LCFC Journal #20: The Daily Game 7

16 Apr

20171024_075119_1508845919347In the month of August in 2018, I moved to Hartford from New Haven to embark on life on my own.  During that time, I was elated to have moved out from a stressful situation that left me with no other option. However, I soon learned that life would build upon my stressors. Within a span of three months, I had almost maxed out the $7,000 limit on my credit card and found myself in large debt.

There were several things that contributed to this matter. Multiple parking violations as well as towings of my car in New Haven set me up for a huge financial hardship. Not to mention, a security deposit of $1,500 and the first month’s $900 rent in advance at my new apartment complex. For the most part, I stayed positive throughout the experience of moving into my own place. But, personally, I’ll never forget the day that placed me under and set me up for a tumultuous financial burden that still haunts me to this day.

On August 24th I left my New Haven apartment in my rear view with all my belongings stuffed in my 2005 Hyundai Elantra and drove northbound on the I-95. Quickly, I merged into the lane that would transport me to Hartford, the city where I taught for a living and secretly loved. As I drove, I couldn’t have gotten there fast enough. It was a fresh start for me. I was set to begin teaching at a new school the following week. I was going to live in the same city as my new girlfriend. And I was going to make the best of the opportunity and hoped that it would pay dividends in return.

As I drove past the North Haven exit on the I-90, I heard a loud sound as if a gunshot had just erupted from underneath my car’s hood. Before I knew what happened, I wrestled with the steering wheel as the car jerked from side to side. As debris began to fly off the car, my instincts took over as I quickly reduced speed and got into the right lane before coming to a complete halt on the side of the road. When I turned off the ignition and made my way out of the vehicle to go assess the damage, my worst fear had materialized. “A tire blowout,” I said to myself. I instantly knew it was going to cost me.

At that moment, I called my girlfriend and calmly explained what had happened. I told her that I was being towed to the nearest auto-repair shop in Hamden and to meet me there as I got my car repaired. She agreed and when the towing truck driver gave me a ride to the shop, I couldn’t help but be thankful to be alive as the situation could have been so much worse. However, I also couldn’t help but think that more money was coming out of my pocket. Overall, the cost to repair the damage to my vehicle had been $1,200 dollars. In a flash I saw my credit card debt balloon to $5,600. At that point in time I was $1,400 away from the threshold of my limit.

The following week, I had to pay $900 for my first month’s rent which was pro-rated. At the time, I didn’t have the finances to afford it on my debit card and so once again the money itself came out of my other plastic card. By then, I had $500 in credit left. Once I moved into my new apartment and had settled in, I realized that my credit card was maxed out at $7,000. “How did this happen?” I thought. How could I have been so irresponsible and frugal with my spending? Also, I couldn’t help but think that my education couldn’t help me with my dilemma at hand. “Is this why I went and got a Master’s degree? So that I could struggle with the likeliness of no end in sight?” It was a tough pill to swallow and for the first time ever in my life I had to come to terms with my circumstance. I was a broke middle school ELA teacher with a Master’s degree living paycheck-to-paycheck in Hartford. Definitely not the trajectory of life I had initially planned for.

After accruing interest rates on my student loans as well as picking up all kinds of bills (electricity, gas and internet) that I had not paid for in full prior to living on my own (due to the leisure of having a roommate) I quietly died inside. I didn’t know what I was going to do as I thought getting another job to help pay off the debt might have been necessary.

Eventually, I stopped beating myself up for my financial struggles. I told myself that I needed to realize that I lived in America and the institution of the society at its core was built to keep masses of people in debt. Once I made peace with the matter, months went by and days got easier to manage the stress load.

Every morning as I would drive to work I began praying for God to watch over me. If I needed to fill up my gas for travel, I’d do so the moment I got payed. If I needed to shop for groceries, I’d buy them immediately as it was impossible to do so between checks. The rent itself was always payed a few days late. But most importantly, each time I’d walk to my car I would pray, “God, every day is a game 7 please make sure that nothing happens to me and that I can make it back home in one peace not having to worry about an accident or getting hurt on the job or in the streets.” So far, I feel as if he’s answered my prayers and, in the meantime, the best way to repay him is to show that I’m responsible enough to face my issue of debt head on. In the end, when it’s all said and done, it’s going to be me that will crush the debt I’ve amassed. No one else.

I wrote this post to help those in need of being real with themselves. So many times, we find ourselves being superficial on social media and in public. For some reason we’re not saying what’s really hurting us. Now, I don’t think everyone’s dilemmas will disappear through honesty but by acknowledging them, we will open ourselves up to shaping our futures into whatever it is that our hearts desire. If you are in debt at this current point in time it’s okay. Just be sure to make a financial plan and do whatever it takes to extinguish it at your own pace. Whether with or without a Master’s degree.

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of mercy for murder(s) in brooklyn, a detective fiction novel. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He currently teaches 7th & 8th grade English Language Arts in Hartford, Connecticut and is the author of the poetry collection “Life Comes From Concrete”: a poetry memoir (2016).

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek

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