From Dec 2009 – June 2010, I pursued my dream of launching Dancing with Pain. At the beginning of my journey, I was terrified of numbers. A few months into it, I was cranking out business plans and cash flow projections in my sleep. I poured every last dime I had into the endeavor, and then some. It paid off. Just as all my utilities bills were coming in red, I received a bank loan, and in July, I formally launched the company. I was, well, dancing with happiness.
So many people had risen to the occasion to make the launch happen – photographers, videographers, graphic artists, web techs, business advisors, and even a few national corporations who donated or heavily discounted their time, talent, products, and services. They all believed in my vision, and I was deeply honored and grateful. Dancing with Pain got all kinds of local and national media attention, and in mid-August, when I attended an event for venture capitalists, I was approached by a woman who was very interested in the company and knew someone who might like to bankroll it. It was a critical time when I had to keep moving forward at a fast clip, so as to make the company financially viable before the funding ran out.
Then: Crash. Huge, heavy steel objects being tossed from the second story landing into the steel dumpster below, right outside my apartment window. The horrific, never-ending pain in my ears, the extreme sensitivity to everything from cars to dishes to voices to eggshells. The inability to rest, because the construction and painting continued in the apartment below. The hotel bills. The days and weeks of lost work. The cost of hiring people and equipment to pack, haul, ship, and unpack, moving my ass to a new location. The assault on my bicycle. The two assaults on my car. The manager of the old apartment building threatening to sue me.
The new apartment not. working. out. My life revolving around the garbage dumpster across the parking lot — wondering when the next person will slam their trash in the bin. Ever-present anxiety. The injury being restimulated and restimulated, over and over. The grounds keeper and grounds manager outright hating me for requesting accommodation. The never-ending punishment for being disabled. The constant anxiety requesting accommodation anyhow, fighting the good fight.
The money: Gone. Stuck in a situation jeopardizing my physical health and mental sanity. How does one pull oneself out from under the avalanche without a bulldozer. With just a miniature pail and shovel. The kindness of a client offering an advance. The move. The tree-cutting, door banging, leaf-blowing, lawn-mowing assault on my ears. The most horrific pain since the initial injury. The terror of uncertainty, the lip service but lack of responsiveness to my accommodation requests. Things moving moving moving demanding demanding me unable. to. catch. up. Bills unpaid. Collection agencies calling. Credit taking a nosedive.
Unable to respond. Resources gone. Limited options working because of disability. But disability status falling through every possible crack of a system that only recognizes extreme circumstance. Punished for self-care. Nodule on thyroid gland. Biopsy up ahead. Old landlord back in action. Threatening to sue. Dismissing the reality as my life spins out of control because of it. Money money money money. His humanity missing from the page of his email. My father emails, with his impossible twisted barricade. Someone who hurt emails when the sting of her words had just finally faded. I. Can’t. Cope.
Judgment. Asking for money is taboo. Being down is not good business. Honesty is professional suicide. But the rent is due. Health insurance. Phone bill. Basics for getting back on my feet. How can I get back on my feet when I can’t afford to. Where is the end of this tunnel.