Waiting for Superman

Today we had a bailiff come to our door. He wanted £627 immediately or he would be removing goods from the house.

Last night I had experienced a brief moment of enlightenment. After musing endlessly about the next step to take in my life I decided to call it an early night. Perhaps I needed energy. I went to sleep. Except I couldn’t. As I lay on the sofa bed in my front living room on a ragged duvet with another faded and stained one over me; something told me to get up. I went and sat immediately in the next room in silence. I listened to the boiler running, to the whirr of the electronics in our house. I sat on a pile of dirty laundry on my sofa and thought. I wanted to STOP thinking. I removed the music, I removed the doubts and the worries and I sat.

Immediately I saw a vision. Nothing drastic. Nothing revolutionary. But just what I needed. Clean clothes, a clean room and applications for a job. I got up and sat on the sofa I was sleeping on. I wrote out and re-read a cover letter. I then churned out applications to 34 jobs. Tired, I went to sleep.

I woke up, I dealt with teachers coming to inspect why my little brother was not at school. He had complained to us of a migraine- he has epilepsy- we got worried and let him take the day off. He then proceeded to play on the playstation. I cleaned the house, I washed the dishes, I ate burgers and chips with my mum, I watched Deal or No Deal, I put my clothes in the wash, and out to dry. I dealt with the bailiffs.

The stress induced by a bailiff can only be related to if experienced first hand. well I believe so anyway. In this day and age we believe the one thing that is secure is the property we have bought and invested in with our own money and effort. But no, not if you owe a fine to the government or if you’re behind on your mortgage repayments. Usually we negotiate, this guy was not having it.

To be honest with you, I did not feel fear as I did when I was a bit younger, I felt stress and injustice. This was my dad’s bill yet we knew that he was too aggressive and abusive to be informed of the order to seize our goods. He complained continuously, with a quick and mean tongue, my mum was his main victim. So no. We weren’t going to inform him. Me and my brothers and sisters would sort this out on our own. Just as we had always done.

This time it was my sister’s turn to pay him off with her student finance after the police had visited to authorise the transaction. I had graduated.

After they left, I sat and cried. I had hoped things would look up. I thought my siblings and I would not have to endure the humiliation or insecurity that comes from such encounters. I felt an inability to protect them. But I also felt special. I was being tested. This would only make me stronger. I had been selected to take up a challenge, and I was definitely not going to throw it away. Some things would repeat themselves in life until we learnt and became free from them. This was probably one of them.

Feeling disheartened, I spoke to friends, and organised to meet them. But it was one friend in particular who showed me the light. Over the past couple of months I had gone into hibernation, reading books, watching movies, resting. My friend showed me a blog post about a time he had experienced bailiffs. This was the first friend I had talked to about this experience.

As I read his account, I immediately saw my way out. Simple small steps. Get a job. do my course, get training, read, do what I love, make sure I handle all the paperwork and tie up any loose ends. This was not the time to wait for Superman. This was the time to take action. And strangely for me, the task was not colossal. I’ve never been good at small inconspicuous challenges, I’m usually good at the ones that stare you in the face. They usually inspire action. No, this year I’d have to slow down.

Thoreau and dreams


…. I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

“He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ”

Henry Thoreau