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selling shame

Our business is earning less now than it was at any stage of the pandemic. We are living week to week, creatively manoeuvring money around and waiting, waiting for the season to change.


There was a time not so long ago where a season of scarcity would have brought me to my knees in terror. I would have cajoled, coerced and crashed my way through - expending precious energy on worry and forcing myself to do things that didn't feel good. I would have tried to mould myself into a more palatable version, convincing myself that if I could just be more like someone else, the flow would be returned.


This time though, I feel no shame.


I do not feel - as I once did - that this season is in any way linked to my value as a human being. Conversely to the story of capitalism my worth is not linked to my net worth, nor is my success necessarily the panacea to the bigger existential woes that haunt me at night.


This time, I'm opting out of urgency and disentangling and decolonizing the fantasy of cause and effect - if I just work hard enough, things will change. Hustle culture demands an overriding of our body's need and instincts, it demands us to orient economically above orienting relationally. But most dangerously it fails to acknowledge that for some folks who's identities sit at the intersection and are therefore marginalised, no amount of hard work will ever yield success - and that is by design.


This route, no doubt, is not for the faint hearted. To start to shake the foundations that hold up the illusion of control we have over our circumstances can create discomfort. But it can also create liberation - when we realise that the system is not set up for us to win.


This time, I'm unwilling to dance on instagram in order to be seen. I'm unwilling to spend more of my time glued to the screen - I am a creative, not a content creator and I can not (and will not) compete for your attention or produce mass click bait for immediate consumption.


This time I cannot respond to comments because it will increase my reach, I do not have the capacity to give away my work for free and I cannot participate in practices and platforms that are inherently ableist - and that reinforce harmful cultural norms. This time, my body gets to have respect. And yours does too.


It would be so easy - deliciously easy, to translate my own fear and shame in this moment and weaponise it to sell something to you. But to tell you that is your individual fault that you are experiencing economic hardship - that you just need to do more mindset work, or get a better strategy, or follow a five step plan, would be reinforcing the economy of shame I am so fiercely fighting to transform.


To gloss over this winter that we are in and continue to present a fantasy of business, life and parenting that would feature in a Country Style magazine would not only be insincere, it would be harmful.


So what I'm focusing on instead is making different types of promises. Not promises of increased income nor promises that you will present to the world as a different person. Not promises that everything is going to get magically easier when you begin on the path of regeneration (although that certainly might be so).


Rather....


Promises of care. Of community so you don't feel like you're the only one feeling like things are really hard right now. Promises of being seen and heard exactly as you are - of your ways of being in the world being acknowledged and valued especially because they are different. Promises to continue to highlight and illuminate the flawed systems we are forced to exist within so you don't have to carry around the shame that I did for so long. Promises of co-regulation, of laughter, of bringing humour to the fact that I'm 36 and still living week to week like I did when I was 18. Promises to reimagine ways we can do things better.


In all the years of supporting people and teams to come back to life, I've found that setting the conditions for safety and support - while encouraging pathways back to symbiosis, stewardship and soil - enable something new and more life-giving to emerge. Meeting these needs - for our bodies to be cared for, for our souls to be in connection with the earth and one another, for our unique gifts to be mirrored back to us - they may not result in a six figure business or for the challenges of life to magically disappear. But what they offer us is something altogether more meaningful.


They offer us resilience to get through times like we are in now. They offer us fuel to keep fighting for something more fair and beautiful. They offer us space wherein creativity, innovation and regeneration might emerge.






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