Capitalism and honesty

Since I’ve spent perhaps ten years or move surveying inner landscapes of both self and occasionally others in depth, and found ways to resolve a couple of issues that could have turned out worse through research and ingenuity largely (and maybe perseverance and mistake tolerance), on and off it crosses my mind, or somebody else suggests, that I could use this knowledge and experience somehow.

I mean somehow apart from just enjoying the fruits of my limited yet slowly rooting wisdom in solitary contemplation, or occasionally finding a moment to shock an acquaintance with an understanding of some exotic issue that they didn’t expect understanding for.

Since I figured out that a lot of the issues in my life that I have worked out on my own can go under the autism spectrum umbrella, or are basically issues that are present for people on the spectrum, and my variants of various other issues, you could say, have an autistic “spin” to them, someone suggested I could do some autistic mental health consulting (not therapy but personalised info, education and strategy sharing), or something like this. Especially that I have myself paid for a couple of consulting sessions with and older autistic person, and they were very helpful – even though the person had no specific qualifications beyond life experience and the satisfaction of their own curiosities. They were more useful than any of the therapists I had tried before. I only found a useful therapist after talking to them and understanding better what to look for.

I thought why not try something like this, since I’ve seen in my own case that it can be useful, and I don’t regret any of the money I paid that person for the time they spent focusing on and thinking about my stuff. In fact, it was a fairer rate that I’d paid before that for various “coaching” rip-offs whose ability lay mostly in skilful copy writing.

In fact, after these incidents I thought that I could at least do better than these folks (or worst case equally “well”). I spent some time reading about little coaching businesses, how to start them, how to market them, etc. The fruit of that was a bit of experimenting around on social media, but largely no fruit – I think partly due to too many other disruptors in life, in part because I still couldn’t (and can’t) put my finger on specifically what I could help people with (vaguely I kind of know), partly lack of determination or courage or self-confidence to just try.

The last point was maybe a lie, I usually don’t lack courage or determination, confidence probably yes, but I actually have occasionally tried things based on too much courage and too little preparation. I think with enough preparation, too much courage shouldn’t be needed. So perhaps not doing it up to this point (for a change not engaging kamikaze courage) has actually been a good decision.

Thinking of how last years I had a start at organising a type of local queer event, kind of knowing the risks, thinking about the worst-case scenarios beforehand and knowing I’m not properly prepared, but accepting the risk for the sake of having some first experience with it. Something pretty close to the worst-case scenario actually happened, and since I thought it might happen, I kind of didn’t make a too big fuss about it, but also withdrew from the venture. No big deal seemingly; I’ll think it over, analyse the mistakes, ask other people for advice, read a couple of books as now I already have a case study in mind. Point being, a couple of months I noticed my blood pressure was still spiking merely thinking of the incident. I was afraid that the incident had gotten under my skin to the point that it would put me off forever, and that it would have been better to wait longer and be prepared to avoid going through this aversion conditioning (basically making me want to never try this again). But another month or two later it seems Ok – no blood pressure spikes, new ideas that start crawling around.

Anyways, what was the point?

Ah, that as opposed to this community organising thing, which I somehow just tried for the sake of making mistakes, I haven’t done the same with regards to couching or consulting, and that maybe it’s better that way. Maybe there’s more at stake for other people – if I just stop organising an event, it’s fine: there isn’t really an obligation to anyone. If a more personal consulting relationship gets stressful or complex, I guess I should at least be well-prepared to have a decent way to end it.

Actually, I remember now why I’m not doing it: because I actually “just tried” with something different but similar before, and I realised that there are complexities (at least for me) in it. I once did a round of free Ayurvedic consultations for an organic food cooperative in Warsaw – it was fun, but I also learnt that I can run into “weird” people that I don’t really know how to deal with, and who can affect me (because of my then even more massive hyper-empathy) quite strongly. I also tried something similar with somatic bodywork in Berlin – and the effect was similar; I got quite affected by people. And then there is that weirdest of all stint as something similar to a psychic while I was in the Polish countryside – that’s the thing I got the most positive feedback on (people pursuing me with phone calls and offering money when I didn’t ask for any), but a range of weird incidents (some are on this blog actually) told me that this is playing with fire (without a firefighter training :D).

I think maybe for me 1-on-1 relationships with new and somewhat random people are very interesting, but they can also be something of a trip. That’s probably why I’m holding back from “just trying” a round of neurodiversity & queer coaching, even though I would be able to at the very least provide informed understanding and discussion.

Why am I saying this? Ah, because it’s on my mind and friends’ mind. Because I’m doing the DEI (“emotions”) training and wonder if perhaps I should try, using it as a springboard. Because I’m reading another marketing book, recommended by these folks, which is actually different from the spammy and scammy – to my autistic gut feeling – coaching marketing advice I’ve read before. Thinking if there’s a way to do it without fake promises, pretending to be more competent than I am (but also finding a way to put my nebulous competences into words), and sleazy manipulative internet copy writing. Kind of honestly.

I’ve seen and read a couple of articles about “marketing with integrity” and “authenticity” and stuff (one of which is Martha Beck, ambivalent relationship), and it didn’t convince me. Seemed fake and a bit lying-to-yourself. As the DEI people would say, my authentic shame (conscience) comes up. So I wonder if there’s a way to pull off such a vague online-coaching / consulting thing honestly, or whether it’s better to just focus on getting some honest profession … such as bookkeeping (joke), but perhaps focusing on my translation micro-business, or perhaps doing a proper therapist training if I really want to work with “atypical” people (but that costs as much as a house; plus I know some people who did and were still useless for me as a queer migrant autistic).

I actually did some trial copy writing on https://autisticnaturalhealth.wordpress.com/ to see how people would take it. That’s using the old, somewhat sleazy marketing approach. Maybe less sleazy than some, but still not really my style. Doesn’t feel honest.

Marketing myself as a psychic might feel more authentic 😀

What’s the problem? I think perhaps my particular sense of humour or my penchant for informality might make this hard. Even in the translations business, it really pains me to have to appear formal and professional. Factual and to the point, yes. But overly serious and authoritative, less emotive and less subjective and quirky – much harder or impossible. Less ambivalent and sometimes inappropriate about stuff? Like, I like talking about nonsense. I like to point out the nonsense when it’s supposed to be sense. Is there a way to get away with that kind of personal style in some profession, or made-up 21st century “profession”?

I read somewhere … ah, I remember, in “Gravitas” by Caroline Goyder, assigned course reading (not that it helped) … that to find your “voice” (whether as a speaker or author) it’s good to just write. Randomly. Every day or so. Kind of like the “Artist’s Way” method (had the book at a point and still don’t get what the hype is about). Goyder says that just by writing whatever, something happens in the mind and emotions and perhaps soul that helps you to find yourself and your favourite topics and your best, most natural manner of thinking, speaking, communicating. Guess I can use her point to justify this blog post, if otherwise it somewhat lacks justification – an ongoing reflection.

If any of the people following me is in this kind of business or has any thoughts or experiences, certainly curious about comments.

11 thoughts on “Capitalism and honesty

  1. I’ve found doing spiritual or psychic work, and the type of clientele it brings in, usually offers leniency regarding behaviour others would consider “eccentric”. When you’re working with spirits (or abilities viewed as anything from make-believe to the astounding), a little bit of personal flare is expected.

    An important thing to remember if you’re going to approach something that requires a sensitive and intense side of yourself, make it your own and be comfortable. You can’t properly help others if you’re occupied with maintaining appearances outside your element.

    Besides, while helping others is an important role, it doesn’t always have to be a serious one. As one who’s read a lot of related material, things like spiritual, psychic or “magic” work are often accompanied with great heaviness, soaked in expectation. They forget to include the child aspect within us all, one of unrelenting belief and love, who’s the catalyst for creation and imagination (two tools necessary when bridging gaps).

    So have fun and make it your honest self. You may be surprised how well you flow within the right environment. ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot for your input and wisdom.

      You’re right about the folks who get drawn to “spiritual” stuff – they usually respond positively to quirks or even see them as some kind of sign of being the chosen one (joke; but there seems to be some kind of tendency in certain kinds of New Age folks to want to put up some kind of hierarchy, which is kind of a bit the reverse of the mainstream hierarchy, the stranger the better). This sometimes makes me uneasy. But yeah, compared to being in academia surrounded by “scientific” (actually often sort of rigid and unquestioning) folks it can be a relief.

      One sentence really spoke to me: “You can’t properly help others if you’re occupied with maintaining appearances outside your element.”

      You have a point I think. It’s also something that applied to other areas of life – it’s not a good thing to have too big a portion of your brain occupied by how not to stand out too much. Within limits of safety obviously. Will think about this.

      Like

  2. Love to hear that you found a way to consult with an older autistic person. I so wish I could do this! But at 63 what are the chances 🤷‍♀️. Most of the women whose experience I’d like to learn from have likely gone through life undiagnosed, as I have. As you said, the #AA umbrella offers a very healing way of making sense of a whole lot of things & I wish more of us could use it.

    I’ve been seeing a therapist at the local ‘AutisticSpectrumDisorder’ clinic. It’s been great to talk with someone who gets the sensory sensitivities & overwhelm stuff without my having to explain it, but she clearly sees all of this from the outside. She doesn’t get it. Add to this that I’m way more familiar with the research than she is, & bc it’s been my profession, a far more critical reader. And she’s 20 years younger than me – that’s 20 years less experience of try to make sense of this shitstorm. There’s so much she just doesn’t see. All of which keeps everything on a fairly superficial level & really limits the scope of our sessions.

    I envy you your older consultant! As always, thanks for sharing your journey

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Meg, thanks a lot for your reflections and story.

      I can relate to your frustrations about the therapist. As mentioned, I also tried a couple of them and it was an awkward dance – kind of living in parallel worlds. I’m not sure whether the therapist I currently have is just exceptionally empathic and intelligent (she clearly is) or whether she might be on the spectrum or close to it herself – it’s obvious that she’s extremely sensitive, which is what drew me to her initially (ok, apart from the special financial conditions she offered based on her leftist solidarity with queer people :D).

      Also, at this point I had kind of given up on therapists and switched to relying just on locating good people in normal life and doing as much healing in normal, non-paid relationships as possible (was always a bit awkward with the idea of paying basically for someone listening to me, which is what therapy seemed like before. Now I am Ok with paying for a specific advanced skill set that this woman obviously has.).

      I think “elders” are invaluable, esp. for folks in various diasporas (incl. the autistic one). Can be so hard to come by constructive role models and useful (not harmful) advice. A small upside is perhaps that at least I’ve discovered that it’s sometimes still possible to play a mentoring role for “younger” (less experienced in some respect) people even if one hasn’t received much useful mentoring. This can be satisfying and a growth experience in itself.

      Like

  3. I find it hard to do stuff for money that I would usually do from the heart, like counselling or spiritual or body work. It feels weird to get money for something I want to do anyways and it is also difficult to conform to externally defined standards on how a session should look like – starting with simple things like how the bathroom should look like when you do body work related stuff.

    So I would prefer to have stuff like that happen within a gift economy, where people give what they can and I give what I can. Or even better, to be kind of “employed” by a community and then simply available for whoever within the community needs something. Since this is hard to find, I prefer to get money for stuff I don’t care about and give that other stuff to friends for free.

    Like

    1. I think if you can get enough money from stuff you aren’t personally too invested in, without it eating up so much of your energy and time that you aren’t capable of doing stuff you do care about, that’s a good solution.

      I also think it’s basically freeing to give and share some stuff just because you want to (because you think it’s right, useful, fun, whatever) and to focus just on the purpose, and not on how you’re going to package it up in a marketable way so as to justify getting paid for it.

      I personally don’t mind getting paid for stuff I do anyways, at least it has happened a couple of times that someone randomly wanted to pay me (more) when I didn’t expect it, and I just found that to be a nice gesture that means they appreciated stuff. If we’re talking about ideal worlds, I think that could perhaps be my ideal business model: doing stuff free because it’s right / feels good, and from time to time getting an unexpected solid donation from someone who found it awesome 😀

      Like

      1. Hey, I was wondering if you could join my Email list. I add my family (I call followers, family) to it so I can keep in touch. You know, sometimes, when we don’t really get in touch through blogging, There would be the Email list, to continue our friendship bond💐

        So what do you think?😃
        Could you please join?

        http://eepurl.com/gW_SiD

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s