I generally take my dogs outside around the same time in the mornings. And each weekday morning, for a number of years, my dogs have decided to bark towards a neighbor’s yard across the field.
I’ve looked each morning, scolding them, because I saw nothing of importance. I thought they were just barking at the wind so I told them to hush and be still.
Today as I sat on my stoop I happened to be examining the clouds in the distance when the dogs started their routine cacophony. Out of habit, I turned my eyes toward the yard…
…but this time I noticed something different.
Just beyond and to the right of that particular yard happens to be the entrance of one of our local water treatment plants. Moving around that entrance was a worker, opening the gates for the day.
Had my eyes followed their normal routine I would have never spotted him. He was far enough out of my normal focus that he would have remained unseen. Yet by changing my routine, changing the focus of where my eyes habitually go that man came into view.
I’ve spent this past decade scolding my pets for barking at that hour and in that direction. I spent this past decade scolding my pets for barking at nothing.
But they weren’t barking at nothing. They just saw something that I didn’t.
The same thing happened to me after Katie became an adult a few years ago. To settle the lost feeling I felt, I began to change my routine. I took a job, I read new books, I researched articles that I’d never thought to research in the past. I even started college.
I changed the focus of my mind as a result of those actions. And when I changed my focus I began to see things about our society that had previously passed unnoticed. During my research, I stumbled upon something that has shattered me.
Remember when I launched my grand goal to demonstrate that even the poorest among the poor could become wealthy? Remember even earlier, when I preached that we all just needed to live within our means? Remember when I announced that anyone could change their circumstances if they only worked hard enough?
I was convinced, completely convinced, that each and every one of those statements were true. I devoted my entire past life to proving the veracity of my beliefs. I spent this last decade, even longer, preaching those beliefs to you.
But when I shifted my focus I realized that I was wrong. There were things happening in the distance that I had not seen from my viewpoint because I had failed to shift the direction of my focus.
When my eyes finally traveled the right path they revealed to me a truth I found horrifying. A truth that I didn’t want to admit. I tried to turn away, tried to do the “business as usual” routine but I couldn’t. Once I spotted the truth, I was so disgusted that I could not look away.
My daughters must believe that I suffered some sort of mental breakdown over these past few months. I know some of my friends do. Because I went from chasing it “all” to where I stand today.
I quit my job and I lied to you when I did it. I lied to everyone. I told you I had enough coming in from my book royalties to surivive but the reality is a bit different. I was so horrified, so frightened that I couldn’t even process what was happening. So instead of revealing that I’d quit my job to supplement my income with my savings, I lied to everyone and inflated my income. I desperately needed to think, and in order to think I needed to remove the pressure that would have been placed upon me if I had revealed the truth. I needed to not only process what I had uncovered, but to make a decision about what to do with my discovery.
That lie is the reason I have not completed the book I promised to complete. That lie stuck in my throat and the words refused to come. I do not regret that lie but it is time to come clean. While it was a matter of mental survival at that point, I find the burden of that lie to be unbearable. It is time to explain my actions and accept the consequences of my misdeed.
When I began to change my focus to study the wealthy, the nature of business, and the stock market, I realized that the game has been rigged. Despite my father’s assertion that I could be anything I wanted to be, despite the fact that I have heard time and again that I can change my circumstances if I try hard enough and do enough work, the fact is that these statements are false.
I have been lied to my whole entire life. I am horrified and heartbroken and more than a bit embarrassed at the fact that I’ve preached those lies to the entire world my whole entire life. And I am not the only one who has been lied to. I suspect you’ve been lied to as well.
That is why the tone of my posts have changed. That’s also why I have been more than a bit erratic, because the pain I feel is so raw right now that I’ve yet to calm down. I am so upset, so furious at the truth I’ve discovered that I want to destroy it all. I have become the cat who has noticed the vase and I want so desperately to knock it down and see it shatter.
We are not poor because we choose to be. We do not struggle because we choose to struggle. If we pare our expenses to the bone, as I have, there is only so far down they can go. While frugality does help, it is not the solution to the problem.
The reason that we are poor and scared and broke is not because we’ve not done enough to improve our circumstances. The reason we are poor and scared and broke is because we have been brainwashed into believing that we are somehow wrong.
Want to score a date with the right person? Get the cosmetic surgery, have the hair colored, get the right cut and style and you will be good enough for them to notice you.
Want to score the right job, the job that will allow you to pay all of your bills with money to spare? Get the degree, buy the wardrobe, speak and act in a certain way and your path will be golden. You’ll never have to worry about money again. Don’t worry about the debt you’ll incur as you do this; you’ll be able to pay it all off with ease once you earn your fortune.
Want to live like “normal” people live? Buy the six-figure house and the $50,000 car. Go out to eat at the fancy places. Wear the little boutique clothing. Watch your labels! Work the job, get the promotions, raise the kids, clean the house. Buy the tablets and the gadgets and the stuff. The person with the most toys wins. Anyone else is a failure.
Do you know why we’ve been taught to believe these things? We have been taught to believe these things because they keep us quiet. It is hard to protest against something when it’s our own damn fault we’re in our mess, isn’t it?
But it isn’t our fault. You see, when we spend our lives pursuing these things and believing those beliefs, our focus is so great that we miss the man operating just outside our line of vision. Just as I missed seeing that man open those gates each morning, we miss seeing the truth of what is happening.
We have been led to believe the things we believe not because they benefit us or are even true. We’ve been led to believe these things because they inspire us to take actions that keep that man behind the curtain in power. With each and every one of these actions, we work to make him richer and give him more control. From behind that curtain, he is using us in a plan that I can barely comprehend.
Let me explain.
Check into the names of the stuff you buy every day and you will discover that those brands are owned by corporations. Those corporations are owned by other corporations, which in turn are frequently owned by even another corporation and so forth. Like tiny little nesting dolls, this chain of corporate confusion is being used to funnel the money you give them to a very dark purpose.
It’s hard to track. I barely scratched the surface during my research but if you look closely you will start to see it. Companies take over other companies by buying up their stock; if one corporation buys below a certain number of shares they don’t even have to report the specifics. So if the person in charge of one corporation buys several other corporations, then uses those corporations to buy some more corporations, he can ultimately use all of the corporations in that chain to buy stock below the limit of what they have to report, in a method that is not only completely legal, but obfuscated to a degree that we don’t have a clue about what is happening.
It is by that method that a unknown number of people are trying to take over the world.
All of the money from all of those corporations is being funneled up the chain to one or more people who are so rich that they aren’t just after the money now. Their primary goal is to corner the markets to consolidate their power. They are currently using the funds to influence our politicians through lobbyists, campaign donations, back-scratching, and other methods of control.
I know that I sound like a conspiracy fanatic. This is why I went off the deep end for a time. I didn’t want to believe what I had uncovered during my research. I certainly didn’t want to be labeled a nutcase, so I tried to keep the knowledge to myself and just go on with my life but I can’t.
I can’t. I tried and I’m sorry but I can’t.
Because in this case to keep silent would be wrong. To keep silent would be to allow them to continue to grow their power until they manage to conquer the entire world. I don’t know what their plans are once they accomplish this but what little I discovered has left me terrified.
I don’t know how to fix this. It’s so far beyond my comprehension that I don’t have a clue. All I know is this. Every single dollar we use, every single purchase we make to the corporations in question is being used to fund their actions. And they have hidden their tracks very well.
This is why the rich have become so much richer these past few years. They are draining us, sucking us dry as they move to shift the pieces into place. This is why I began to beg of you to become more thoughtful with your purchases. This is why I have been acting erratic and have altered the course of my life.
I feel as if I’ve stumbled off a cliff and gone into freefall.
I hope you understand my actions a bit more now. And if you have any idea about how to handle this, I would appreciate it if you would let me know because, to be blunt, I am scared completely shitless.
Have I gone completely insane?
It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.
I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:
Barnes and Noble
16 thoughts on “The Man Behind the Curtain”
I’ve been saying this for years but was told to be quiet and told what an idiot I was for believing such things. You’re not alone in this my friend. I will help all I can and the “powers that be” be damned!
Thank you. I had to stop digging after I reached a certain point. It was making me insane.
Maybe now you understand why I’ve acted so oddly here lately.
Annie, I have been reading your blog and books for years and noticed that you did have a shift in focus after Katy graduated. You veered from the course that had served you so well while you were raising Katy.
I forgive you for your temporary insanity. lol. You were hijacked and you bought into the endless pursuit of the American dream
The lies you believed- the poor could be wealthy, too, live within your means as a way to wealth, work hard and you can change your circumstances- are all lies we are being told by the 1%, the elite. We are told these lies by our parents, friends, teachers, bosses because they believe the same lies.
We are being told that we live in the land of opportunity where everyone can be wealthy if they work hard enough. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps we are admonished.
(Here is a very interesting article on the history of that phrase https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/pulling-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-is-actually-impossible )
America may have been the land of opportunity 400 years ago but the scum has risen to the top and the rules of the game are stacked against us. Our government has been taken over by the rich who have absolutely no idea on how the 99% live. And I don’t think they give a damn.
You are so right- we are taught that our failure to rise out of poverty is our fault. We are being exploited each and every day as we try to be a member of society.
There are hands in our pockets, our bank accounts, stealing from us on a daily basis- using the paltry sums in our bank accounts, our 401K to make obscene amounts of interests while we ourselves get pennies, if anything at all.
Nothing is free and we are getting nickled and dimed to death trying to make ends meet, much less get ahead.
No, you are not a conspiracy fanatic. It is happening. The elite, the 1%, want all the money, all the power. Money has become synonymous with power.
I think the first step we need to take is to no longer associate power with money. And, as you wrote, stop giving money to the corporations. Buy local, grow your own, work in your community garden, volunteer at the food banks. Help your neighbor. The world is huge and the problem is overwhelming when we think of it – we can’t change it from the top down but we can work from the bottom up by helping each other.
Stop chasing the American dream because it is all a lie.
Thank you, Essie. This issue has weighed upon me for a long time. One of the reasons I was so excited to attend college was the hope that a college education would help me to understand, help prove to myself that I was over-reacting. I wanted to further my research in secret to prove to myself that I was wrong.
I didn’t set out to uncover some big conspiracy. I set out to prove that the lies I had been told were right. I’d waited until Katie was grown before I even allowed myself to consider it. Maybe deep down I knew I was destined to fail. Regardless of my reasoning at the time (it’s all a bit hazy), I didn’t even think about this journey until I would be alone to suffer from the consequences.
At this point, I honestly hope that I misunderstood what I discovered. I tried to ignore it. I told myself I was being paranoid as I jumped in the pond and started swimming, but the discovery that there is something darker at play continued to haunt me. I finally reached the point where I was ready to lose it. I was so angry and so upset that I was ready to explode.
And I did explode in a way. It sounds horrible but I did. I quit my job in a blaze of glory because I was just so ANGRY. And I’m still angry. I’m angry and I’m hurt to a degree that I cannot express.
To be honest, part of me still worries that I have lost my mind.
You haven’t lost your mind. You woke up. Welcome, it pretty much sucks! 🙂
Anger is very powerful. It can motivate action and change if channeled properly. If not, it can destroy you.
What I have learned is that it is impossible to change anything on a macro, big picture level. In my own life, I can only affect things on a micro level. It may not seem like much, but there is always something you can do, even if it’s a small thing. I stopped buying into the bull*** a long time ago. But yeah, it was a very difficult awakening.
Work with the anger. It will show you your next steps.
Annie, I have followed you for many years. You have a singular voice and a gift for writing. My life is very different from yours (married, no kids, live outside a large city on the west coast, high income). Your voice is powerful. Use it.
Thank you so very much, Tina.
I’ve finally reached the point where I can discuss what I discovered, so that’s a start. And for right now, the only thing I can think to do is to explain why people need to start buying less. My reasoning behind it has changed, but it is the only way I know to stop feeding the monsters.
No, sorry. You’re not insane. You broke your blinders, is all.
Yeah. It looks like I swallowed the red pill from the Matrix. I feel for you, Neo.
Welcome to the world of awake. Yes, it’s painful here. Some days I wish I could go back to sleep.
I fought against it for quite a while. Glad that the fighting is over.
Whilst there is obviously truth in what you are saying, I have also noted a change in tone and focus.
Is it making you happy, well and able to enjoy your short time on this earth pursuing this?
What do you hope to achieve? What cost to you?
I hope you appreciate my sentiment as I didn’t want to just join the chorus. If you feel worried about your health see if you can get checked out.
You are obviously concerned enough to see that not being too well is a possibility and I wish you health and wellbeing.
I enjoy your writing and wish you the best and that means being honest in what I have written. Look after yourself xxx
Hello, Mean queen!
No health issues, don’t worry. I have realized that my days are numbered on this planet so I am wondering: what type of world do I want to leave to my children and grandchildren? What type of example can I leave for them?
I would like to leave this world a bit better place than it currently is. And I would like my children to know that their eccentric mother not only practiced what she preached, but had the courage to reverse track when needed and admit when she is wrong. If I can do those two things I will die happy when my time comes. Hopefully that won’t be for a long while.
Thank you so much for your comment!
Annie, you are far from alone in your analysis. I have been increasingly thinking/feeling these same sentiments for many years. Lately, it has felt even more blatant. “They” no longer even attempt to hide their lust for power, money and greed. I no longer follow any news/current events/politics/pop culture – nada! It’s far too upsetting! Like so many of us, I too, feel angry and powerless at “The Deep State.” Yes, it is all a vast conspiracy. Those in my circle of influence, unfortunately, believe I am paranoid and crazed! So I keep my own counsel. Everyone who has commented and who comments here strike me as bright, thoughtful, intelligent people. There will be a day of reckoning, if there is any justice. How long can this inequality gulf continue to widen? I anticipate violence in the streets, as people become increasingly frustrated, helpless, hopeless and depressed. So sad. As one of us has said, this used to be a great country, 400 years ago. Heartbreaking, sickening, disgusting. It is comforting to be able to express myself amongst like-minded souls! So long as we follow our consciences, taking baby steps, from within our hearts, there is hope.
Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It feels good to finally release the burden of what I discovered. I know I will be labeled a fanatic. I accept that. But I cannot un-see what I saw and I can no longer remain silent. I do not know what will happen in the future. I cringe to even think about it. All I know is we all have the power to change this. If we stop giving them our money, we CAN retake control.
Thank you for telling me that I am not alone.
You seem to have read something recently that has triggered this paranoia. Suddenly everything is a conspiracy?! What makes you so sure that this source is correct? Why are you not skeptical about this “new information” – especially since it contradicts everything that you previously thought to be true about how things work?
Believing that conspiracy stuff is an excuse for giving up on growing, learning, and self-improvement. Yes, there are obstacles for poor people, of course there are. But obstacles can be overcome. You are living proof of that. Perhaps your goal of becoming rich was not realistic, but if you pursued it, I think you would have become richER, And why not go to college for the sheer joy of learning new things and being around different types of people.
Please, let go of this. You are destroying your peace of mind because “somebody” thinks there is a dark conspiracy. There isn’t. But, let’s say, for the sake of argument, that there are these people with their evil plans – then, so what? What changes, really? Our piece of the world, yours and mine goes on the same. We still have to make a living. We still want to enjoy the one life we have. Consider climate change. Terrible changes are hanging over our collective heads. This is true, and we all should do our parts, however small, to not be part of the problem. Some people will be moved to try to influence changes and good for them (go, Greta!). But I believe we still have to carry on living our lives and not give in to despair.
As you realized a while back, you are at a turning point in life and are questioning who you are and where you want to go from here. That is totally natural. But, please don’t abandon all the good sense and hard won lessons that got you this far. That would be a real shame.
I may be wrong. I do not know. That is why I posted this. Hopefully someone with more skills than I can follow the money trail and prove that I AM wrong. Until then, I have to act on what I have seen.
Thank you for your honesty.
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