Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Cleaning Phase Two: Restructuring

If you have participated in Spring Cleaning Phase One: The Purge, you have no doubt freed yourself from negative people. You should notice that you are involved in less dramatic confrontations, passive aggressive attacks, and your environment is generally less negative. You may also notice that those whom were banished from your palace have attempted to recruit others to stand against you. Misery loves company. If this is in fact taking place, sit back and let it happen. One of my favorite movies is Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchette. There was a scene where she was presented with evidence of eminent treason, had certain people merely signed the incriminating document. Her response, "Let them sign it. And let it all be done." Needless to say, those who committed the treason ultimately met their demise. I am not encouraging merciless ruthlessness. I am suggesting that if your friends and acquaintances are easily converted by your enemies, let them go. They have in effect, purged themselves.

So, what does that leave you? You may have fully surrounded yourself with worthless derelicts. Purging them all has now left you feeling a little empty and alone. Fear not, for you are merely accustomed to living in a toxic environment. Once you build a nurturing environment for yourself, you will become pleasantly accustomed to being happy.


As with all plans, you must start with a strong foundation or idea. You are ground zero. If you are weak-minded and open to destructive elements, that is exactly the type of environment in which you will live. My best friend of 19 years has a catchphrase she has uttered since the day we met.

"Do not mess with my food, my money, or my sleep."

I always found the list to be comical. What of your family? What of your friends? In asking those questions, I discovered the secret to her success and the reasons for my failures. I was taught that family, friends and loyalty are everything. I soon learned, I couldn't feed myself or pay my bills with people. In fact, those people would likely keep me up at night and cause me to inadvertently negatively impact my own ability to acquire food and money. Let's apply her catchphrase to the logic of restructuring your personal life.


First thing's first, How do your provide for yourself? How do you keep food in your mouth, a roof over your head? Is it welfare, loans, theft? If the answer is anything other than employment, you need to shift your focus here. Why are you on welfare? What are you doing with your 48-60 months of cash aid? Are you lying and concealing information to maintain eligibility? Are you not bothering to seek and maintain gainful employment because it's easier to sit home and collect a check and wait for food stamps? Why? Why is this way of life good enough for you or your family? Why is the idea of working for a living and not having to answer to anyone or lie to maintain eligibility not more alluring than the opposite?

What of those whom are not on welfare? Is pride preventing you from providing for yourself? When it comes to providing the basic necessities for yourself or your family, no job is too small for you. Of course, there are limitations. If your entire paycheck goes to childcare, then that doesn't make economic sense now does it? 

Let's talk child support. So many women beat their chests and wax poetic about not needing a man for anything. Men won't file child support against the mother because of the belief that it makes them less of a man to take money from a woman. Let me pose the following question to these people: Do you file taxes every year? The answer is "yes". The reason is that people want and need the money that the government took from them, which they are indeed entitled to have refunded. So, why would these parents not want to act with the same logic when it comes to claiming their child's child support? This is not about your ego or relationship. This is about the quality of life your child deserves. The same is true of back child support. Many parents get away with not paying their share by waiting out the child's 18th birthday. But did you know, you have the legal right to sue for back child support, even after the child is 18 years old? If the parent passes away, having a court judgment will entitle you to funds from the estate. These funds could help with college, the first apartment, the first grandchild.

What about your bills? Add them up, if they total more than your rent, you need to make some immediate changes. If you receive subsidized rent, calculate this by using the amount of rent you would be paying if you weren't receiving public assistance. Your debt should not exceed 1/3 of your income.

By restructuring the way you provide the necessities in your life, you will find it difficult to remain in your current state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.


On the surface, it may seem like this is the same as "food". For the purposes of this post, "food" refers to your necessities. "Money" refers to your financial goals. What type of career did you want to have before the existence of the catalyst that changed your life? What style of life, comforts did you aspire to have? If you envisioned living in a two-story house with a baby grand piano in the family room, start envisioning what it will take to get there. Goals are not achieved by merely daydreaming. The daydreaming is almost literally the brainstorming of your goals. At some point you have to map out a plan.

You need decent credit to purchase a home. If you have focused on securing your necessities, then you are gainfully employed. Now you need to calculate the necessary amount of income to improve your credit. Focus on small debts first. These are the debts that can be paid off in one to two payments. Do not freak out when your tax returns have been claimed for a debt. This means the debt has been paid. Don't let the debtor off of the hook either. If a debtor has taken your tax returns, demand in writing an immediate update of your credit report. Demand a receipt for payment and verification that the debt has been cleared.

Once you have tackled your credit, calculate the amount of money needed to purchase a typical home that you imagined. How much is a baby grand piano? How much is the furniture that you would place in that home? Start saving aggressively to meet your deadline. If you aren't willing to sacrifice or to put in the necessary amount of work to achieve your goals, then you need to choose new goals.


What keeps you up at night? Is it your health, your relationships, your bills? Tackle it immediately. Don't become a passenger on your own plane. Be aggressive with your health. Excuses for why your health is not under control amounts to a shorter life span. Make plans, seek medical assistance through your insurance carrier (that is why they're paid), make active changes. Failure is not an option. You have one life and one body. The same is true of mental health. What others think of your spiritual or mental health beliefs is irrelevant. You live alone inside your own mind. They have no say, therefore, what they say should have no impact on your quest to improve your mental health.

Sometimes, what keeps you up at night are your relationships. So many conflicts can be resolved with simple communication. I have a family member that violated my confidence and told another family member something she shouldn't have. She told some truths but she also told many lies. She created conflict within the family through Facebook. Things got even more out of hand when she attempted to recruit my sister to turn against me. When that didn't work, she got angry and began a tirade against me. When I confronted her, she denied being mad at all before subsequently deleting me from Facebook. This was the immature way to resolve issues. The proper way to deal with her anger was to take advantage of the fact that I came to her in the first place, and to tell me how I upset her. I am a reasonable person. I would have made any necessary changes to maintain that bond we had that was so newly formed. But alas, I am unforgiving. Her opportunity to declare a mea culpa, or to reach a resolution with me has passed. She has proven to be dishonest and untrustworthy and therefore, she is barred from re-entering my life.

Twenty years ago, I would have lost sleep over the situation I just described. I would have lamented the loss of the relationship. I would have felt like a failure for not being able to maintain that bond. I have since matured, and I am now wise enough to know, not everyone deserves a place in your life. Being a related to someone does not entitle them to be a part of your life.

There are many changes one can make to improve their quality of life. Try not to make them all at once. I would advise securing your "food" before all else. Perhaps jumping ahead to securing your "sleep" may be more practical as upsetting relationships can impede your progress. This is also why this Spring Cleaning Series begins with The Purge. Build a stronger, healthier, happier self so that you may "live long and prosper."

The Red Housewife is available to answer reader questions on Twitter @theredhousewife and through email

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