My therapist at the time used to say "so what?" "will the world come to an end if your business fails?" I thought yes, very much so, my world would collapse. I'd borrowed heavily to buy the business off my former employer, the interest which was based on the LIBOR system was crippling me and I'd been unable to renew essential stocks for months.
I'd spent twenty years working in the same place, climbing the ladder from tea boy/filing clerk through management and into a directors role. I then became the owner. All signs were that I would do well, my accountant even worrying that I would make too much money. At first all went well.. Then the banking crisis and global recession hit hard. On October 13th last year I closed the doors and ceased trading.
I was devastated. It did feel as if my world had indeed collapsed. I felt shame, guilt, remorse and anger. I floated through meetings with insolvency practitioners and creditors, I met with old friends who told me I'd had no chance with the state of the economy and the fact my staff had turned against me. The cutbacks I'd had to make were not popular. I hated making them but they were the only way I could think to save money. My ex employer was also in the background having decided he didn't like retirement. Three months after I'd closed the doors he bought the business assets for a fraction of their true value and is now back at the helm, with most of my ex employees working for him...
Que sera sera... I survived that too. The therapist was right... My world changed but did not collapse. In truth, having the pressures of business removed allowed me to concentrate on myself for the first time in decades. I published my debut book in March this year and whilst it isn't a best seller I am proud of it. Very proud of it.
Life has become much harder. Employment is still something that eludes me. My family and I have made many sacrifices this last year. During the eight months before I had to close my business and the months since I have also been trying to deal with the memories of abuse that still surprise me now and then.
At the moment much is at stake. Nobody seems to want to employ an ex employer. I have learnt many skills over the last twenty five years. Before last year I'd not spent more than a few weeks unemployed since leaving University. I've so much to give but it seems I am fighting an impossible fight.
The Internet has become a lifeline in so many ways. It's allowed me to not only share my own experiences but also to learn from other peoples. It's allowed me to bare my inner self, to hopefully show that there is no shame in saying "I'm a MALE survivor of childhood sexual abuse & adult rape" I've "met" some pretty awesome and amazing people this last year or so. I've grown as a person and have also been deeply moved and humbled by the stories and kindness of others. Thank you for that.
The future is again a scary place. I doubt I can continue to maintain an online presence after December. The money is simply not going to be there. I'm trying to get my second book into some semblance of sense but am struggling because of the intensity of emotions writing it presents. Again I'm told "so what" etc etc. ok... I survived the collapse of my business but now will soon face the collapse of everything else. That really scares the pants off me.
I'm a fighter, a survivor. I've lived through several layers of hell and come out fighting. Then though I wax fighting just for myself. Now I have a family to consider too and I again feel shame, guilt and a huge sense of failure because I will be letting them down. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope that my tomorrow brings gainful and paid employment.
If you're still reading then I thank you. I hope this doesn't come across as self pity because that is certainly not my aim. On top of everything else I don't want to let you, my readers, down either. I'm doing something I enjoy, I'm apparently helping others. I wanted to work with people after I left school but my father wanted me to follow his footsteps into engineering. I hate machines... They have no feeling, no "soul". I'm told I have a heightened sense of empathy, great if working with people but useless when working with machines or metal....
I've no idea what life has in store for me, I can only cling onto the one thing that has always got me through... HOPE.