I just got off the phone with the CRA ( Canada Revenue Agency ) collections department. I abolish all shame about being in collections and owe-ing the Canadian Government $40,000 from my 2020 and 2021 tax returns. The reason I refuse to feel ashamed of this is because the reason for me owing this money is because I chose to work and accelerate my business during the COVID Pandemic. As I have shared before, my agency was focused on  online marketing setting up website funnels and ad campaigns. During the 2 years of the pandemic there was a high demand for my services that I took advantage of , being referred many small business clients who were looking to get online and try to keep their businesses afloat during the pandemic times. The thing I do regret is that as my business grew quickly, I was not pro-active in putting money away. In fact, upon reflecting I was irresponsible hiring my friends who needed money to support their families and sharing work with others. What I actually thought I was doing at the time was helping people. I had a naive belief that if I helped people, and provided assistance with their small businesses and hired people who needed work, I would be doing my part. Again, i understand I overlooked how much money I would end up owe-ing the government for succeeding myself as a small business during this time.

I shared in my story about how I did achieve impressive financial goals for a period of time providing online marketing services.

I have never shared before ( subscribed to shame ) how poorly I managed that money or how little I actually understood about taxes for business operators or how to be strategic with your income. I did understand was that you can create expenses in a business in order to try to lower your tax bill. I created as many expenses as I could by renting a studio, hiring out work to contractors and purchasing equipment as assets for my business to try to increase expenses. Unfortunately, my effort was not enough and I ended up between the two year filings owe-ing 40K. Which, I should say is also the amount of my Canadian Student Loan. I am currently 80K in personal debt and reconciling what to do about this while also struggling through my own existential crisis. After my phone call today with the CRA , where I will be first to admit that I am completely overwhelmed by the realities I face. Despite being an incredibly hard worker and exhausting myself for the last decade “chasing the entrepreneur dream” I am further behind than I am ahead.

3 recent pictures of existential peer supporter and entrepreneur brandie peters

After my spiritual awakening I have decided to live a more holistic lifestyle. I no longer aspire to make a lot of money or participate in hustle culture. I am focused on wellness and living the best possible life i can with my family. I do not wish to procure more debt and compiled regrets.

I am also filled with spite and resentment towards a system that feels incredibly non-empathetic and inhumane.

I am owning up to the areas where I was naive in business, there is a part of it that feels tragic beyond the responsibility or the irresponsibility of myself as an entrepreneur. There is a deeper part to this , which due to my existential realizations I am struggling to reconcile , because it feels like a near impossible thought to wrap my head around. For 10 years of my life I have been a devoted to my career, a hard worker and and the sole provider to my family as my husband was a stay at home dad. It was difficult to share my story with the collections agency and have her skim over it and non-emotionally express that the consequences of my actions and refusal to disclose the numbers in my current bank account could lead to legal consequences, an audit, garnishing of my husband and my bank accounts and potentially the ceasing of our assets. I paused as she broke down the consequences that the Canadian government placed about the citizens who did not pay them the due amounts.

“I never chose to exist” I said.

I could not believe I said this, but I am not the most filtered person, and I couldn’t resist the impulse to express myself to this robotic and un-empathetic messenger.

“I never chose to be born, or become an adult, but I am here now and I have been trying the best I can to participate in these systems in the correct way – and for some reason I keep falling further and further behind”

“Mhmm” she responded uncomfortably and attempted to return to her script for the conversation. “How would you like to proceed to arrange payments? she said.

I took a deep breathe and dumped on her another load of my growing trauma. “I am not a stupid person, although I feel really emotional right now and I bet you think I am clueless about business, and probably shouldn’t have one.” I say, because it felt important to clarify that I had the self awareness to understand my own failures in this situation.

“However, I want you to know having a very hard time right now engaging with a government that has so wastefully and irresponsibly spent tax payers money over the last 4 years, totes a platform of equality, equity and support for marginalized. Who encourages its young people to pursue higher educations and create economic growth through small businesses. However, will then come around and threaten to ruin me, take the little that I have simply because I chose to put my head down and work hard during a crisis.”

The CRA woman on the other end who I imagine is having many of these types of conversations in the day to day. Said in sincerity, that she could not comment on any of that and was calling me for the purpose of collections.

I was having a hard time talking to her , and keeping it together, at this point as confronting these circumstances had been something that I was avoidant of and dreaded because it turned me into an anxious mess. I knew the rest of my day I would be struggling to identify reasons to continue existing on this earth. She, would likely go for lunch and not think much of it. Likely to call several others before the day’s end, then drive home grateful that she chose the path of comfortable government employment rather than attempting to grow a business.

I dropped another thought. “It is very difficult for me right now to deal with this because every day I see how the Trudeau government has mishandled spending and thrown the lower and middle class people of this country aside for their political ideologies and agendas, the very idea of me sending you ANY money right now, of what little my family has in reserves is making me feel sick.”

I stopped, realizing I was putting too much on to this women, the unfortunate bad messenger. “I know that it is not YOU who is doing this to me, but I still feel like I shut down when I try to deal with this, I am really struggling with the mental health aspect of this situation.”

I was lucky that this woman was not a complete robot and I heard an empathetic single line come from her. “I hear exactly what you are saying. I understand.”

We completed our call with me agreeing to look over a detailed letter that she would be sending us. Submit 3 months of our bank statements to prove change in circumstance and we’d speak again soon.

I opened up my bank account and looked at our current financial situation – I took a minute to recognize and appreciate that we were not destitute or in a crisis but in normal situation. There are a lot of Canadians, regular people right now in similar situations I reminded myself. I tried to find some perspective and ground myself in gratitude. Then, I began to cry.

picture of online marketing expert brandie michelle peters

I worked for 10 years building my online my online marketing agency. I now owe 40K in tax debt from the fast success I found during the COVID pandemic. Right now I am in no position to pay it off.

My Existential Awareness Makes Dealing With Financial Challenges Incredibly Hard

I’d like to shift now to explain why I resent having existential awareness during this time of financial complexity. I feel as if others, maybe who have not yet awakened to the unfair realities of the human existence would be able to more easily navigate this, simply paying what they are told to pay and going through the motions co-operating completely within the system. I have the urge to do that just to get it over with. I desire the ability to go on auto-pilot and just agreeably follow one step and then the next. I realize that I will need to shut off the part of my brain that is questioning every aspect of this and just get through it because when I am fully “in-tune” to the nilhistic realities, the fact I am enslaved to my government, having this realization clear and then co-operating becomes hard.

I know it is bold to throw out the slave word, but we need to speak more openly about how we are all participating within a program that we never signed up for. In my case, I never chose to be born or become an adult and be of legal age to pay my share of taxes. My existence was brought on by my parents, and permitted by God. I am merely here because I have no choice to be. And let’s be honest once we are plopped out naked, wet and afraid into the rat race we have two choices, to toddle or attempt to run. One can be a compliant player in the system , get a 4 year degree and standard job where tax payments are automated and everything is kind of taken care for you, or you can aspire for more, try to climb to the top of the pile and do better for yourself and your children than what was done for you.

I often regret being a climber. If i could go back and speak to the gentle , youthful me, deciding their path I would not have encouraged myself towards a decade of self employment. I am regretful that I got sucked into “the Canadian dream”. I have a lot of remorse and self-pity for myself, the little me who truly believed that you work hard, put in the hours, acquire the skills and reap the rewards.

I frequently flashback to the month in July of 2020 where I achieved the milestone of 20K into my business in a single month, staring at that number – thinking I had somehow conquered something, achieved an end goal that was evidence of my rising above the lower class grade I was born into. Imagine thinking you were climbing out when actually you were burying yourself.

Now, I go back and forth on this – am I looking for justifications for my self-pity or am I legitimately on to something? In other blogs I shared how I worked myself into a state of burnout and have been trying to recover my health and live more mindfully, appreciative and present.

To achieve financial success i worked 16 hour days. I avoided my family and children. I allowed my work to become my identity. I believed the sacrifice would come with eventual reward.

Unfortunately, going through burnout, nervous system reset, my shift of mind and late in life Autism discovery has removed from me all desire to even attempt to start climbing again. I am making a modest income now. So little that I do not feel I can make much as far as payments on this government debt that I owe.

I also don’t want to, so much so that the very thought of transferring any funds to the Facist, corrupt, abusive Trudeau led liberal Canadian Government makes me feel ill. When I told the collections woman my mental health is not well in regards to this, but I was lying. My mental health is fine, I am not mentally sick, I am aware. I understand fully what is happening to me. I feel hopeless and have ideations of “unaliving myself” only because I am trapped in this system that I don’t believe in or wish to partake. Everyone just goes along with it but once you realize it how fucked you are, the existential awakening, it becomes so difficult to continue with any enthusiasm.

I was encouraged to participate in “the race”, and I was vulnerable to it because I came from modest means, my parents ran scrappy businesses as well and we struggled because of it specifically in the 2008 recession. For a decade I believed in myself completely to make a life for myself on my own terms and that is why I pursued self employment. However, to have the most successful financial years of my life and to owe more in debt for it, bewilders me. Besides that reality point though, there is something that feels even more broken here to me, which is the fact that there is an entitlement and pressure being placed on me to “hand it over”, to a government that I know will likely use it to further abuse my generation, push us behind, spend it on outlandish contracts with private contractors who are also their friends, send it oversees to fight unjustified wars, give it carelessly to immigrants or go on lavish vacations, who knows, they may even “lose it” somewhere in the shuffle. All things for which the responsible parties will never in my lifetime be held accountable.

Previous conversations with a different collections agent, an even less empathetic one who I clashed with and is no longer on my case. She described my 40K of small business tax debt and the $1700 a monthly payment that they were asking for as “not really that much.”

To which I had replied “maybe it is not a lot to you ( in reference to the Canadian Government ) but to myself, my husband and our 3 children it is everything.