I have grown to trust and love my readers. So now I feel comfortable opening up a bit more about myself.
I am frequently told how lucky I am to be able to get out as often as I do and the circumstances that allow me to do that. And I certainly will not deny my good fortune with this part of my life. But as I remind many, there are parts of my life that I would trade with anyone else. I have alluded in the past to a business failure and the collateral damage this all caused. I am now going to open up here and explain what I mean. I will be intentionally vague about certain details to protect my privacy.
I spent my career (when I had one) in the finance business. I have an MBA in Finance and had worked my way into an opportunity that I was excited about in the mid 90’s. I was our sole breadwinner at the time with a wife and two young daughters at home. Four of us started a business in the finance industry and I was a part-owner and the VP/Treasurer. Cash is the life’s blood of such an organization and I managed every dime. We struggled but were able to build a business that employed 40 people and were in our seventh year in business. It was never easy, but allowed me the opportunity to provide for my family and to employ others to do the same. I felt a tremendous responsibility to everyone associated with the company, as well as to my family (obviously).
In a move that I principally objected to, my asshole (sorry, the only description possible) partner made a business decision that involved a significant amount of capital (all borrowed). That decision collapsed horribly and fairly quickly and I was left to deal with a giant cash drain. With the ability to look backward, I should have simply run from the mess and now would do so.
You need to understand, I have a fatal flaw. I am horribly responsible, very often to my detriment. All of these people, including my family, depended upon me. All of the lenders expected to be repaid and there were many (to the tune of a high eight figures). I took all of this as a personal obligation. I dug in for the fight. I did what was necessary to keep the lights on, thinking we could correct the situation and make things right. I will not go into specifics, but it initially was not a thought out decision. There was a day where I had about an hour to do something to keep things from collapsing and I did what I had to do to live another day. Big mistake! From that point forward, there was no way out.
Fast forward six months from hell. Massive headaches, puking to start each and every day, truly feeling like I was driving to my execution each day I went to work. On one fatal day, the entire house of cards fell over and we ultimately went into receivership. I was now out of work and facing massive problems. We all personally guaranteed the debt, mid eight figures. Massive civil judgments. No income.
Four years elapsed with me knowing I had broken the law and I stupidly did so with no personal gain from it. I benefitted not one single penny. My partners skating free when they were as culpable as I was. A knock at the door and my life changed forever. You never want the FBI knocking at your door, trust me. We negotiated a plea agreement that did at least do significant damage control. A thirty three month sentence (twenty five and a half months actually served after good time) in a Federal prison. Seven figure restitution owed. Three years of supervised release. All my fault! I blame no one but myself and live with it every day of my life. In my head, I think of myself as a felon, not as a husband, father, son or even a crossdresser. To me (not the world) it overshadows everything good I have ever done. You may tell me that isn’t true, but it is the prism through which I have to view the world.
I joked recently that 2020, a year that many feel was the worst year of their lives, for me it wasn’t even in my Top 5 worst years. The hell of knowing I was under investigation. The agony of waiting for that knock at the door. The process of negotiating a plea agreement. My day in court. My sentencing. That first day in prison. The separation from family. The realization that I was now (and remain, principally) an non-citizen. There are many logistical things you take for granted in your life that I cannot even consider. Branded for life. They may as well have seared a giant F on my forehead.
I hope this does not change your opinion of me. Many of my readers know about this directly from me. I do not hide it. Frankly, I am proud I am surviving it (surviving, not survived, it is an on-going process and will be until I am no longer here). Every one that knows me in my regular life knows. I have lost not one single friend over it and am proud of that. I have even made new friends because of it. And I met some of the most moral people I will ever meet, in prison. I took a bullet trying to protect the livelihoods of others and my family and will never be the same.
I have more to share about this, including fairly recent events and will do so soon. This pall has hung over me for almost 20 years now. Not a single day passes without me thinking about it. But let me say this, you now understand the perspective on life that God gave me. Wearing a dress, really? Try those prison khakis. I made mistakes for which I will pay until they start throwing dirt on me. No one said life was fair. Just do yourselves a favor, if you make a mistake in your lives, just make sure it doesn’t involve the government’s money. That is all they care about, no question. Human lives are really not even on their agenda. I can make that statement from significant direct personal experience.