Reinvention Co - Dusti Arab

Trigger warning: Woo woo bitches with no backbone taken to church below.

I am very, very angry.

I’ve been working online for the past 7+ years, and let me tell you, I never planned on being a marketer. Once upon a time, I just wrote. I shared the things I was learning in the hopes they’d help other people as much as other people’s thoughts had helped me.

You know why I do what I do? Because some hack of a “business coach” told me I should be a copywriter 6 years ago. She had no idea what she was doing, just that I was easy money and uneducated enough to turn in any direction feeling like it was the right one with enough cheerleading.

But hey, it turned out I was good at it. Like, really fucking good at it. And now, I’ve spent so many years focusing on growing something I don’t really want to grow. I’ve sacrificed sleep and sanity alike, all in the name of saying I get to do things my way.

But do I really?

I’m constantly being managed by my social media streams, looking for the next lead, trying to keep clients happy and engaged, staying positive in the face of constant change and uncertain.

Problem clients have controlled my life and psyche longer than they should have been allowed. (Anymore, I’m happy to tell these garbage humans to take their money and move right the fuck along.)

I’m responsible for a greater tax burden, health care I simply don’t get, and let’s not get started on all of the normal amounts of emotional unpaid labor I do as a woman and a mother.

It’s so easy to get knocked around by the things we feel like we should care about. You should have all these fancy marketing tactics deployed. Don’t forget about being seen with the right people. Oh, and definitely don’t make any faux pas by getting political or feminist or by doing a goddamn things besides “sending love and light” et al since obviously it will impact your business negatively.

Aside: and you know what? Since we’re here, if you use the phrase “sending love and light” and don’t donate, spread the word, or act in some way? Fuck you. Get the fuck out and do something, or I don’t want a goddamn thing to do with you. It’s better not to do a fucking thing than it is to be a phony, and that’s exactly what people like you are.

Because let’s be real. Most people here come in with the idea that there is hope. There’s hope of escaping menial work that doesn’t mean anything. There’s something beyond the Joneses and their fake happy little lives. There’s more substance than what we were fed in school, college, etc. And hope is a powerful thing.

That hope makes us do crazy things. We max out credit cards to take that workshop that’s going to completely change our lives just like the sales page say so. (By the way, I could show you the 20 psychological cues on that same sales page that is unconsciously triggering you to buy.) We leave the job without enough of a runway, and we think we’ll just figure it out. We make mistakes. Yes, they are our mistakes, and we have to own them.

And there are predators here on both sides. There are people who are con artists, like the one who scammed some brilliant women I know out of tens of thousands of dollars. People who mean well initially and then do it the way everyone else does because it works, and hey, gotta make a living, right? People who don’t care, like the one refusing the pony up the five grand for the retreat she attended and then decided she didn’t need to pay for. People who are so fucking out of line and out of integrity that it is appalling anyone still buys from anyone because so many of us have horrible experiences with getting fucked by these people.

Even before any money is exchanged, damage gets done. The promises of things being easy, “How I hit 6 figures in my first year” and “The ONE thing you’re doing that’s keeping you from success” and don’t forget the CLASSIC, “Need a mindset makeover? Learn how to harness the law of attraction!”

The reality is that even when it’s coming from the land of entrepreneurial porn, it’s the same bullshit with a different name.

This is the almighty right way. Exchange your 9-5 for a never-ending cycle of work “for yourself”. Make yourself a save to the grind, to your clients, to growing your bullshit business so you can be like That Guy who has all of his crap together or That Woman who is skinny and traveling and everything society says you oughta be. So you work, work, work away.

Let me tell you about work – it’s a great place to hide. No one will find you or fault you for your protestant work ethic.

Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of years hiding in my work.

I hid from my marriage and the problems in it. I hid from the reality that I didn’t have hardly anyone around who understood me or what I stood for. I hid from feeling trapped by motherhood and coparenting and trying to make things work when everything felt broken beyond repair. I hid from having to sort out my shit for a long time because clearly, everyone else needed me and everything would fall apart without me.

The reality is without everything, I would fall apart. The cascading effect resulted in divorce, learning how to manage alone without so much as the illusion of another person, and falling more and more often into bouts of anxiety I didn’t know how to manage.

And the reality now is that I cycle rather predictably through seasons where I’m killing it and ones where I feel so hollow and exhausted that getting out of bed and trying to get anything done feels unmanageable.

It looks like 10000 months down to barely 2000 months. It looks like giving out the occasional refund when I drop the ball. It looks like panic attacks when I fail to manage things well. It looks like complete embarrassment that I’ve helped my clients make a grand total of almost 7 figures this year as a direct result of the work I’ve done when I can’t stabilize my own shit.

But as angry as I am at the systems I see, at the people who take advantage, at my own inability to make the things happen that I want to, I still have profound hope. Because at my core, I’m an optimist who can’t stay away from chasing the things she wants at a million miles per hour.

And some things have started to shift over the past few months.

I finally have a peer group who gets me. My family is in a good place. I met someone a guy is intimidatingly brilliant, looks like Ryan Gosling, and as silly as me who I’m ridiculously into. I’m in good health (though I could definitely afford to exercise regularly). I’m slowly paying off debt from last year.

And I’m applying for a few jobs. Because I need a break from so much decision fatigue. The idea of not being the one in charge for a while is so appealing, I’m struggling to find words that adequately convey the relief even imagining it produces.

Where freedom alone was the undefined goal before, now I know what that freedom looks and feels like, at least for now. It’s the ability to leave it at the door so I can focus on the people on the other side. Freedom is being able to look forward, not know what’s coming, and be able to breathe deeply and step into it with confidence.

When I look back at all the posts on this blog, from talking about my escape from suburbia and married life to learning how to be a somewhat normal 20-something, I shake my head in some odd combination of disbelief and mild embarrassment. How little I knew/know about anything. But you don’t know what you don’t know.

My heart feels like it’s changing again in a way I’m not sure I understand. But I welcome it.

I’m ready for something truly like freedom.

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