I feel lost. I have lost faith in many things over the last few years, but my ability to keep going, keep plodding and keep fighting is still unwavering. Yet I still feel lost. It is as if I have a compass and know the direction I need to travel, but don’t have a map, therefore do not know where I actually am on the landscape of life.
I have gone grey in 18 months. My friends asked me back in January 2018 if I was dying my hair. The cheek of it! No, it is simply the effects of pressure and stress – the depletion of the melanocyte stem cells that determine hair colour. I have however adopted a new hairstyle in the last 10 months which involves using a hair product which in turn darkens the hair with a slight ‘wet look’, so I only see how grey I am when I let my hair dry naturally.
As for the bankruptcy, well the last few months have been a repetitive string of simply getting by, borrowing a little here and there from friends and paying religiously the £5 per month for the clothing store card and the high interest credit card that I set up recently to ensure that my credit score is slowly building in the background. I realise that I haven’t written since November of 2017 and as I write this it is September of 2018. There is a lot to write about so I thought I would break this up a little.
My research into the possibility of the loan companies that purchased the debts from my bank and credit card, then applying to the courts only weeks before my bankruptcy is due to end for an IPA or IPO, and therefore ensnaring me in more debt for a further three years, was extremely fruitful. Simply put, they cannot do it. It took many phone calls and a lot of time spent in-front of my laptop while sat alone in Holly and Rons house ‘ligging’ off their internet to work out that the only people that can apply to the courts for the IPA and IPO, which in turn would be passed onto the debt collection agencies who bought the original debt from the bank and Credit Card company, is the Insolvency Agency themselves. So, provided I remain out of employment and on Government benefits until the date of my discharge – there will be no IPA or IPO applied for and the debt recovery companies get nothing.
This now gives me a time frame to work on and gives me a basic plan of just when and how I can start life again. Staying out of work on purpose is not something that sits well with my character or ethical values, but when needs must I simply have to play the game to the final whistle, and that whistle as I write this new blog has now passed by over two months.
The Months of November 2017 to March of 2018 were spent heavy in job search, knowing the days were ticking down toward the end of my bankruptcy I could really start to attack it. I set a daily routine of waiting for Holly to carry out her morning ablutions, breakfast and hair straightening ritual and get off to work, listening for the key to turn in the outside of the front door lock before I’d venture down stairs, make a cuppa, set up my laptop and books and open the breakfast bar ‘office’. I knew the exact date and time that my bankruptcy would finally end and also knew I had to ensure that I did not start work prior to this date. My particular profession has a very long road to employment and the recruitment process literally takes anywhere from 3 to 12 months. I had to work extremely hard at the job centre to convince them of this fact as they simply thought I could sit an interview on the Friday to start on the Monday. I sat numerous tests, evaluations, exams, interviews and technical testing during these months with a handful (that bothered to reply to my applications) of companies. Some worked and some didn’t and others I am still waiting for ! I literally spent every penny I had from my benefits and loans from friends to attend these assessments, interviews and tests all around the UK. I was literally drinking SlimFast powdered drinks twice a day to ensure my body was given some Vitamins and minerals as I had no money at all to even buy proper food once the travel costs for the interviews was spent out. Christmas passed and the heavy snows of February and March came and went, just like the wave of rejection emails I kept receiving. One of the jobs I applied for was abroad and I managed to fund a cheap flight and hotel room to attend the interviews and assessments only to find that the Job Centre would not help with any costs involved at all as the job interview was outside the UK; that one interview and assessment day alone took the entire month of March benefit money that I was given.
As April rolled by I received an Email from a UK company asking me for an interview and technical testing within the next 2 weeks. It came on the very same day that Holly said she needed me to leave the house as her daughter needed to return home for personal reasons. I had to leave within the next two weeks. I sat alone in a pub on the opposite side of town from Hollys house later that very same day swimming in a pint a Guinness and made a call to a friend who lived 200 miles away to ask if he had a spare room for a few months. Jim lives on the Welsh Borders and had recently split up from his partner too. We had been talking for some time and he knew of my predicament and had kindly already offered to help out if ever required. He welcomed me and told me not to worry. Not only could I not secure employment, but I now had to leave the town I had been living in for almost 10 years which meant leaving the relative comfort and succour of friends and of friendly faces and places, my postal address from Marks flat where I could still receive mail and feel like a human being. Away too from simple things like my doctors and dentists which I spent 6 months trying to get on their books when I first arrived in the town, and having now to endure the rigmarole of having to complete another welfare application to transfer Job Centres. After my third pint of the black stuff I received a phone call from a friend called Stuart who needed a hand moving house that weekend – “Why not mate, what could possibly go wrong?” I replied as I ordered my fourth.