As a mother of five and grandmother of six I am regularly asked questions which use all my cerebral powers to answer. This week’s question was, "How do you find your talent?" Having explained to the enquirer it is usually something which is revealed by trial and error, I found myself wondering if this has been true in my case.
I am frequently being told by friends who know what has happened to us if it wasn't for me, our lives would have been even more difficult. This only leaves me thinking," If it wasn't for him our lives could have been much less difficult." For this reason I have been left wondering what is it I have done and what is my talent?
Struggling to identify the answers to both of these questions because talent, like beauty, is more easily identified in the eye of the beholder, the question, for me remains, which beholder? Finding it hard to reconcile any attributes with the words I heard from my husband when I made the decision to take over our financial affairs I am none the wiser.
- Where a friend would say I have been justifiably angry and upset, my husband declared I'd had a break down and completely lost the plot along with my hair.
- Where my doctor said she sees a strong and remarkable women who has stepped up to the mark in a crisis, my husband has seen a drama queen who has distanced herself from something she has played a substantial part in.
- Where our business bankers have described me as business like, and straightforward to deal with, my husband has seen me as short sighted, overly dramatic and a woman who has "become a caricature of herself".
- Where my solicitor has seen me as a facilitator of a seamless transition from a middle class stay at home mother and home owner, to tenant, landlady, business woman and one woman debt fighting crusader, my husband has seen a control freak who has kept all the kudos from our re-grouping success to herself.
- Where many of our creditors have seen me as professional, efficient and informative, my husband has complained I have been reactionary and unnecessarily quick to divulge personal information to enable me to have an opportunity to "slag him off".
- Where I have needed to be totally honest about our position in all my business dealings and in so doing have secured a roof over our heads, a modest income stream and bursaries for our children's education, my husband has only seen a women dinning out on our dirty washing.
- Where an Indian conman saw a woman who would not listen to his thinly disguised begging and bullying for cash flow assistance to secure my husband an amazing business deal, my husband sees a woman who has thwarted his chances of getting on by not being courageous enough to invest in him and his plans to save us.
- Where a builder who has been owed £40,000 for more than three years sees a woman who is not flinching or frightened when he arrives uninvited on her doorstep and speaks of his convictions for grievous bodily harm and his reluctance to see anyone put a claw hammer through her husband’s head, my husband sees a woman who drinks coffee with her friends and goes dog walking with neighbours when he is at work.
- Where the Citizens Advice Bureau see a determined woman who deserves extra funding to help her communicate with debt collection companies over her husband's enormous credit card debts, my husband sees a woman who has regained her leisurely lifestyle because all these issues were resolved years ago.
- Where my closest friends see a woman who has, against all odds, made the very best of a bad lot where her husband had failed for many years, my husband sees nothing he couldn't have done equally well, if not better, had he been given the chance.
- Where I have religiously answered every letter and phone call received endeavouring to explain our circumstances and asked people to write his debts off, my husband has complained that I am wasting time and energy communicating with creditors who don't deserve a reply.
- Where I have lain awake at night humiliated and shamed by our financial position, my husband has been amused by the fact the financial institutions have allowed him to borrow so much with so little supporting evidence.
- Where I have been horrified to discover my husband has shown creditors over our home behind my back and allowed them to list my personal possessions as security in the event of him defaulting, he has seen a woman who is over reacting to a scenario he said he had only agreed to in the knowledge it could not be enforced.
- Where my children see a woman who dealt with being held hostage in her home by verbally abusive Polish tradesmen by calling the police who arrived, en mass, in full riot gear with sub machine guns, my husband sees an issue which was not of his making that has already been dealt with, so needs no further discussion or comment.
If listing these circumstances has revealed any commendable qualities about about me I can only conclude they must have had something to do with my strong sense of honour in the face of adversity and my overwhelming need to overcome. Whether or not this is this a talent is to me irrelevant as, all I did was attempt to save my family by ensuring I kept my head when the world around me appeared to be losing theirs.