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Fishbowl Life and Confrontation

It's been a few weeks since I wrote this one and I wanted to update it to add some longer term reflections. They will all be in this lovely plum color. Update to the update in red. I have zero respect for liars.

I place a lot of value in standing in my truth and speaking up for what I believe is correct, especially when it's something I could possibly impact, and even when it ruffles the feathers of others.

So I offer you a story of what it's like to be an expat, living in a fishbowl, and navigating confrontation.

A quick catch up just in case you’re new around here: We found Human Design (the science of differentiation—you becoming you), sold almost everything we owned, and moved to Ecuador to decondition from the false self, live according to our strategy and authority, and play out our experiment.

We landed in a big city but then moved to a super tiny pueblo for the experience of isolation so that we could go even deeper into finding out how to more fully live, heal, and love as our true selves, free from the influences of the outside world.

When we were ready to reemerge into society, we moved again. This time to a small tourist town, famous for its leather making, and with a small and mostly retired expat community.

This is how we came to know life in a fishbowl.

I grew up in a fishbowl and it goes to reason that experience is coloring this one, at least to some extent.

Due to certain aspects of my design, I’m already on the paranoid side. This makes me a little awkward in social situations. I enjoy a little bit of anonymity. Of which there is very little to be found here.

This is all still very true. I'm learning to relate to others in healthier ways and the more I come out of the shadow of the deep healing work I've been navigating over the last few years, the less paranoid I am becoming.

Duly noted.

It wasn’t long before we became very aware of the fishbowl situation. There are many observers here. It sometimes feels as though actions and conversations are being recorded to later be replayed.

For the most part, we get to live in a tranquil and charming little town, beautifully situated between 2 volcanoes. It’s pretty easy place to live and work and we are super grateful that Ecuador allows us to live here.

It helps keep the fishbowl feelings at a lower volume.

Or, at least, it did.

One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people seem to be opposed to direct confrontation or the ruffling of feathers. Keep the peace, but maybe complain about it to others. There is some degree of tea spilling as well. People sharing intimate details of other people's lives without stopping to ask if those stories are theirs to tell.

I had previously pointed out expats and that wasn't fare. I think this is proably true in general regarding life in a small town. I'm speaking from my experience and the things I've seen and heard, but that doesn't mean it's representative of an entire community. I've met quite a few people that are quite lovely, creating lives they enjoy, and shining their light in the world and I am grateful for them.

Afterall, and if you’re familiar with the enneagram, I am an 8, The Challenger. When we were first introduced to the enneagram, Matt was surprised that I even needed to read the description, let alone take the test to find out my type.

According to the Enneagram Institute, Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering.

This is especially true if I feel as though I’m being manipulated, disrespected, lied to, or taken advantage of. Or, if any of those things are happening to people I love or others that don’t have the capacity to speak up for themselves.

In other words, I’m less “take the high road” and more “fuck around and find out” in these situations, where others seem to be more willing to take whatever is thrown at them and suffer in silence or complain to others.

This corresponds to my Human Design Chart as well. With 7 out of 9 centers defined, I’m pretty secure in who I am, I know when I’m right, and I’m fully capable of affecting change when it’s something I know I can impact.

One thing we did not prioritize nearly enough when it came to our return to society was the importance of outdoor living space.

After 8 months of practically living outside in Malacatos, we’ve been struggling with our arrangement in Cotacachi.

Our options up to this point had been to sit on the front porch, close to the dirt road and in the midst of the hubbub associated with the home improvement projects of our neighbors or to carry camp chairs up to the open terrace above our garage.

Neither of which were ideal.

So, after 8 months of life without hammocks, my crafty husband built a bamboo tripod to place on the terrace so that we could once again return to outdoor living.

We never saw it coming that something seemingly so small and inconsequential, that brings us so much joy, could incite such drama in our neighborhood.

A few days ago and while on our afternoon walk with Lucas, Matt shared with me that the Property Manager called to let him know that neighbors had complained about our hammock hanging structure and that we had to take it down.

Matt was resigned. He’s a Peacemaker according to the enneagram. We are not the same.

He was also rather incredulous that a group of economic refugees living on a dirt road in a developing country would take issue with such a thing.

But not say anything to us, rather only about us.

While he was resigned, I was infuriated.

I knew the section of the lease the Property Manager quoted and I felt sure it was being misconstrued.

When we returned home I decided to visit the only neighbor that could impacted by the hammock stand.

I have emotional authority.

In my initial Human Design reading, my consultant jokingly suggested that anytone with emotional authority should sleep on it before killing anyone, in order to reach emotional neutrality.

I was not neutral when I stated my intentions.

Matt asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to wait?”

“Yes, I’m sure,” I responded.

I took off in the rain and rang their bell.

I asked, “Did you call our property manager to complain about our hammock stand and ask them to tell us to take it down?”

He says that he did not. He said a lot more, but that’s the part that’s relevant.

Do I believe him?

I want to. I do. All of our neighbors have ensured us that they had no problem and voiced no complaint. What really happened will remain a mystery. Update: I do not. They lied right to my face and at least a couple others were more than happy to cover for them. One neighbor specifically called me out on the video we shared to our Flynn's on the Fly regarding this topic, letting me know that we were too complainy, that nobody said anything and that even if they did I shouldn't be bothered about what other people say and then proceeded to tell me more about how bothered he was by what we said. This is a person who, when I touched his arm while talking to him last year, forcefully moved my hand down to his abs and they down towards his private parts, saying something like, "if you think this is hard, you should feel this," before I was able to pull my hand away. He also outright lied to another neighbor and then proceeded to be super mean to her, and called another a cunt. Yet, called me a hypocrite because of something someone else said that I said. I have no patience for these sort of shenanigans. Tomorrow we move into a house that has a wall all the way around it and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this.

(Picture of the ruined view)

I leave and turn to go to another neighbors to find out more. My body stops me. I attempt to visit a different neighbor and my body stops me again.

Was my emotional authority asking to be heard and telling me to wait? Or was my intuition telling me that no support would be found. I’m thinking it was a combination of both. I’m hoping it was the former. It was my authority breaking through the paranoia and telling me to take my ass home. I'm so glad I listened.

I stew a little while longer and then I decide to forward our lease to an attorney we had previously worked with to solicit his professional advice.

He responded within 20 minutes and assured us that we did not need to take it down.

He’s probably a challenger too. His response was pretty flippant. I probably should have censored it before I forwarded it to the owner and property manager, but I did not. I regret not paraphrasing and I apologized for that.

Two days later, I was still pretty upset that neither of them responded to the complaints by saying, “Of course they are going to utilize the outdoor space available to them.”

So I emailed them.

I thought I was being mostly diplomatic. I didn't say 1/2 the things I wanted to say. I probably should have said even less. I definitely should have said less.

The property manager responded by calling Matt, letting him know that she preferred not to communicate with me, that she was a sensitive soul, and that she was only trying to keep the peace. I don't blame her.

The phone was on speaker and I was laying in a hammock right next to him

Yes, I thought. You want to keep your peace and the peace of the neighbors, but you don’t seem to care so much about our peace. That is what it seemed like.

Was it an asshole move to send that email?

Probably. It most definitely was.

But, sometimes things have to be said. I will take things on the chin when it’s appropriate. This wasn’t that. And I'm learning that I can be heard without being mean.

Do I regret not censoring the lawyer’s response or waiting before I sent the email?

Nope. Yes, yes I do. And I've apologized for that too.

I slept better the last 2 nights than I have in a while. I mean, I am sleeping very well. 🤷🏻‍♀️

But how differently this entire thing could have unfolded if others had decided to talk to us rather than about us. It would have saved me from writing this blog post and then having to update it. 🤣

Upon revisiting this story, it feels a little disjointed to me. Yes, we live in a very small town. Our experience with our neighbors, well most of them, had been great prior to this and I'm still a little sad that seeds of mistrust were unnecessarily planted. They are a wonderful and entertaining group of people and I'm grateful to have had the experience of getting to know them. As I reemerge into society I'm finding that my paranoia is starting to ease and it doesn't seem to be fueling so much social anxiety. Which is long as the sharing of this blog hasn't shot me in the foot,I a m hopeful about connecting with more people in the bigger community outside of this neighborhood. I promise not to write a blog about all of our interactions.

So, why am I sharing all of this?

Because you may find that these scenarios are relevant in your own life and because we are in the midst of an energetic planetary shift that is impacting everyone.

If you have a challenging time communicating directly and handling the responses of others without taking them personally, this could be a good time to take a look at that. This makes confrontation completely avoidable.

2027 is coming.

If you’re not active in Human Design circles, you may not have heard about the changes that are coming with it.

For the last 400 years or so, the frequency that’s been running in the background of our Earthly experience has been tribal in nature.

Concessions are made and resources are fortified for the survival and benefit of the tribe.

In 2027 we complete the shift out of this background frequency and we move into a new one.

One that is all about the rise of the individual.

The spotlight will no longer be on the tribe and whether or not it survives.

And we have been seeing signs of this for a while.

Tribal organizations are crumbling. Religious institutions are losing power, governments are failing, and corporations have shown that their allegiances are to the bottom line.

My dad worked the same job for decades until he retired. He had a pension and benefits.

This is almost unheard of today. Pensions and benefits have diminished and employees are becoming less and less willing to work like slaves in toxic environments for companies that do not care about them.

The individual is rising.

Have you noticed this trend in your own experiences? Do your group dynamics seem to be shifting? Are the people in your life less willing to go along for the benefit of the tribe at the expense of themselves?

I do believe that the rise of the individual could be a beautiful thing.

If we all love ourselves, live authentically, and create lives we love, it would be amazing for everyone.

The problem is that most of us are living as our false self. And that’s going to make the rise of the individual challenging to bear.

So, if you’ve been considering focusing more on yourself and your needs and your own healing, then now would be a pretty good time to start or further your efforts.

One thing is for sure, focusing on what another chooses to do or not do, will likely not get you what you want.

And, if you are currently relying on others to forgo what is correct for them to instead do what is correct for you, I’m guessing you’re having a challenging time.

If you are curbing what is correct for you because you think you are supposed to acquiesce to the needs of others...I’m guessing you may be on the verge of rage.

Would you like to turn your awareness inward, live authentically, love yourself, and heal from the things you’ve experienced?

If so, I would love to be your guide. Schedule your Start session today.

And, if I’m not the correct guide for you, that’s OK! Find someone who is.

Or, if you’d rather navigate this journey on your own, consider enrolling in the School for Active Deconditioning. Begin here.

As always, I love interacting with you and hearing your perspectives! Share in the comments.

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