A few months ago, I received a voice mail from a 1-800 number. The man in the voice mail said to call him right back as it was urgent; however, it was 7PM by that time so I decided the phone call could wait until the next day. That night, curiosity killed the cat and I decided to google the number. The result pulled up and emblazoned across the entirety of the first page was-
For those of you who don’t recognize the name, it’s an apparently super aggressive debt collection agency. I immediately started to freak the fuck out. As most people do these days, I have some debt- but nothing out of the ordinary and I never miss payments. Typically, when I encounter what I call “first adult moments” like these, I have a wonderful support system of friends and family that I rush to for advice. However, as I was just about to text my best friend, something inside me stopped me from going through with it. Money and financial discretion/ privacy had torn apart another relationship of mine in the past and I realized that no matter how much I trusted the people I love in my life, I couldn’t be sure that there would be no judgement on their end- now or in the future. (It’s my hope that one day we can talk as freely about money as we do about Sex, STIs, and soon- mental health, thereby eliminating the last taboo. But, I digress.)
So I didn’t text anyone and I sat, quite literally, for a good half hour paralyzed by fear. I decided I wasn’t going to call the number back because if I ignore it- it’ll go away… right?
Worst case scenarios ran through my head and my heart sank into my stomach with each minute that passed. There was even a brief, VERY BRIEF, moment in which I thought- well, I can see why people would end their lives over debilitating debt.
Whoa. With that, my brain screeched to a halt and I snapped myself out of it. I knew I couldn’t handle this emotionally alone. Putting my pride to the side, I reached out to my sister and together we talked it through. She offered to meet up the next evening to chat it through before I called them back as they are, according to google, notoriously mean, nasty, and aggressive.
Feeling a little more settled, I decided to do some meditation & journaling to get grounded. Coming out of my self care practice, I realized, as cheesy as it sounds, that I can handle anything that comes at me. In this case, worst comes to worst- I would make lifestyle adjustments, postpone plans, negotiate a reasonable payment plan. It wasn’t the end of the world. Feeling confident, I decided to contact them on my own the next morning.
This whole experience reminded me of a phrase in one of yoga’s famous books- The Gita:
He who seeth inaction in action and action in inaction, he is wise among men.
We falsely convince ourselves that taking no action allows us to sit back and play the role of the victim. In reality, there is action in inaction. By consciously doing nothing we are effectively doing something and we have to accept the consequences all the same. Whether the consequences are as extreme as facing a disgusting amount of debt to pay back or something as simple as not getting what we want out of a relationship, we’ve made our bed by doing nothing and we will have to lie in it.
As for Collect Corp? The next day I called them back and after a bit of phone tag, was finally connected with the man who called me originally. The first question he asked me after I confirmed my name was whether or not I was born in February. I said no, to which he responded:
Sorry! Wrong person.
Yup. So that happened.