Hey debt fighters! We have a killer dear debt letter today from Sonia. Sonia is a freelance writer who writes for small to mid-sized businesses. She has also recently started to write fiction again, this time under a pen name, which she discovered gives her a sense of freedom that has been missing from her life for far too long. She has over $81,000 in debt that she is committed to paying off. You can follow her website/blog at soniaquinones.com.
Every couple of years I decide that I’m going to get rid of you once and for all. I force myself to sit down and tally up how bad you’ve gotten. And as I do, I remember (as if I could ever forget) every stupid decision that I made that got me into this mess in the first place.
I think about how money, the lack of it, where it was going and where it was not, caused so many fights when I was growing up. How it destroyed any love and faith my parents once had in each other until all that was left was burning resentment. So that all these years later (53 years of married life and counting) my parents are miserable, unhappy, bitter people who I desperately love but cannot help.
If I could kick the sh*t out of you I would.
I’m sick of crying over you.
I’m sick of losing sleep and getting ill, literally, over you.
I’m sick of lying to my family and friends about how little money I have and how much I owe.
I’m tired of trying to figure out what bills I can pay this month and which ones I can’t.
I’m sick of worrying when that check will clear, or when that deposit will be released from a bank hold.
I’m sick of reliving the memory of how I created this mess.
I owe $81,138, most of that in student loan debt for an undergraduate degree that it took me until I was 40 to get and a graduate degree program that I never actually finished.
Student loans that some of my then-employers reimbursed me for. But did I use the check they gave me to repay the loan I took out that term? Oh no. I went ahead and spent it on stuff I don’t even remember. Student loans that I’ve requested forbearances and deferrals on more times than I can count while I got my feet back under me whenever I’ve been unemployed or underemployed.
Student loans that overwhelm me when I compare then to what I actually take home in income. Last year I made exactly $26,275–total–on my freelancer’s income. And that was before taxes. But then making good money doesn’t make a difference.
Not when it’s your mindset that’s screwed up. Because back when I was making almost $90K a year as a full-time employee did I attempt to pay down my student loan debt in a serious way? Nope. Instead I paid the bare minimum. Why? Because even then I still felt “poor.” I couldn’t see the opportunity, the abundance that had entered my life.
I hate seeing the world through the poverty mentality/filter that I absorbed from my family. I’m angry at the idea that my dreams have become so small. That the idea of ever owning my own house instead of renting feels ridiculous, something other people get to do but not me.
I’m angry that the idea of replacing my battered 18-year-old car is out of my reach. I’m pissed that I can’t imagine ever getting to travel to Europe, or go to events where I can meet the people I admire online in person.
I’m pissed that I can’t take better care of my parents. That I can’t move them out of the dump they have the nerve to call a senior residence and into a better apartment, or even an actual house, all because I have this debt that I foolishly allowed into my life. A debt that I signed up for without realizing how deeply it would stain my outlook on life.
I’ve had enough of feeling like a damn incompetent idiot. I’m sick of feeling like I can’t breathe. Like I have no right to hold my head up like a responsible adult. Like I’m wearing a huge sign labeled “LOSER.”
Enough. Enough. Enough.
I’m going to get rid of you no matter what the hell I have to do. I’m going to take my life, my business, my soul seriously and get you out of my life once and for all. I’m reclaiming my life and you won’t ever get a chance to get your grubby hands on me again.