage in our early 30's. HARP added another 10 years. We would be retired before the house would be paid for. The pit just got deeper.
So, we were “counseled’’ into doing a “deed in lieu of foreclosure". Big mistake! They told us it would look better on our credit report. It did not. Still appears as a foreclosure seven years on your report. Take away #7 Remember “business” means “lie” .
So we borrowed 10k from his parents, bought a foreclosed property that should have been condemned. We wwere going from 2800 square feet of 3 stories , 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms to just over a thousand square feet 2 bedrooms and 1 bath that needed MAJOR renovation.
Take away #8 sometimes we learn the same lessons over. We have to learn to
1) read betwen the lines and 2) see patterns.
We lived in our 25ft camper trailer in the driveway of the new properrty for months. Yes, two adults, two kids and two big dogs. He worked when he wanted to and I discovered there was absolutely no way for me to motivate that man. Not with food, promises, encouragement, bribing, coercing, yelling, threatening or even sex! That was a huge red flag right there. You would think his provider instinct would kick in, right? Nope! He had a job and went to work and that was all he thought he had to do. So, I worked more when I could but the job market FOR ME was limited. I cant go to work just to get a phone call CHILD x had missed the bus.
Now here is where it got interesting. While I was gone and he was home alone he would do things. Now he had demonstrated this before in the other house when we had seperated for 6 weeks. We had no washer or dryer so I had weekly trips to the public laundry. This is the only ME time I could have.
Take away #9: The ability to recall is important and so is recognizing patterns I found all kinds of reasons not to be home – took evening jobs, took weekend jobs. Hours at the Laundromat! (Remember – we were living in a camper!) Now let me take a minute to paint an accurate picture. Our 25ft camper – was not your normal “glamper” it was like a 1976 whatever that had been gutted and redone inside to maximize sleeping without plumbing or cooking.
It had no bathroom or shower. No sink. It did have heat and A/C and radio. The kids got a bath in a baby pool. I had to heat water in an electric skillet or just have in the sun for a day. We had gym memberships just for showering.This camper had extremely limited storage space. I felt the light at the end of my tunnel was getting brighter, but I still didn’t know how to “get out.”
Why was the light getting brighter? Well,I didnt have friends but I had books and in all that reading, things started to click. I found a local church. I asked all of them to come with me. He did a few times but only to passify me. I was comforted with my books.
Sean, the Youngest got into a SALT program that came with a mentor he could meet up with vry week. I have no idea what he did with the mentor, Sean did not speak of it. To this day I wonder...had I made a bad choice?
Take away #10 remember I had no friends. But I had books and you can learn a lot from books! So, I spent a great deal of time reading. My eyes were opened! I read all the marketing books – “Who Moved My Cheese?” “Ten Things Successful People Do.” But the book that had the greatest impact on me at that time was “Think and Be Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Now I think it’s chapter 11 on transmutation that my mind just exploded. Everything fit. It was all crystal clear because at this point, I was having some great sex with myself! It was about this time that I started to hear things inside my head. I got ideas as if someone was whispering to me. No, I wasn’t crazy. I didn’t feel crazy. It wasn’t VOICES (plural) it was one voice that was more of a loud whisper. As time went by that whisper became undeniable and relentless that said,“He had to go.”
Now I still didn’t have a job that would support us. So, when I told him I wanted him to leave – he did so: almost immediately. I figured it might take 30 days for him to find an apartment in the vicinity. Nope. I don’t think he even tried because the next day he packed his stuff and left for his mother’s. I hoped they would be very happy together. Again, I was left feeling like he felt I was worthless. He did not value me enough to fight about it. He just left.
Here’s take away #11. True colors show in times of stress. Watch carefully what someone does when your opinion is different, your perspective is different or you told them no. He showed his true colors and that didn’t fit in my rainbow.
Now most people would think I’d be crying in a corner. I have been with this man twenty years now. I was 43 years old and spent half my life with him. No, I was at peace inside.
Take away #12. That’s how you know the choice is right for you. It will bring you inner peace regardless of how chaotic the rest of life is.
The third day he had been gone, he stopped by and had some really valid questions to discuss.
1) How would I support myself?
2) How would I support my kids?
3) How would I pay my bills?
To all of these questions I had only one statement. “God will provide.” It was honestly the only answer I had. I trusted it with everything in me!
Take away #13 God will provide if you have the faith.
So, at this point you have at least thirteen take-aways, or tidbits of advice so far.
How to give a speech: Introduction, Body, Recap.
It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know!
Always make time for Me, because YOU are important, that's why I capitalize Me.
Build a network.
Perspective is everything.
How to plan: Write it, refine and execute: Reevaluate
College is NOT a necessity
Remember “business” means “lie”.
Sometimes we learn the same lessons over . The ability to recall is important and so is recognizing patterns
True colors show in times of stress. Tell them NO just to see how they react.
You know that choice is right when it brings you peace.
God will provide if you have the faith.