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,



 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.