… Because It’s Private

This message was sent to subscribers by email september 17th.


from me:

i don’t have it ‘all together’ – nobody does. everyone you know has had struggles of one kind or another. we don’t share our problems on social media. we don’t talk about it in the pick-up line at school.

but in every home on your street, every single one, there is debt or addiction or infidelity or mental health issues or eating disorder or neuro-atypical children or abuse or pathological lying.

it’s not always huge, it’s often not in your face, but it’s there. the lovely lady you see at work, the one with the fancy hair and nails — she’s had struggles, personal, private.

that everyone doesn’t share their private struggles doesn’t mean they’re not there. it means they’re private. and as soon as you search for ‘how to quit drinking’ online, you find out that it’s not just you. you can rant and rave ‘why aren’t people TALKING about how they drink too much’ but that’d be like saying ‘why didn’t she ever talk about how her partner had a gambling problem, or how her daughter thinks she’s a man and they’re worried about how she’ll be bullied at school.’

why don’t they talk about it? Because it’s private.

and facebook? facebook is the opposite of private. facebook is: “here’s me on my best day, or my worst day, but only what I choose to show you.” it’s not their literal worst day, it’s the version they’re willing to share. 

of course i don’t have it all together. nobody does. and if they act like they do, they’re lying. we all have insecurities, burdens, or struggles that we have overcome. i’m out of debt, i’m sober 6 years, and i still struggle to get dressed because i work from home. last week? 5 out of 6 days i worked in my jammies, showered, got back into my jammies. yesterday we went outside – in the great outdoors – to see the Led Zeppelin show at le Bon Marche and it was … well, as you’d expect a led zeppelin art show to be. i read books and looked at the expensive coats while he looked at 150€ band t-shirts. then we left and got lunch and ate in the park. today, it’s 2:43 pm local time, i’m in my jammies. haven’t been outside yet. that window is surely closing… but i’m sober. at 5 pm i’ll walk out to take paintings to the post office. and some days being sober and going to the post office is enough. 

notes from my inbox:

Y: “I panicked a bit there as I couldn’t find the way out on the two right hand side quarter paintings – I thought Mr B had forgotten to put an exit. But I then found them. But really, it did make me panic, like I was pushing the paint away looking for a way out – that’s scary. Powerful paintings.”

hernoodlyness: “Failed again this weekend. How do I go about signing up for my second round of penpal happiness? I am so anxious today, I cannot even function. Time to sort this shit out again.”

V: “Lurker here.  Like commenter “J” on your post – I too find your emails inspiring and helpful. However I totally disagree with her on whether you should be promoting your husband’s paintings. Of course promote them. Trying to sell paintings doesn’t diminish your good intent, much of what you do is for free. You didn’t take a vow of poverty, you spread the word of sobriety. I can’t imagine your husband is rolling in the dough on the proceeds of his painting sales.  And so what if he is, making a living off your creative work doesn’t make it less authentic.”

Harlow: “I don’t seem to be doing so well belle. I need to regroup and try harder. Today is a new day one and I’m not feeling good. The wheels are starting to fall off again, I’m losing perspective, momentum and motivation. I don’t know why. It feels so good being sober compared to this.”

S: “Dear Belle, You send emails to us regardless if we have paid, with amazing advice. Your husband has supported you when you have been at your lowest. I think it’s lovely the community you are building and the life you are sharing. So to all those cynical people just stop and support this artist who is finding his time. I suggest to do an exhibition. How powerful is this message … Girl from Bunbury ❤”



80% of what i do is free. daily message like this one, live radio shows. i send newsletters things in the mail. i record one-minute audio messages. the other 20% of things i do are paid, and of course you don’t have to do the paid stuff. you don’t 😉 you can do the free stuff. like the Duck Ponderings audios. there are 13 free audios about ‘behind the scenes’ stuff. Sign up on this page to access all 13 FREE Duck Pondering audios at once.

if you’re looking for a paid thing, because, you know, you feel compelled, then i have 4 of these brand new Stay Here bracelets in gold. I ordered them as a trial, and only got a few. i was worried they’d be too thin and tiny to support the hearts on the ends, but it worked out fine, and i might even order more. anyway. do NOT feel compelled to purchase a gold Stay Here bracelet. in fact, you can get a brass one instead. or nothing. you can put an elastic around your wrist. that’s free 🙂


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012