Monday, August 28, 2023

When Grace Fails

Hello Invisible Audience,


I am home, on my couch. It is Monday evening, and I have been here since Friday afternoon, after I limped up to my front door after a week-long vacation with friends. The week had ended with a sore throat and a rolled ankle that the emergency room had just informed me was not broken.


My cold is worse than it was on Friday. Despite multiple days of lying on the couch, sucking down herbal teas and chicken soup, the congestion is the same—I’ve gone through nearly three boxes of Kleenex—and as of last night I have a hacking cough.


Today I canceled all my plans for the week: a physical therapy appointment; a private lesson I was supposed to teach; a haircut. I managed to ask one neighbor to pick up a grocery order for me at Fred Meyer; another neighbor brought me a COVID test and is going to pick up some prescriptions for me tomorrow. Those last two things are a big f’ing deal, considering how hard it is for me to ask for help. But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what it feels like when grace fails.


When I lived in Panama, I had a lot of really shitty things surface in therapy. At one point, my therapist there told me that I was handling all that emerged with a lot of grace. I took this to mean that I was accepting things well and seeking ways forward through the muck that kept coming up. 


I’ve thought a lot about that for a long time, Invisible Audience, because even if I was accepting things with grace then, I don’t feel like grace is part of my repertoire anymore.


I’ve been through a lot in general, but especially in the past 10 years or so. A lot of my pain has been physical, and it seems never-ending: Lyme disease, mold sickness, foot pain, neck pain. Colds, sinus infections that lasted months. I suspect many treatments made things worse, like the 10 rounds of antibiotics I had in a year that caused a bunch of food sensitivities that had never been there before.

 I do not have any grace left to give, Invisible Audience. And I think that’s ok…because although I don’t think this was how my therapist meant it, I think a lot of people look at people who are suffering and think that the only suffering that is worthy is the suffering done with grace.


This is total, absolute, bullshit.


We have several narratives in our culture that are dangerous. if you work hard enough, you can have whatever you want. You get what you deserve. Attitude is everything. And even though it’s not quite as blatant as the others, there is another one that is just as insidious: if you’re suffering, be sure that suffering is admirable in some way. 


Suffer to make someone else’s life better. Suffer to prove your worth. Suffer because you have to, okay, but damn it, do it with a smile, and faith. Do it in a way that inspires others. Get them to talk about how upbeat you are as you’re beaten down. Forget how you’re actually feeling. What we want to hear is how you minimize it to make the rest of us feel better; to make it possible for the rest of us to forget our own mortality, even as we’re staring yours in the face.


I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but those thoughts have been top of mind for the last several days as I’ve laid on the couch, yet again. I’ve been thinking about how many times I’ve kept my bouts on the couch to myself, not because I wanted to be alone, but because I didn’t have anything positive to say or learn from my pain. I cut myself off from contact because if I’m tired of how often I’m sick, how could anyone else not be?


There is no grace here, Invisible Audience. There are no fairies that are flying around granting me fewer sneezes because I’ve managed to make jokes about how crappy I feel. No one has shown up to give me the martyr award for suffering best in silence. I am not winning anything by fighting to present grace instead of what is really here with me. Resentment. Fatigue. The beginning of a temper tantrum because life is so fucking unfair. And so. Much. Snot.


Is it the worst place I’ve ever been? Definitely not. But I shouldn’t have to do that: compare it. Say it’s not so bad. Say things could be much worse. Even if all of that is true, it could also be better. And naming what it actually is does not give it less value than blind grace would.


Love and snotty, graceless kisses,


P.S. I had a hard time keeping up with my blog lately, but what writing I have done over the summer has gone to my patrons on Patreon. You can check out my profile here. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon instead. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

The Gauntlet

Hello Invisible Audience,


In my last therapy session, I talked to my therapist about something that I know quite well about myself that drives me nuts: it takes a lot for me to connect what I want over others’ voices and needs. It’s as if I need to run a gauntlet of others’ needs and expectations before—exhausted and gasping for breath—I finally reach my own.


I’m so much better at this than I used to be, but it’s still incredibly difficult to separate out what I need with what someone else needs, or even what they think I should do. And it drives me absolutely insane sometimes.


I have been thinking a lot about what my business looks like lately. I’ve been thinking about how to make it sustainable long-term. And one of my biggest pain points is having employees.


This clearly isn’t true for everyone. And even though it’s supposed to be a very logical way to grow your business—more people to do the work, therefore more work can be taken on—I have struggled with it for as long as I’ve had them, which is awhile now.


I’ve told several people about it lately, as I think through this summer and into what my lineup will be for next school year. And after discussing it with several different people, I found myself saying to a friend, “I feel like I’m just asking for permission to not have employees.”


I said it out loud and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it, Invisible Audience. So then I took it to my therapist, and that’s part of what sparked our conversation about the gauntlet.


And—like a good therapist—she asked me a very insightful question.


“Who exactly are you waiting for permission from?”


God damn it, Invisible Audience.


When I was in high school, someone told me that my brother would be a CEO and run a company, and I would struggle for the rest of my life, being self-employed.


Without realizing it, I’ve been trying to prove that person wrong for decades now. And the way I was trying to do that was by having employees, even if I will ultimately be happier and a better business owner if I don’t have them. Because wouldn’t that mean I’d be proving that person right?


My therapist had another question for me that she assigned as homework:


Who and what do I want to be?


Sometimes I think the answer to that question is buried so deep I’ll never find it, Invisible Audience. Underneath mountains of norms and expectations and medical debt and logistics. Under people-pleasing and fatigue-filled days and a lot of fear. Under pathologizing every single part of me that’s ever brought me joy and made me tick. Under the biggest pile of shit that can only be described as self-doubt.


And sometimes it’s readily apparent who I really am. When I take 2 hours to walk through the woods, stopping under the cottonwoods as their leaves unfurl to smell their scent. When I wade into ice-cold water and can’t stand not going further and have to dive in fully. When I stay up late finishing a book that feels as satisfying as drinking water in the desert. When I rise from bed when I can’t sleep in the middle of the night and find solace in my journal; that the simple act of writing to myself will inevitably send me back to sleep. When I write to you about things others would keep to themselves.


One of my favorite poems has a stanza that I think about a lot. It’s called The Invitation and the stanza goes like this:


It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.


You know what, Invisible Audience? I’m not always sure what sustains me. I think it’s likely that it changes. But there’s something there. There’s someone there, underneath all these other pieces, and she gets louder and more solid every day.


She is me, and I don’t quite know her yet. She is me, and she stands on the other side of the gauntlet, waiting for me, as exhausted and gasping as I am when I reach her.


Love and breathless kisses,



P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

What If I Never Get Better?

Hello Invisible Audience,


I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who has also been to therapy. I asked if they had ever had a specific thing that they learned in therapy that made a big change in how they saw the world.

I’m paraphrasing here, but they basically said that coming to terms with the realization that they would sometimes feel sad and there wasn’t anything that needed to be changed or fixed about that made a big difference.


I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.


The last month or so, I’ve felt better than I’ve felt in YEARS, Invisible Audience. I’ve woken up with energy, been able to concentrate all day and exercised multiple days in a row. Then, about a week ago, the fatigue I lived with for a long time came back. It hasn’t gone away again. Although I can still concentrate for long periods of time, I’m wiped out by eating, I sleep 10+ hours a night, and I can’t bring myself to exercise because I’m afraid it will make things worse. And before you go thinking, “maybe exercise will make you feel better!” please just trust me that I’ve had this specific fatigue feeling before, and it means my body is inefficiently operating on its last legs. Exercise will NOT make it better.


I’ve tried all the things that have worked before. I have spent whole days lying around, doing as little as possible. I have swallowed the supplements that have helped in the past. None of that has helped. But I’ve also had a thought swirling around my brain since my conversation with my friend:


What if I never get better?


What if the last month was a fluke, and my normal—my status quo—is more like what I’m experiencing now? What if it’s always an ebb and flow, and I have to live with this forever?


During my month of feeling amazing, I also felt emotionally calmer. I realized that a lot of the angst I have felt over the past several years has to do with not feeling well: trying to fit in doctor appointments and stretch my dollars to cover my supplements; feeling frustrated with having less energy than I want to have. Accomplishing things as a much slower pace than I want to get them done. This is why I’m stalled on the book I finished in 2021, Invisible Audience. With limited energy, I am budgeting mine for what puts food on the table and a roof over my head. Sending a book to agents doesn’t fall into that budget.


I have to admit something that makes me feel really ashamed. I don’t think I would spend as much time and energy on trying to get better if my weight wasn’t a factor in the equation. I keep hoping that all I’ve done to try and improve my health will stop the scale from tipping ever upward. I got a new therapist to help with body image issues, and although it has helped to some extent, I recently realized that weighing less is still a big motivator for me. This makes my anxiety worse when I can’t exercise. I can’t exercise because my body can’t handle it, for reasons that are elusive and hard to pin down. To get help with this, I pay a lot of money for care. Care that has been worth it, but costs me a lot of money. And time. And energy.


Anyone who has ever done some serious healing—physical or emotional—can tell you that healing is not linear. I know it’s very likely I’ve gone to a very dark place that is not warranted by this fatigue setback, Invisible Audience; that this is just a temporary setback in an inevitable upward swing in my healing. 


But at the same time, I’m wondering if there’s a clue about a way forward in this place where I’m sitting right now: if there’s a hint of acceptance that I need to delve further into. Instead of pouring time, money and energy into striving for a life that is more comfortable and feels better, what if I got better at accepting where I actually stand?


  • What if I could finally accept that I may always struggle with body image issues, no matter how much I weigh?
  • What if I could come to terms with medical costs always being a big part of my budget, instead of hoping that this month will be the month that I don’t need to spend so much?
  • What if I let go of all these things I want to do—and think I should do—and spent more time assessing how I feel in the moment and planning my activities around that energy level?
  • What if I stopped trying so hard to make myself different than I am and just accepted it instead?

What if I never get better, Invisible Audience? What if the path to hell is paved with good intentions is actually a phrase related to what I’m experiencing right now? What if the best of intentions related to “getting better” is just another whipping stick I beat myself with?


How would it be different, Invisible Audience, if I just let myself be?

Love and fatigued kisses,



P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

When Can I Own What I Know?

 Hello Invisible Audience,


Recently, I started meeting weekly with a friend. We each have projects related to our businesses that we want to make some progress on, and have decided that having someone else to be accountable to and bounce ideas off of will be helpful. So far, we’ve been right. It is really helpful.


My friend wants to pivot from her current career to a new one helping women with small businesses. At our last meeting, she asked me what kinds of things I would want to know about business if I were just starting out…three pages of notes later, she had a whole list of things to help her. Most of the things I mentioned were things that I already know…things I know other women don’t necessarily know, because many have asked me, or mentioned something that makes it clear to me that they don’t know something that I do about how to make a business work. 


I’ve been having some interesting feelings come up around this when my friend and I have met. In fact, this same friend started a women’s entrepreneur group in the area, and I went to a couple meetings. I ended up talking a lot, because I had answers for others’ questions…but then I’d leave and feel a lot of shame because it felt like I hogged the stage and wouldn’t shut up. Or was I being helpful? Or both?


And that’s the issue, Invisible Audience. When can I own what I know?


I’ve owned several small businesses. Some of them failed. Others I let go of. With each one, I learned something that made the next one work better. I’ve been supporting myself with my small businesses for over a decade now, and yet I find myself pulled in several different directions when it comes to giving advice to others about this.


The same is true—even more so, actually—with some of my life experience. I’ve lived a lot of places. I’ve experienced some truly awful, soul-wrenching shit. I’ve tried out a lot of ways to heal. Most did not work, but—sensing a theme here, yet?—with each, I learned something that made the next one work better.


So when can I own what I know?


I have to admit something, Invisible Audience. I absolutely LOVE IT when people come to me for advice. I. LOVE. IT. Nothing makes me feel more useful. And yet I also can feel utterly deflated when someone doesn’t listen to what I have to say. I have to be really careful with this, especially because the feeling I get from giving people advice that they follow is fleeting. And, perhaps more importantly, because when I go overboard with this urge, 1) I push people away who want to be listened to and not told what to do and 2) I go into fixer mode and start to present myself as a person who has the answers instead of letting myself admit I don’t know everything and need to ask questions or get feedback instead.

In my twenties, I did a lot of angrily assuming that peoples’ lives would be better if they just did what I said. I didn’t realize then that I did this because I was uncomfortable with others and my lack of control over a situation; that I wanted others to change so that I wouldn’t have to change. And somewhere in there I found Al Anon, which helped me a lot with this tendency by teaching me about co-dependence.

It’s a lot of the reason I write this blog about my own personal experience, Invisible Audience. Because having an advice column doesn’t feel genuine for me, when I am in the midst of learning so much of this for myself. It’s also the way I remind myself that I do not have all the answers. Blogging is the one place where I admit my fears and faults in a way that I don’t in my regular life.


But it also means I get resentful sometimes, because I feel like I have a lot of wisdom that could potentially help others but no one is asking me for. 


Even writing that sentence makes a voice inside me rear its ugly head.


“Oh, boo-hoo. No one’s asking you for your experience. You poor, self-absorbed, spoiled little girl. What makes you think anyone would want to listen to YOU?”


I’ve been waiting, Invisible Audience. I’ve been waiting for someone else to tell me that it’s ok for me to own what I know. If I’m going to be honest, I’m waiting for that hideous voice to tell me that I’m good enough, even though she’s never done more than tell me how terrible I am. (My therapist and I call her Mildred. She has A LOT of shitty things to say about me in general). 


And you know what? She’s never going to do that. She’s never going to admit that I’ve done anything noteworthy. She’s never going to give me permission to own what I know.


So my choices are continue to stew in my resentment over this, or own it, despite what Mildred says.


So here goes.

·      I know I’m a good teacher.

·      I know a lot of Spanish.

·      I know a lot about business. And spreadsheets. And creating systems that work.

·      I know how to write a book. I know how to get published and that it’s a long, ugly, convoluted process. I know how to publish myself and the drawbacks of self publishing.

·      I know what it’s like to be told that there’s one right way to do something, and what bullshit that is.

·      I know how to get the medical care I need to feel better, and it’s not from listening to anyone else or the goddamn broken system.

·      I know a lot about eating disorders, recovering from them, falling back into them in the name of medical care, and struggling to find value in myself when I don’t look the way I was promised I would if I followed all the rules.

·      I know more than I ever want to know about making hard, life-altering decisions that involve cutting out family members, and how much it hurts when others don’t trust that my reasons were good enough.

·      I know a hell of a lot about therapy and psychology, both from being in therapy and avidly following the field.

·      I know a lot about operating the world as a super sensitive human, and what it means on a daily basis to give my sensitive system what it needs.

·      I know what it feels like to have others decide that they know what’s best for me, and how alienating that can feel when I just want someone to tell me that I’m loveable, just as I am.

·      I know what it’s like to have wanted many things in my life and not gotten them. I know that sometimes not getting those things has been a blessing, and other times it has been a curse.

·      I know how to be incredibly content being single.

·      I know how to travel safely—and happily—by myself.

·      I know how to spend whole days reading.

·      I know how to spend whole days alone, and how utterly blissful that can be.

·      I know that it can be true that someone did their best to love you, and how they loved you was simply not enough.

·      I know that I am worthy of love, even though most of the time I am trying to prove to myself and others that that is true.


Love and Owning It Kisses,



P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Where’s the Line?

 Hello, Invisible Audience.


I’ve been having a rough couple of weeks, mainly, I think, because of some really terrible insomnia. It seems to be getting a bit better (knock on wood) which has made it a bit easier to think. And now that I can think a bit more clearly, I find myself coming back to the same question over and over again:


Where’s the line?


The story I tell myself is that these lines are much easier for others to see; that what appears as a sort of hazy gray spot is an actual, honest-to-goodness line in the sand for others. I’ve always struggled with this line…although actually, to be more accurate, it’s about several different kinds of lines that all tie back to one thing: boundaries.


The main line I’m talking about is this: where is the line between continuing to try to have a relationship with someone and letting them go? The friendship; the family tie; the romantic relationship; the boss; the employee. How much is too much shit to put up with? When should I keep fighting; talking; bringing up how what I need is different than what I’m being offered? And when is it just time to admit that there’s no solving this thing and it’s time to pull the plug?

Although I think I’m likely to fall on the side of sticking around too long, I’m always afraid I haven’t stuck around long enough. I beat myself up a lot for not being able to make a relationship work. I tell myself that if I were better at stating my needs, this relationship would be working. If I could figure out how to present my concerns in the right way, the person would realize where I’m coming from and how wrong they’ve been, apologize profusely, see things my way, and we’d all live happily ever after, never to have a conflict again.


Did you notice the problems, Invisible Audience? On the one hand, I’m taking responsibility for another’s actions by assuming that it’s all my fault if I can’t explain myself in a way that they can hear. On the other hand, I think that the only way to solve it is to get them to see things my way.


Relationships exhaust me, Invisible Audience.


At what point do I just admit that it’s not working? Even more importantly, can I arrive at that conclusion without vilifying the other person? Instead of needing to decide that they’ve been borne from a demon dead-set on making me lose my mind, can I just admit that my needs are different from theirs, and that we can go our separate ways without making it anyone’s fault? Can I gracefully exit a relationship without throwing myself under the bus first? For example, instead of saying, “It’s not you it’s me. You’re just too good for me,” or ghosting or some other platitude, will I ever be able to get to the point where I can just say, “This doesn’t seem to be working for either of us, and I’m not interested in pursuing it further. I wish you the best, but I think it’s best if we sever contact.”


If I could get to the point that I could say that without feeling like the world was about to implode around me, could I also get to the point where I could tell someone when they’ve hurt my feelings? Could I do that without serving myself up on a platter first?


“I was having a really bad day the other day, and that’s why what you said hurt my feelings. Other days it wouldn’t have mattered so much…”




“I know you’re having a bad day, but what you said really hurt me. I know you didn’t mean to and I should just make sure I don’t ask for things on the days you’re busy…”




{radio silence}


I’m not sure I’m ever going to figure this out, Invisible Audience. I’m not sure I will ever feel safe having to talk to someone about how I need our relationship to be different. It’s why I live alone; why I work for myself; why I have quit every other job I’ve ever had.


Here’s another line that’s unclear to me:


When do I stop beating myself up for not being who I wish I could be?


When do I just accept that this is how I am and let myself just be me? When do I lean further in to who I am instead of whipping myself bloody for not having this figured out?


I can’t see the line, but it sure feels like I’m standing on it.


Love and walking the line kisses,



 P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Bullsh*t Bills of Goods


Hello Invisible Audience,


Something in me is changing. It’s been coming about gradually for quite a while, and I’ve felt hesitant about sharing it because it doesn’t feel like I’ve actually arrived wherever it’s taking me. But then again, some of my oldest friends—as in those friends who are twice my age or more—tell me that change is constant, so maybe by the time I feel settled into this change I’ll start to change again.


If that’s the case, I may as well share, right? Although if I’m being honest, another reason that I’ve been hesitant to share is because it’s not…well, it’s not pretty.


I’m not coming to a place of acceptance.


I’m not finding forgiveness, whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.


I’m not even looking for forgiveness, Invisible Audience.


Instead, I’m really—fucking—PISSED.


It’s hard to pin down specifically what I’m pissed about, except maybe to say that I’m pissed to have been sold a bill of goods, over and over again. And perhaps I’m as pissed at myself as I am the peddlers of all these various bills of goods that I’ve been handed, cheerfully paid for, and stuck in my pocket to try and use as an instruction manual in my life.


You know why else I’m pissed, Invisible Audience? Because I’ve talked about some of these bills of goods before, and I want to stop talking about them, and I want them to stop affecting my life, but IT’S JUST NOT HAPPENING. I’M STILL FUCKING PISSED.


I recently found a podcast about cults called A Little Bit Culty. I don’t listen to all the episodes, but I find myself really drawn to the ones that talk about other places besides honest-to-goodness cults where you can find coercive control. It can be many things, but there are two pieces they’re touching on that flare up in me when mentioned. One is when something is presented as the one answer; the one way; the One Thing everyone should do. The second is having a fear to question it or leave it, whether that fear is that someone will hurt you, or insult you, or abandon you.


This has been putting a lot of things in perspective for me, Invisible Audience. And one thing specifically: a feeling I have had many times in my life that I can best describe as a queasiness. Someone will tell me something they claim is true. I may even believe it at first. I try my best to follow along. I tell myself they’re right. Others think they’re right—right? And then, eventually, I get this queasiness that won’t go away. The feeling builds and builds until eventually, something takes over inside my brain and tells me it’s time to GET OUT. And I do. Awkwardly, maybe without a goodbye, without stopping to explain myself a lot of the time. And then I feel awful that I am missing the gene that allows me to face conflict to talk about hard things, and I think about what life would be like if I could just say the right thing and accept or not accept someone else’s idea of the truth without this deep desire to get away.


What I just explained to you is how I have experienced and felt about this queasiness for as long as I’ve been alive, Invisible Audience. It is only recently that I have realized that the queasiness is very likely my own sense of discernment that is telling me that something is RED ALARM WRONG, and that I eventually get out because a very smart part of me knows it is not safe for me to stay.


So now I’m pissed about all the time I have spent weeping and wringing my hands and beating myself up for getting out of situations that were not good for me. I’m pissed about the number of times I have gone along with the ideas of the “experts” in the hopes I could get some answers instead of doing the harder work of listening to myself. I am pissed at how many people I know subscribe to this type of bullshit related to various things in their lives, and how I want to blow up at them about it in a really unhelpful way, because I am actually pissed at the thing they’re subscribed to. But I can’t yell at diet culture, for example, in the same satisfying way I can yell at a friend who is obsessed with counting calories.


This affects so many things, Invisible Audience. And I’m not sure yet how it’s going to play out. Will I eventually be able to have rational conversations with people about topics that I currently seethe about? Or will I eventually blow up at someone for liking something that has totally not worked for me? Or both?


Love and seething kisses,



 P.S. Thanks for reading, Invisible Audience member. Interested in reading more and supporting me in the process? Check out my profile on Patreon. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon--there's more to read there. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

It All Turned Out Fine


 Hello Invisible Audience,


I’m not sure if you’ve been wondering, but I want you to know: the big, scary decision that I made to raise my rates turned out fine.


When I look back on the 10+ days it took to finally see whether it was going to be ok or not, it seems like such a short amount of time to wait that I’m a bit ashamed about how terrified it was to sit in those 10 days. But I can’t change how scary it was—not knowing whether I’d even continue teaching Spanish classes, if the families who put their kids in my classes had all decided not to have them continue at the new higher prices.


As I’ve been turning it over in my head, I’ve been able to find some curiosity about my reaction to the whole process.


How it felt like I was making a momentous decision that could possibly lead straight to destitution.


How it felt like how people reacted would be a reflection of whether I was going to be accepted by or rejected by the community I belong to.


How I was already starting to consider moving and starting over somewhere else if it turned out that Spanish classes in this one town weren’t viable.


And you know what? It still feels like all those things could have been true. Simultaneously, I have realized that the big reaction I had to a very normal thing—raising rates in a business—is a reflection not of how the community was going to take it, but how I was prepping myself to be abandoned—by everyone.


If there’s one thing I can own about myself, Invisible Audience, it’s that I am resourceful. I have moved to foreign countries with little more than what I could carry and no long-term plan of how to make money. I have started over again—and again and again—and found joy in the adventure of reestablishing myself. But due to a variety of circumstances—battling both Lyme disease and mold sickness, for starters, and the deep fatigue that have accompanied them—I haven’t felt the pull to start over again lately. That in itself is pretty momentous. But the idea that I would end up living in a cardboard box because my business fails is just not accurate. I have sold liquor; worked retail; taught kids to ski; written; cooked; started several businesses; published. I speak two languages—the two primary languages spoken in the region where I live. And more than all those things, I am really stubborn. I would make it, here or somewhere else, because I don’t know how not to.


That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Or that I’ve enjoyed the survival mode I’ve been living in for far too long. But the place my brain went when I decided I needed to earn more to stop stressing out about money so much was straight to the direst predictions: losing my job; my community. Being punished for asking for what I needed.


That’s really what it was all about, Invisible Audience. I needed more than I’d been letting myself have. And before I could bring myself to ask for it, I had to get to a point of thinking I could lose it all.


This is a trauma response, Invisible Audience.


I am working on breaking it, but I’m not there yet. And what that means is that I have to do these things, even as a young, scared part of me curls into a ball and waits for my world to implode because I had the audacity to decide I need more than I have. I have to sit in the sheer terror of waiting to see if the dystopian future my reptile brain has imagined will come to fruition…or not.


It all turned out fine, Invisible Audience. But that doesn’t mean I can just turn off the switch of fear every time I need to do something similar. It just means I have to do it anyway, and know that I’ll survive, no matter what the outcome.


Love and just fine kisses,



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