Updated: Jan 30
I've been on the road since the end of March-ish. Can't remember when, but does that really matter? Time according to the corporate calendar no longer applies when you're running your own gig striving for a separation from the day-to-day bustle of more than 90% of the population. I guess for me to tell this story, I need to start with what happened for me to end up in a rusted up GMC with two cats and my pc. Sometime in 2008, after leaving an abusive relationship, a house, a boat, 3 cars, and 2 motorcyles (I kept the cat, go figure), I decided to, or atleast thought I was, take control of my life.
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, BABY!
I bought a 300$ 3 piece suit, drew up a CV with my customer service experience, and walked myself into the Royal Bank of Canada. I guess the suit worked; the branch manager referred me to Royal Direct, and thus shifted my career from operating vegetable transformation lines in a factory, to finance. A complete 180, and man was I proud. Flash forward 9 months into that and things started to take off. Raises, 5k bonuses, an Elite Banker award - my career plan was made and a goal was set: I was going to be corporate account manager in the Cayman Islands: Show me the money!!!
Right. Where was I. Ah yes!
THE MAPLE SPRING
2012. It's what would become known as the Maple Spring. Rivers of students filling the streets of Montreal, chanting, screaming, demanding change. Every night at the same time, I woud finish my shift at work and walk out into this unbelievable crowd:
The 4th building from the left? Light grey? THERE.
Why were they outside? I started to research and found something alarming, and rightfully so: student debt was through the roof, tuition kept rising, and these kids were graduating from university with more debt than there starting salaries could provide for. They wanted a freeze on tuition and intended to keep the city a buzz with protest until that happened.
They were not wrong and at that moment began my interest in our public debt. I joined the students for over 80 protests, getting gassed and beaten by the SPVM (Montreal Police) alongside the 100's of thousands that were out.
MONEY AS DEBT
Sometime in September of that year, something stopped my life dead in its tracks. I won't get into the details in this article, but I'll say this: I was put on a chemically induced menopause. I was put off work and drugged up but above all, left to ponder my own thoughts, for what I think, was the first time in my life. No outside influence. No teachers or bosses - just me. My then partner in life Andre (son of once finance Minister Carlos Leitao - other story), made a documentary suggestion. Money As Debt:
After watching this, I finally understood what money was. Something else happened inside me unknowingly, that would appear in a dramatic way upon my attempted return to work (we'll get to that shortly).
HOW DO WE KILL IT?
Ok, so our money is debt in transit, the public debt is a total fraud... how do we kill it? This question lead to a wonderful story about this nordic country you may have heard of: Iceland. Did you know Iceland let their banks fail? Did you know they basically voided their national debt and started their economy over again?
My mind blew to bits. OK. So I know we have bad debt. I know it's possible to jail those fuckers. How? How do we do this? Hope, restored? Not quite - yet. I learned more about the Bank of Canada, the Bank Act, COmer, and how public debt was created in Canada. It still didn't answer my question, but damn did I learn a lot. I learned that the BoC no longer issued our public credit; the private banks did. I learned that the interest rate we were being charged was worse than that on a credit card, with no grace period. 1.125% may not be much, BUT IT'S A FUCK TON ON A BILLION DOLLAR LOAN.
Almost a year into this medical madness I'm living, I am finally ready to attempt a return to work. My therapist prescribed performing to me (I swear this is true! I used to perform rap covers - still do every so often - and she PRESCRIBED the stage to me.) and the next thing I knew, I was ready to get back to building my career at RBC. My principles, however, had a different plan.
Right! So, I walk back into my office cubicle on that fateful day and take on the 1st task; reading all the emails I missed over the last months. Thousands. Of emails. I didn't get past the first 50 before my career ended in a rather fascinating way. First, I read an email about business banking service fees going up for our clients on June 1st. This happens every year, by the way. This time around, I was having issues figuring out HOW I was going to explain this yet again to our clients.
The next email I received was a congratulatory one flaunting our PROFITS for the last quarter. An increase of 73%. SEVENTY THREE! My brain fried. How in the fuck are we making so much money yet continually eating up the little guy, the small business owner, the backbone of society, with service fees? My body starting convulsing. I went into a full-blown panic attack at my desk. Having learned coping techniques from my menopause therapy (I was having serious side effects from Lupron Depot - did you know that's what we're giving kids who think they're trans? We also use this to castrate pedophiles... FYI), I did my thing and gained control of myself - but someone noticed.
My boss. There she was, leaning on the corner of my cubicle, observing with worried eyes at the scene I had just given her.
Nat, are you OK?
Lara, I'm fine, but I think my time here, isn't.
And that was it. The bank cushioned my way out due to the reasons of me leaving; I could not cope with the banking system robbing businesses. This blog article is probably what they were hoping to avoid.
There it was. At 30 years of age, I threw out my life plan and jumped into nothingness. Not. A fucking. Thing. And THAT is when my brain started to shift. I understood at THAT MOMENT if we just listened to our inner voices more, we would quickly understand that our minds can not cope very well when working against our own principles, whether we realize it or not. I felt I was robbing all of the clients I ever spoke to, but now my brain was awake enough to realize it (with a little push from the bank's therapist). It went something like this:
So I had a panic attack at work. The profits vs. charges broke me.
Nat, you know how you get so passionate when you talk about politics, even dare I say, angry? How your tone goes up with your heart rate? This happens when our day to day lives come into conflict with our beliefs, our principles.
Most never realize it and live a life in constant shifts between anger and happiness. You just realized it at work and your body responded with a panic attack.
Needless to say - the bank was paying her to get me BACK to work. Ironic, isn't it? So that's the story of when I started my path to anarchism that lead me to the #vanlife I live right now. My new life goals? Build a business: done. Be my own boss and travel the world, starting with North America in a van? In progress. And before you judge anarchism, let's make sure we understand each other:
Belief in the abolition of all government and the organization of society on a voluntary, cooperative basis without recourse to force or compulsion.
À la prochaine,