There are many times when I am wont to say “I did not know that” … take that awesome song from Neil Diamond “Cracklin Rosie” (always been one of my faves and not just because my name is Rosie ). A couple of weeks ago I found out that this song is not about a woman but a wine … apparently Diamond heard a story about a native Canadian tribe where there were more men than women, and the men sans the fairer sex would sit around the camp fire cradling their wine. This is from Wikipedia which also goes on to say that perhaps the Rosie is a play on rosé (okay, Wikipedia says that’s a misspelling … but I don’t buy into that interpretation, what with my utter faith in music God Mr Diamond knowing exactly what he’s doing ). I guess I can still look on the bright side though … the song can still be my theme song – perhaps I am like a bottle of wine – simply getting better with age . I will be celebrating my umpteenth 21st this month – oh, so does it still count? I might have to snuggle with a glass of wine to ponder the conundrum .
But the whole point of bringing it up is that no matter how old we get we can always have our assumptions and beliefs challenged.
Take my reading for Criminal Law this week (6 substantial chapters of a book written in the tiniest font they could possibly get away with … but I digress ) – it was certainly an eye opener for me. It’s hard for me to explain the nuanced difference between what I believed the law was in relation to corporations being charged with a crime, what I had been told by a couple of lawyers and what this book explained as the current state of affairs in relation to corporations found to be breaking the law. As far as research topics go this one sounds really promising as well – especially in light of the calls for a Royal Commission into banks and their unscrupulous activities (okay, criminal activities – they are all guilty of crimes).
The more I learn about the law and how it is meant to operate, how the courts have ruled in the (not so distant) past and how things are going now in bank fraud cases (where the bank employees have committed the fraud and the banks are taking their customers to court to pay the ultimate price) the more depressed I get. To say I have days when my readings/lectures/tutorials trigger unwanted emotional responses is an understatement. The more I learn, the angrier I get about how the system was used against us so that we could not possibly win even though the law was actually on our side. We had law and equity to draw on … and got screwed over by lord knows what.
When I first thought about starting this degree I didn’t consider becoming a lawyer and dealing with the banks on behalf of people like me. This has not changed, rather, I am more convinced than ever that I would not be an exceptional advocate for people like me. I fear I would hamper their case as my ‘issues’ cloud my judgment and my emotions run riot (I have visions of slapping my learned friend when s/he implies my client is a master criminal who had intended to defraud the bank, or smugly says “caveat emptor” … I take it you get the drift ).
While I want to research this whole shemozzle and be a part of the change that needs to happen, I don’t’ see me making a good living out of that – and because of what happened to us I have become a convert to the “show me the money” philosophy of career choice. So right now I’m thinking specializing in mining law with all the other laws that come into it (you know, environment, employment & corporate law) but hey, I haven’t even finished my first year yet so plenty of time to figure out where I want to be … right?
Anyway … my head is fried and I still have readings to do before heading off to tomorrow’s lectures and tutes so I’ll leave you with my favourite song about wine …
and don’t forget – take care out there in Banksterland
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to prove things on my case – what with the police (Federal and State) not being interested. And one of the things I’ve been looking at is just how much information is actually online for various people. Maybe some of this is to do with the digital footprint I had to write so many essays about for my degree. Maybe a lot of it is to do with just how much real information is online about any individual at all.
My thinking goes along these lines – X did y and the result was it f*%k*d A – so is there any real information on X online that would expose the activities that f*%*d A?
I found some court cases that involved one of the significant players in my case – so might post links to these one day (when I get enough info – although legally I could post links to this today without triggering that particular dickhead’s proclivity to suing for defamation [you know who you are and you should be terrified of my particular form of elephantitis (elephants never forget) – in this case my memory which remembers what you did you prick)].
Anyway, as part of that endeavour I’ve been using details of friends where I know enough about them to at least identify that I have the right person …
And the results have been scary.
zoominfo have been helpful – seriously, they even know when some people have threatened defamation suits! (that’s a different prick I’m looking at hahaha … apologies for the language but if I were to refer to him once again as ‘that big fat prick’ then lots of people would identify the who and well … former lawyers can be so pedantic about frivolous law suits it doesn’t bear thinking about) .
Of-course when you put just any old name into the old Google search engine it doesn’t really work all that well. I use google .com as opposed to the regional variant (something about getting global search results as opposed to a limited geographical one ) – so some searches turn up zero results within specific domain names (Spokeo comes to mind which yielded spot on results for someone I knew who lived in the States but the closest matches to others weren’t what I needed). I guess I can forget about a new career as a modern female version of Magnum PI then? muahahahahaha
Using google.com as opposed to the regional version has been interesting to say the least – throwing in ex-pats names does bring up results although knowing as many details as I do about some of the individuals I can pretty much say that even though I can access the full information for as little as 95 cents USD, that really isn’t enticing me to buy into it. While it is disconcerting that for as little as $1USD I could get all the information on anyone I care to know more about … somehow it seems far too stalkerish to actually follow through – and it doesn’t matter that perhaps this could prove that the information online about specific individuals is legit …
But as always this post gets back to the legal things … every now and then (especially now with the whole how we lost the farm thing firmly in my mind) I consider what else I can do to expose this cover up (that’s how I see this – a whole lot of ‘making it go away’ and hiding the evidence). The thing that always sticks out is the legal system which is the body of law on one side and procedure on the other – and you have to pussyfoot your way around both to even be heard! Far too many people I know have been buried by the procedure bit for me to ever buy into the fairness of the legal system.
How can it be fair that someone who has a legitimate case against a corporation can lose everything just because their legal counsel decided not to put the evidence in for a Summary Judgment hearing? How is it fair that someone who paid a supposed professional gets screwed at the starting gates because their legal counsel decided not to submit the actual evidence that was presented in an affidavit? Yes, you can sue your lawyer – but who has the energy after being screwed over and losing everything in the first place? Do you have any idea about how convoluted and frustrating the legal system really is? If you think that ‘well, they lost everything in court so they were wrong’ – then you don’t understand what really goes on in a system that is as much about following procedure and making sure all the evidence is in right from the beginning as it is about the law.
It’s all a bit frustrating.
And I’d like to apologise to all the people I know around the world whose names I’ve been googling just to see what kind of information is reliable online … I wasn’t really looking at you per se, rather, I was trying to validate search results … and sadly that has been very interesting (and no, not a single person has shown up on ‘don’t date that guy/gal’ or anything else untoward bahahahaha )
Today’s song is the stalker’s anthem … Every Breath You Take … because well, sometimes obsession isn’t always about love hahahaha
Today is the fifth anniversary of the day my old life officially ended. So this might seem like a bit of a downer for you if you’re following my path – sometimes despite truth and the law being on your side, it doesn’t always translate into the knight in shining armour rushing in at the last minute to save you. The law certainly let me down, just as it has let down countless others. Banks on the other hand have their champion well sorted.
It’s not often these days that I get bummed out to the max (as we once used to say – no idea what we say these days) but today is one of those days. I had a strategy to not arrive at the point where I am right now – that feeling of being so lost, rudderless, without purpose. Although I am working a plan and I am even slightly ahead on the plan – today it really doesn’t seem like enough. As you can tell, my strategy did not work … here I am trying to resist the temptation to go out and buy a veritable tonne of chocolate and litres of wine to drown my sorrows.
Talk about feeling silly … I’m sitting here feeling like a prize goose because I am in such a dark mood today. I wonder how things would be today if we had had a better outcome. Would I be happy? Or would it all still have gone pear shaped because it was all destiny and I was supposed to leave Boddington and go back to uni to finally get my degree? Although technically I could have done that on the farm – I know damned well I wouldn’t have. There would have been too many other jobs to do, too many things to juggle. I would never, ever have considered studying law (and I’m rather enjoying it in a masochistic kind of way ).
When things were really bleak and the bulk of the emotional damage inflicted I made some plans, plans that ended up being set aside because of the legal fight we were going to have. And on this day every year I wonder what could have been if I’d done things differently.
It’s a perfect waste of time of-course, all of that wondering if I made a mistake and should have done x rather than y. I’m not even sure if this classifies as regret or if it’s just curiosity as to who I might be today if I’d done something different.
And I guess that’s the reason for this particular post; because I’m pretty sure my reaction to today is perfectly normal, that everybody who has had any kind of a life changing experience finds themselves wondering how things would be today if only they’d done something different at a critical point in the distant past. If only they had chosen this instead of that then their life would be perfect today, all their dreams would have been fulfilled.
Which is a load of poppycock if you ask me ….
On the bright side, I’m still alive, managed to keep most of my friendships intact, have completed one degree and am enjoying having to work for the law degree. While I still haven’t got my shit together and am therefore not ecstatically happy, I am doing okay. All things considered it could be worse, and I am grateful that it isn’t.
… and while the song I’ve picked for today could be construed to be regret about my man – erm, nope, dedicated to the bank – ‘cos I was never loved by them …
Stay safe, stay sane and take care out there in Banksterland
I’ve been banging on about existing laws a bit and as an American friend once pointed out to me, Australia has some really weird laws. So this is going to be a bit of a light-hearted look at odd laws we may not even know exist. That said, Australia is not the only country with laws that make you go “Huh?” so I might take a bit of a gander at weird and wonderful laws found around the world.
Try these laws from Oz: Considering the (young) Australian male’s ritualistic behaviour on any given week-end (possibly starting on a Thursday night and going through to Wednesday midnight ) it amazes me that it is actually illegal to be drunk in a pub (this attracts a fine of $500). The wearing of hot pink pants is illegal after midday on a Sunday (some might argue that this should be illegal at all times hehe). Unbelievably, you cannot dress up as Robin or Batman (so this is a relatively recent law – and definitely raises the eyebrows far more than could be physically possible!). And just like suicide is against the law, touching electric wires that cause death instantly attracts a fine of $200 – the mind boggles! It is also somewhat disconcerting to discover that I have been breaking the law on a regular basis for years – since only licensed electricians may change a light bulb! Try getting a licenced electrician for anything and you’re waiting a long time – so unless they want us all to sit around in the dark I don’t think they’ll be prosecuting anyone for that offence any time soon haha.
America may be the land of the free, but some laws make me have a rethink of the use of the word ‘free’ – like this beauty from Minnesota where apparently it is illegal to sleep naked . So the anti-nudity police break into your house at night to make sure you’re following the rules? Hahaha, yup, the mind boggles. Still in Minnesota all men riding motorbikes must wear shirts – I’m guessing it’s therefore okay for women to ride bare-chested? . In Montana it’s a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail; although this is one of those ones that I entirely agree with why single out the wife? I must find the wording of it … I’m sure it would just ‘include’ the wife? – and ‘felony’ might be a bit rough, especially in light of the 3 strikes you’re out thingy!
In Nebraska it is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup. And I do love this one … in Lehigh it’s illegal to sell donut holes …. huh? Then in Nevada – I really have to find out if this one is true because my best friend’s son lives in Elko where everyone walking the streets is required to wear a mask. (hmmm, methinks someone is yanking my chain surely this can’t be right?). I also know a few people who need to stay away from New Jersey where it is illegal to slurp soup!
I probably shouldn’t have started with the letter m, it’s just the first law I saw on Google happened to be the sleeping naked one (that one really fascinates me LOL) – so let’s cruise to Alabama where it is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church. But at least these ‘laws’ are pretty tame, let’s get serious and head to North Korea – where it’s pretty rough to say the least.
Apparently in NK it is illegal to watch television other than the state owned propaganda channel and according to this video published last month, in the last two years NK has publicly executed around 130 people for watching South Korean TV … yikes . Now that’s what I call depressing – so I’ll try to find some more funny laws (that aren’t actually enforced).
In sunny England it is considered treason to place a postage stamp that bears the Queen (or King) upside down … and you can only shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside the city walls and after midnight (I have a sneaky suspicion that that one is a bit old haha – but it is still on the books). Not to be left out of the legal shenanigans I must make mention of the fact that in Germany a pillow can be considered a passive weapon – so watch those pillow fights lest ye land in jail
I probably should have put this disclaimer at the top – I’ve only verified a couple of these laws (the Aussie ones are surprisingly real but some of the other country’s I haven’t looked at closely). I’ve added the links to my sources for your entertainment . And to wrap things up on a fun note, here’s a couple of songs that might tie in – sort of .
meanwhile … take care out there in Banksterland
So I’ve been banging on about a group of people who convince real victims of bank fraud to fight the banks in court with pseudo law. You know, the argument that you don’t have to pay your loan back because the bank created the money out of thin air so it’s not like it’s real or anything . Let the bank prove in court that you owe them money and they can’t.
What I find really frustrating about the argument is that while it is right (hey, the banks did create the money out of thin air, it’s not like it really does exist in physical form) there is also the fact that money, the law and everything else that’s an idea in a civilized world is a construct. While we do have physical money it is only legal tender in certain circumstances, and that’s where the idea of the construct comes in.
The laws that govern us are also a construct, an idea that helps us live together in a relatively peaceful and positive way. The idea that killing another human being is ‘against the law’ is just that, an idea, mind you it’s a great idea if you believe in the protection of human beings. I’m not sure prehistoric man had that ‘law’, I have a feeling that perhaps things simply boiled down to if you hurt mine I’ll hurt you right back. There are still family feuds that go back generations where the fighting continues despite no-one really remembering what started it all in the first place. But the law aims to stop random killing by giving consequences.
There are also consequences if fraud is committed. Sadly for bank customers, banks generally only push the fraud angle when their employees defraud the banks themselves – they are not so keen on pursuing employees who defraud customers. This is despite the fact that it is against the law to do so (erm, defraud a customer – not the report the employee bit haha ). A second problem bank customers face is that there is a general attitude in the wider community that banks do not simply allow their employees to engage in fraud that results in the financial destruction of their own valued customers. Not only is there a law against it, but there is a whole system in place to protect customers from the rare bad apple.
This is where the term black swan event arises in my mind. The term relates to the idea that pre discovery of the black swan in Western Australia it was a widely held belief that there is no such thing as a black swan. All swans are white – that’s what everybody knew – until of-course the first reports of black swans existing despite all previous evidence to the contrary. Can you imagine the uncertainty that caused? Many people must have thought that these explorers were just making it up – yanking their chain. The fact was that all swans ‘were’ white and anyone who said different might not have been telling the truth. It is because of this that unexpected and unplanned for events that change everything are called black swan events – because they change how we see the world. The 911 attack is considered a black swan event because no-one could have predicted it.
For businesses black swan events can be devastating – remember the fall-out from 911? How could any business have considered the consequences in their risk management planning? And so it is with this bank fraud which in my personal life ended up being my own black swan event. With all of the planning I have done in managing our financial affairs for our business the one thing I couldn’t plan for was that the biggest risk I faced was from my bank – I had all the law and this whole system to protect the financial side of the business. This was a blanket guarantee that I now understand to be non-existent. Without rehashing the sad and sorry events of 2006 and their dire consequences in 2010, there was no way to protect our business against the black swan event that destroyed us.
I was talking to one of the people who contacted me through this blog and we managed to laugh at the ruling she received from FOS. Yes, the bank had done the wrong thing but she had to wear 50% of the blame because she did nothing to protect herself from the bank! How could she have known that she needed to protect herself from the bank? No-one seriously discusses how this fraud works – no-one seriously says that bank employees have changed financial information to make a non-viable loan application go through. No-one talks about fraud within the banks, no-one talks about forged signatures or unconscionable conduct, never mind misleading or deceptive conduct.
It will require a lot more research and understanding of legal procedure before I will understand how the banks get away with fraud on such a large scale. There is such a large element of wilful blindness on behalf of the courts and the government that they continue to deny that this is a real problem. The fact that predatory lending is not technically against the law in most states is mind-blowing. The fact that banks can get away with not producing documents in court despite being subpoenaed to to so is disgusting. But try telling the government that the laws have to be tweaked and customers compensated for their losses … the response is invariably that the banks do nothing wrong.
The government must wear the ultimate responsibility for failing to protect bank customers from their own (trusted) banks, to continue to pretend there is no problem is nothing less than wilful blindness. The combination of denial by the government that there is a problem, reliance by the courts on the honesty and integrity of the banks in producing documents and acting in good faith, and the disingenuous way the media continues to portray victims of this bank fraud as merely careless individuals whose own greed lead to their financial downfall continues to support the banks in their actions.
So far everything we (a collective of customers affected by bank fraud) have tried to do to reign in the banks and stop these rorts has failed. Despite massive evidence that signatures were forged, that banks have had an employee working with criminal gangs in mortgage fraud of $110 million (see also here ) and that bank customers are taken to court (despite the financial information used to approve the loans being fabricated by employees rather than the customer) – all of this and still no Royal Commission. All of this and still no news reports of the jailing of a bank employee, all of this and still no tightening/review of banking law.
The banks are allowed to continue to monitor their own actions, rule against customers in disputes and con the courts into handing Summary Judgment in their favour because they don’t act in good faith and they certainly lie to the court about the circumstances surrounding their claim.
I guess of all of the ideas we have in modern society the one that is most destructive to truth and justice is money – because money talks and justice is bought. But I’m not really cynical, no, not me … .
But just so that I don’t end on a negative note it should be remembered that not all judgments go in favour of the banks. That when you have evidence that the bank did the wrong thing and you, the customer, acted in good faith all along the way you can have a win (admittedly this is pretty rare atm). You might have to appeal the decision but you know a few people have put wins on the board through the appeals process. Or you could still sue the bank for damages after the event – as long as you have all of the evidence that the loan was unaffordable and the bank failed to act as a ‘due and diligent banker’. (Okay, a bit more complicated than that, but hey, this is just to give you a bit of a lift – the law isn’t all bad … use it wisely).
… don’t forget to take care out there in Banksterland
I’ve written a few posts but ended up not publishing them – it’s difficult to explain the difference between ‘real law’ and ‘pseudo law’ in a few hundred words. And of-course language is at the heart of it all – and those who push the pseudo law, well, they sound so convincing. It all sounds so great, and logical and it makes sense. The use of the right number of legal words just makes it sound like real legalese. The problem though, is that while it sounds pretty wise and like the smart way to fight a bank in court there isn’t a judge here who will give a win to anyone using these arguments.
And here a few people will throw up their hands, call me ignorant and continue to plan their attack on the banks using these laws that our dumb judges have forgotten about or ignore. Me, hey, I’ve finished my case against the bank, we did have a sort.of.win and I could walk away from this and hold my head high.
Only thing is I can’t actually walk away, not while there are people with really good cases against their financial service provider who might lose only because they have trusted someone who speaks knowledgeably about the law and all the real law that is ignored. And the only reason these people get caught up with pseudo law is because they can’t afford a lawyer to help them fight the banks because the banks have drained all their funds so they can’t afford to fight back. It’s tough enough having to self-represent without a bunch of people coming forward with legal loopholes that don’t exist.
We have a lot of problems with bank fraud in Australia (you know, where banks defraud customers) – but we can’t fight it using non-existent laws. We have to use the existing laws because that’s all we have. And while once upon a time I thought all judges were idiots or crooks owned by the banks I have changed my mind on that one.
The more cases I read and the more I understand how the law operates, the more convinced I am that the problem right now lies squarely with the legislative arm of our system of law. The politicians who refuse to support calls for a Royal Commission into banks and the fraud they continue to perpetrate. The wilful blindness that stops them from amending the Banking Act 1959 to set out in clear language that banks cannot commit fraud and cover it up as they have done since bank deregulation.
One of the things that really annoys me is that banking is a federal issue according to the Constitution, yet there is no way for bank customers to be able to get a fraud claim against a bank investigated and there are no criminal charges against bank employees. You will note that brokers who fraudulently change loan application forms have been charged and jailed – so why not bank employees when they do the same crime?
And why do customers pay the ultimate price when the person behind the fraud was an employee of the bank? It seems to me that there is a lot of wilful blindness surrounding banks and their activities.
Here is the link* to the essay I wrote for my Contracts unit – I lost points for being a tad emotive (hahaha – oh yes, I knew it’d be a problem) and because it was meant to be on Good Faith I also lost some points because some of the cases weren’t fought on issues of good faith (but illustrated perfectly the bad faith displayed by financial institutions). We won’t mention the points I lost for not getting the referencing right (but I think this particular form of referencing probably requires a whole unit to learn – sheesh it’s complex LOL). Not my best work but it does show why we need to have an Australia wide Contracts Review Act similar to that of NSW – because bank customers there at least have half a hope in hell of getting a win (it does, however, remain a problem).
There is also a small issue with the facts in one case (Kay) – this is because for legal writing we have to relate everything back to what the court ruled on – and I know a lot of the evidence of the Kay case was different to some of the information in the case, I added the references to the Today Tonight story to make sure the important stuff made it into the article. From personal experience I know that the ‘facts’ as related in court often bear little resemblance to actual facts backed up with documented evidence. I wanted to use other cases as well but these were so distorted by the court process that it would have taken the word limit to explain what actually happened rather than what the judges were told. It’s one of those things that puts all of us behind the eight ball … and unless we start to address the real issues precedent will remain in favour of the banks.
To read the PDF version click here.
* I’ve removed the essay itself because well, I’m a bit shy with that one hahaha … and who the heck wants to read it anyway? But it is still available online :)
So here’s a song instead – I do prefer ending my posts with a bit of fun – life’s too short and all that. It is a bit embarrassing to know that a bird can dance better than I can hahaha
Tomorrow it’s back to the study grindstone in earnest … meanwhile do yourself a favour – take care out there in banksterland ;)
Another one bites the dust …
This year I’ve decided to not indulge in the usual “New Year, new me” bulldust … I’m just gonna keep plodding on and hopefully getting more things right than wrong. No extensive list of New Year’s resolutions that will bite the dust by next Monday. No unrealistic expectations of finally getting the fitness and healthy eating routine sorted* – I hereby declare myself an unapologetic chocoholic with a penchant for strawberry bubbly (must be Katlenburger … to wash down the milk Lindt chocolate haha). I suppose I will try to remember that I do have a backyard when the next full semester starts but I make no promises at this stage.
And while I seem to remember doing a similar post last New Year’s day … in the darkness of my soul I honestly did think I’d have a go all the same … you know, change the bad habits and suddenly, magically be happy. We all know it’s a crock but there you go … hopefully my resolution not to make a resolution will resolutely last until past 6pm tonight!
Anyway – here’s a couple of songs to finally get rid of 2014, may the new year bring you peace, happiness, joy and keep you safely out of the banksters hands
While I enjoy the last days sans study – do yourself a favour – take care out there in Banksterland
* I have visions of being super fit once more and back to my obsessive healthy eating regime … then I remember how much it all sucked even back then and I get a bit gun shy hahaha
Here’s to a Merry Christmas to all … letter to Santa went off on time, gingerbread house was baked and decorated, tree put up early. Forgetting the earlier turkey disaster and not mentioning the duck kerfuffle … we are having a great time woohoo.
I believe …
Some videos for your viewing pleasure :D
No time for banksters today …
Since starting this blog I have been contacted by so many people just like me, who find me when in frustration they type “I hate (insert whatever pet peeve here)” into Google. Of-course there are the accidental visitors who think I have a problem with the New American Bible, or maybe the National Association of Broadcasters … or I find the North American Baptist Conference a tad obnoxious. But there are lots of people who look at the About page and read more than just the single blog post they come across and decide to get in touch to share their stories with me.
And all of the stories are depressing and confusing; I still have no answer as to why any bank would set out to bankrupt a perfectly good customer or set up customers who already have little enough but own a perfectly good (now severely overpriced) house. I think some people have simply lost the last skerrick of decency and think anyone who is stupid enough to trust a bankster deserves all they get – including the bullying, harassment and bankruptcy.
But today’s post isn’t about them, it’s about us – all of us who know what it’s like to walk through this darkness called bank litigation.
For people like me Christmas becomes just another burden – at least it was for me. What used to once be the best time of the year became the most difficult time of the year. I’m not sure if it was because my trust was broken or because it took something more precious away from me – I lost the ability to love, to forgive, to give generously to those worse off than me.
I’ve previously blogged about our settlement with the bank and my desire to move on with my life – to start the next chapter, to find out what’s behind the next closed door. But to be honest that has been really, really hard to do. While I no longer feel the sheer panic of not knowing how to cope with all that might be, the certainty of settlement did not “fix” the problem. My life is still in tatters as far as I’m concerned, I’m still not living life to the full, I still have vague plans of a future that I’m too scared to consider seriously. And I still wake up most mornings knowing that I will just try to get through this day and hopefully things will get better with time. I hope that one day I will just be excited about a beautiful summer’s day rather than seeing it as just another day of treading water. And while this seems overly dramatic the good news is that most days I’m too busy to feel that way too long, so I must be on the mend … right?
It seems odd to be this honest – to say that even now I see life as being less than it used to be. But the reason I wanted to share this with you is simple. There are so many people as damaged as I was, as broken as a human can be when they realise the world they live in is not as safe as they were told, that the rule of law does not protect the innocent but the rich. That’s a tough thing to live with.
Christmas time is tough because it comes with all sorts of loaded expectations. You can’t watch telly without the endless ads telling you your loved ones won’t know you love them unless you spend a motza on them (hmmm, yup that over-priced diamond bracelet for $500 will definitely say “I love you” ). But of all the things that go with Christmas, the expectation that you can simply put down your burden and “be happy and thankful for all you have”, that “Jesus loves you” and all the peace on earth (now that would be a nice change) the thing that is hardest (again, only in my opinion) is the waiting for your own Christmas miracle – that the bank will finally grow a bit of common decency and call a halt to proceedings and come up with a workable solution that allows you to keep your home. There wasn’t a real Christmas while I was waiting for my miracles – the first to keep my home and the second to be compensated for my losses.
And here’s the real secret to my second miracle – yes, we did settle with the bank, albeit not at Christmas time (so does it still count as a Christmas miracle?) b.u.t it didn’t fix anything. I suspect that even if we had been put back into the financial position we were in before the bank loan I would still be feeling abused.
You see, I don’t think it was losing a life-time of work and the farm that did the damage, when all is said and done that all amounts to money and money is not that important to me (in the sense I would kill for my family and friends – but money? pfffftttt). What damaged me was that my whole world was exposed as being a fraud, the knowledge that everything I believed in was a great big lie. The exposure of the corruption of my beautiful Australia and the over-abundance of arseholes that spend all their days and nights scheming to rip off hard-working Aussies – that is what I find difficult to deal with.
So here’s what I need you to know as you head into Christmas worried that your bank will be coming after you and you will probably lose everything. You will survive it, you may not thrive initially but you will get through it. Life is all about feelings and how you see things. You can choose to see only the crime against you and you can fight it every moment of every day and ignore living. You can choose to be angry and hurt and then curl up in a corner and simply stop living.
I chose to do all that but I also did other things. I allowed myself 4 weeks to mope and be miserable about the unfairness of it all (I ended up taking 8 weeks) but then I put limits on my misery. Allowing myself to be unhappy and feeling my pain for a limited time every day gave me the head space I needed to accept that life was going to be different but that my negative feelings were important. Simply denying that you feel totally overwhelmed by ‘feeling bad’ does nothing to help you integrate the negative experiences into your life and get to the acceptance part of the grieving process*.
And that is what you are going through – a grieving process, I grieved for the loss of the person I was, the loss of faith, the loss of my life. But I got through it, and even though there are still black days, most of my days are pretty good. I used all the extra spare time to study and even though I have no concrete plan for how I want my life to look in even 6 months time, I can say that I am finally enthusiastic about Christmas …. I take that as a sign that I am finally on the mend. It has taken me such a long time to get to the point where I feel like I am finally putting all the pieces back together. Although some of the pieces are irretrievably lost, there is nothing to stop me from making my life bigger so that the missing pieces become smaller in the big picture. All I need is a plan and I can start working on it.
But maybe that plan might be a bit ambitious and I’m just grateful to be happy to be getting ready for Christmas 2014.
The photo shows the lights catastrophe from last Christmas – I was not going to put up the tree but my son ended up getting it together. After Christmas I couldn’t be bothered taking it down, so there it sat for ages. Finally when I couldn’t take it anymore I took it down – the baubles sat around gathering dust for ages afterwards as I couldn’t find the enthusiasm to get them back in their boxes. And the lights? I couldn’t get them off the tree properly so ended up with this mess (too hard to explain how a simple task like taking the lights down ended up with this haha ).
Yesterday I finally unravelled the lot and I’m good to put up the tree …. something I’ve always waited until the last minute to do but this year I’m really looking forward to Christmas.
When we were fighting this thing with the bank there was so much I didn’t know, about the law, the courts, the process but mostly, what I didn’t know was that I would still be feeling bad for so long after we finally had our win. Had I understood the impact my feelings and internal voice would have on everything I might have regrouped much earlier. Take care of your feelings while you’re going through this, if something feels ‘off’ you’re probably right.
Talk to people about how you’re doing – don’t let pride stop you from getting whatever help you need. If you lose friends over this you have to know that these are not real friends – real friends don’t judge you, nor do they walk away when things get tough. Real friends will let you talk and will gently get you off the emotional merry-go-round, and just because they can’t understand how you got in this mess, or that Australian banks have a number of scams that damage customers, real friends will still care about you.
While you may not be able to put down the emotional baggage for this Christmas, I hope you can at least try, because life is short with no guarantees. Take care of yourself, give yourself an emotional holiday over the festive season – I can guarantee the banksters aren’t losing sleep over your situation, so while nothing can happen, take the chance to take an emotional time-out.
One of my fave Christmas songs from my favourite Christmas movie …
While I get on with my Christmas baking – do yourself a favour … take care out there in Banksterland
*I have a personal philosophy that our feelings exist to show us how we are doing in this world, I’m not a fan of anti-depressants for what I would describe as situational depression BUT if you’re feeling overwhelmed and suicidal please reach out and ask for help.