I’ve often thought it’s a dog’s life, and used to think it was a banker’s life, too. Since I don’t have a photo of either a dog or a banker, but I do have this one I took of a gull, it will have to do. Today I passed a bank I used to bank with, whose culture I despise. Take as much as you can, make the client feel like a jerk. Bully Power. They’re an old boys’ club institution and happily fork out for men who were at the right schools.
I didn’t quite fit in. Anyway, I did it without them, but all the money I earned went through them, so they had records of my achievements. But staff were always horrid to me, unfriendly, unhelpful. Well, after three years of being pretty successful, I bought land for the first time in my life. It was very exciting. My overheads skyrocketed, but I believed I could afford it. It wasn’t huge money in the grander scheme of things but it was for me.
Then my business hit the skids. Bad timing. The bank begrudgingly allowed me a bit of credit. My bad, I used it. I didn’t have a clue my business was dying a quick death. By the time I did, my monthly mortgage and overdraft payments were terrifying. I had no money coming in. I thought of a new business, to open an art gallery.
My plan was solid, I didn’t need operating capital, I found a gorgeous venue where the management promised me 6 months rent free. All I wanted the bank to do was to give me a moratorium so that I could get my business going, and pay them back in full. I’d already proved to them I could build something from nothing.
They disdainfully showed me the middle finger. I begged them to give me a chance. They handed me over to their legal buggers. From then on it was breakfast lunch and dinner with the sharks. I got harassed mercilessly and didn’t have the skills or inner strength to deal with it. I was treated like a criminal.
It wasn’t much fun. I held it together for almost a year, despite that the venue management reneged on their rent deal and all sorts of other grim and ghastly things happened. But in the end I folded, and eventually lost everything, and they lost their money.
Serve them bloody right. Of course I don’t bank with them any more. I didn’t used to be able to even think about this without being consumed with rage and hurt and a sense of utter, debilitating powerlessness. But as I walked past them today I realized – I’m bloody over it! It’s taken me eight years to recover and rebuild myself on the inside but holy guacamole* I’ve done it and deep within me I feel a security I’ve never known throughout my whole life.
Best of all, I haven’t just recovered from that crisis, I’ve recovered what I lost as a child, and that feels priceless to me. I don’t regret any of it, because of what I’ve gained. It’s true, your worst enemies sometimes end up being your biggest gift. It doesn’t mean you ever have to like them, though. Well, I don’t and I’ll never deal with them again.
But I don’t desire or need to punish anybody any more. I don’t want revenge or justice. Because I’ve got my life back, bigger and better than before. It’s a nice feeling.
* holy guacamole – I have to acknowledge this isn’t mine. I first heard it from Gregory Lewis. Find him on FaceBook or Search.com