When G & I last met with our phenomenal financial planner Verhanika, she asked me to tell her the story behind my debt.
This is not a story I had discussed with her before this meeting.
In general, I approach our meetings with an I-have-debt-and-it-must-die resolve that has made impossible any discussion of the whys and hows in favour of the what-nows.
And, in honesty, I never thought it mattered, so I never thought to bring it up, which is why I was caught unaware when she asked me for the story behind the Beast.
I started the story, stopped. Where to start?
"I was 18," I said. "I had no choice."
Then my chin quivered. That horrible, telltale quiver I thought I'd left behind in childhood.
"I didn't know."
I took on my first loan while my family was in upheaval, and I didn't realize until Verhanika asked me about my history with how I acquired this debt just how entangled my emotions from that time are with the debt itself.
"I had no choice."
For as long as I'm in debt, I will have no choice. I've related debt to my sense of control over my life, even though I exert all sorts of control and make conscious, informed decisions about my life every single day. It takes away my sense of self-determination.
Debt disempowers me.
Somewhere along the way my ability and determination to pay debt has become a way for me to heal the hurts I've carried in this monetary total. This isn't just about money. It's about my history, a little bit of hurt, a girl who had no choice, and a woman who wants to be free.
Debt is an emotion.