Posted by: Marie | December 9, 2014

(972) Cohesive narrative

Post #972
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, October 9, 2012]

I feel a bit like I got punched in the gut . . .

I got a call from my CPA today. In previous years, I’ve not had to pay taxes at tax time because of two reasons: 1) The taxes withheld from my school bus driving job have been more than enough to cover the taxes due for that job and for the income I make in my piano lessons business. 2) I’ve not made much profit from the piano lessons business because the expenses have totaled almost as much as the revenue – it’s expensive to start up a business.

However, this past year (2011), I had only a small amount of income from the bus driving job, so the taxes withheld there were minimal. And, my start-up costs for the piano lessons business are lessening while my revenues are continuing to increase – my profits are slowly increasing.

I already knew I wouldn’t be getting a tax refund this year. And, I was expecting to have to pay some. But, the amount I figured I’d need to pay would be something like $200 . . .

My CPA told me today that I need to pay around $1,000.

That takes my breath away . . . I don’t know how I’m going to come up with that much . . . I’m already on a six-month extension for filing my taxes because my spring had been so busy and because I didn’t have the money to pay my CPA for preparing and filing my taxes. Because of the extension, I’m already having to pay some late fees . . . the late fees will get worse as time passes.


I should be paying estimated taxes each quarter, at the end of each quarter. But, I haven’t gotten ahead enough financially to do that. I’m doing good to pay what I owe a year+ later . . . I’d have to catch up on about 18 months of taxes before I can start doing the quarterly payments. Also, there are some legal reasons why I should be paying quarterly taxes, and by doing things the way I’m doing them, I’m putting myself at risk for getting in trouble with the IRS.


Photo by Martin Chen

But, I barely have enough income to pay for the rent on a bedroom suite in someone’s basement . . . I have no health insurance, I have no ability to pay for medical care, I have no ability to replace my 15-year-old car once it dies, I don’t even have the ability to do some repairs on my car that desperately need to be done . . .

Bottom line, the only financial expenditure that is really negotiable is my therapy.

And I don’t think that is negotiable because I’m afraid I’ll fall back into a suicidal position if I stop therapy. This is the first time since I was nine years old that I’m not praying to die on a daily basis. I don’t feel like I’m far enough out of the woods to be able to withstand not having therapy.

Now I have this dream to become a CASA . . . to save up $1,000 in the next year or so I can withstand the financial impact of having minimal income during the three weeks of training next October . . .

Maybe the CASA thing can’t happen right now . . . maybe that’s hoping for too much, too soon.

I’m kind of freaked out today . . . feeling depressed, panicked and hopeless . . .

I’ll take some time this weekend to rework my budget. I haven’t reworked it in a while . . . maybe I’ll find a little pocket of spare money somewhere . . .

Most likely, I’ll just empty out my bank account and pay the taxes as quickly as I can, and just pray and hope that nothing unexpected happens during the time it takes for me to get a little buffer built back up in my bank account. I don’t have a better plan . . .

This won’t be the first time I’ve lived on a wing and a prayer . . . I’m pretty good at doing that . . .


I had a lesson with Renee this afternoon. Incidentally, she showed up right on-time today . . .

As soon as she sat down at the piano, she excitedly told me about her choir concert scheduled for 6:30 this evening. She said that her dad and step-mom were going to be there but that she hadn’t even bothered to invite her mom . . . her mom never comes and it hurts too much to invite her and then have her not show up . . . it is less painful to just not invite her . . .

Renee then asked me if I would be interested in coming to the concert . . . she really wanted me to be there.

Normally, my weekday evening schedule is so full that there is no way I could simply drop everything and go to a concert with only a three-hour notice. However, I had set aside an hour this evening for an “open house” chamber event. I knew I could get by with staying at the event for far less than an hour . . .

I had a lesson scheduled for 6:30 . . . if that student could move her lesson to an earlier time, I could stop into the chamber event for a few minutes, teach the rescheduled lesson and still make it to Renee’s concert at 6:30. I explained all this to Renee and told her I would do my best to be at her concert . . . but no promises . . .

Before we settled into Renee’s lesson, I sent a text to the mother of the gal with a lesson scheduled for 6:30, asking to reschedule . . .

I hadn’t heard back on the text message by the time Renee’s lesson ended and her step-mom, April, showed up to take her home. When April heard I was trying to rearrange my schedule to be able to go to the concert, she seemed surprised and very appreciative. I told her that I’d text her when I knew for sure whether I’d be there or not.

Shortly after they left, I heard back on the text message . . . yes, they could reschedule to 5:40. I sent a quick message to April letting her know I’d be at the concert. Then, I followed the rearranged schedule:

4:15 – another regularly scheduled lesson
5:00 – head to the chamber event
5:25 – head back to the studio
5:40 – teach the rescheduled lesson
6:15 – head to the concert

Fortunately, all three venues (my studio, the concert and the chamber event) were within a few blocks of each other. I didn’t have to waste much time on commuting. (That’s a distinct advantage of living in a small town!)

When I got to the school, I didn’t take a seat . . . I really didn’t want to stay for the whole concert (three choirs), just Renee’s choir. I picked a spot to stand against the back wall.

When I showed up, Renee’s choir (6th grade choir) was already sitting on the stage even though the concert was still several minutes from starting. Renee and the girl sitting next to her saw me come in and they waved at me from the stage. Then, her dad and step-mom turned around in their seats and waved to me. I’m glad they all saw that I had shown up. I think it is important they saw me.

Her choir performed quite well; I was impressed! They finished and were off the stage by around 6:55. At that point, I headed home as I had plenty of things on my “to do” list for the evening.

Renee has very few adults who show up for her in a consistent and meaningful way. I’m glad I could be one adult who cared enough to show up, at least this one time. She needs all the support she can get!


This evening, I was watching Dr. Drew’s talk show. He was talking about how his clients who have experienced trauma usually need to create a cohesive narrative around what happened as a part of their healing. It helps them put the pieces together and it helps them start making sense of it. He said it is a critical step in his clients’ healing journey.

I realized that that’s what I’m doing through therapy and especially through my blog . . . I’m creating my own cohesive narrative. Obviously, there are still holes in the narrative, but I can see that my healing is furthest along in the areas for which I’ve been able to create that cohesive narrative. I like that term . . . and I like the concept. I think I’ll keep it in my toolbox.


Tonight at bedtime, as I was getting ready to shut off the light and hunker down under the covers, I checked my email . . .

Lori had responded to my email . . .

She began her email with these words:

Hey Marie,

Thanks so much for sharing your story with me. I love hearing people’s stories and consider it such an honor. Thanks for trusting me. I know it does not come easy!

I am overwhelmed at your resiliency and desire to heal and make a better life! So many people would give up and be satisfied with a meager existence. You have so much courage! Also, you do a truly wonderful job with the kids. It is amazing to see that something that introduced you to so much pain can also be a tool of blessing to others and healing as well!

She went on to share her own story of childhood abuse . . .

Then, she concluded with these words:

If you ever want to chat or grab a cup of coffee, I would love to! I hate surface-y friendships as well! My husband says I swim in deep waters too often and I should come hang out in the shallow end. Although he is not shallow! I just have a busy brain like my daughter! : )

I wish you much peace and healing! You have so much to offer the world!


How neat! It would be neat to have a friendship with someone with whom I share a similar history . . . someone who really understands what it is like to walk in my shoes.

I’m not going to respond tonight because my brain is fried . . . I want to provide a thoughtful response and I’m not up to doing that tonight . . . but I will respond once I have a few spare moments . . . but, right now, I’m turning off the light and going to sleep!



  1. How nice that Lori reached out in an understanding and appreciative way. I hope that went somewhere positive. And I know that feeling re: taxes very well indeed, even though I do pay estimated quarterlies. It still feels like Russian roulette every time I submit my paperwork to my CPA.

  2. Hope you got the tax stuff sorted. Lovely reply from Lori.

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