Sooooo, we’re not really going to talk about taxes directly. But damn if the IRS wasn’t the cause for the experience here. I wrote something back in 2017 (before the blog) about acceptance after some unforeseen hurdles prevented me from going to my best homies wedding in Sayulita, Mexico. I guess the universe just wanted to give me a little test to see if that lesson took, so here’s that.
Character is defined by one's response to adversity. Everything we do is a seed sown and every seed sown produces a harvest...it’s all connected. So let’s just get into this thing.
Today is Monday, April 15th, tax deadline day and I just finished RE-filing my taxes. For starters, fuck taxes, I wish they’d just take what they take and I could debate what they’ve taken if I’m that motivated. That notwithstanding, all the wishing in the world wasn’t gonna get my taxes done; so Thursday (the 12th), with W-2’s in hand, I hopped on my laptop ready to do all the data entry blah that is taxes. First W-2 completed and the feds were primed to give me a quaint little chunk. By the time I’m done, I’m owing the feds that chunk.
...and when it rains it pours.
Friday morning, not at all well into the work today, my boss rolls us up on me with a letter from the IRS. The letter is informing them (and me) that they will be garnishing my checks for back-owed taxes. Instantly, I go into victim mode. I’m not talking simply pulling the ‘woe is me’ victim card. I had the whole victim deck in the pocket of my victim jacket as I’m boarding the victim plane on a direct flight to Victimville.
I know I look rich and all (I’m kidding), but I don’t have a spare thousand of dollars to give and the IRS doesn’t take spiritual currency. A thing I’ve learned about managing stress is identifying the root cause of the discomfort and addressing that. On the surface, it was simply owing the money; I don’t want to owe anything. The deeper issue was that I had plans, this was getting in the way.
I started a new job at the beginning of the year and the pay increase has allowed me to make some life progress plans; this debt was threatening to postpone that. What I wanted and when I wanted it was being challenged and the stress was my internal (semi-)adult temper tantrum ~ Veruca Salt syndrome: I want it now.
It’s all connected...Apparently, it’s harvest time.
By the time I’d entered all of my W-2 info, I was so pissed and terrified about the money they said I owed that I just shot through the rest of my taxes. I was afraid to put any more information in for fear the number would just keep going up. I had to refile today because in my inability to accept a situation I didn’t like, which prompted me to miss an exemption that saved me $700!
I got all in my feelings about a situation that could’ve been avoided/minimized...had I not gotten all in my feelings.
Now on to these back-owed taxes and salary garnishments. During my good ol schwaste face days, I ignored/avoided all semblance of responsible behavior. I not only didn’t pay my taxes but I wouldn’t even file them...and the kicker was the why: child support. You know why I couldn’t go to Mexico in 2017? Unpaid child support. I was drastically in arrears (that’s child support lingo for back-owed) and they wouldn’t let me get a passport. The last time I filed, child support took the refund. Again, I got in my feelings and refused to file my taxes “because I’m not even gonna get the money!”
So to summarize my brilliant logic here: I refused to file my taxes because any refund would go toward paying the child support I OWED and I wouldn’t voluntarily pay. This was my genius.
Not paying my child support over that time was my doing, so my inability to go to the wedding was MY doing. I didn’t file taxes in that time either so the bigger home I was looking at, financing the resolution of my license, and whatever else that may not happen this year is my doing. Is it frustrating, hell yeah it is! I felt that because I’d been blessed with the heightened income I was entitled to the progress. The real truth is that I sowed botchy seeds for over a decade, shits gotta manifest.
(My) Stress is self-induced.
I had a few reaction options available: 1)Pitch a bitch fit and be mad at the world 2)Woe is me the situation and stop trying or 3)Own the situation as it is and go/grow from there. If life were predictable it would be boring and there’d be no growth from missteps. I am soooo fortunate to be in the financial situation I am in, blessed to be able to take the hit and not be at risk of losing anything I currently have. I’m not even necessarily out of contention for the next step things I am trying to attain, just not in my preferred time frame.
The whole point here is Pause before reacting, Accept the situation for what it is, See MY PART in the situation and, Take the next appropriate steps to continue forward progress and growth.
Don’t confuse acceptance with approval, that’ll get you nowhere very quickly. Think of acceptance as allowance; allowing what is, to be what it is and effect what you can.
Thanks for reading!