Sunshine in the Storm: Handling Inner and Outer Conflict with Petra Vega | #57


How do you access your power and show up as you want to? How do you define healing? 

Join me and the incredible Petra Vega on a journey this episode! We start off talking about how to recognize and translate red flags in dating bios and move on to how to embrace passion, pleasure, business, and creativity in the context of our world being a giant trash fire. 

Next, we’re untangling trauma, talking about WHEN healing is done (hint: kinda never), and how to ask for what you need in relationships. Petra also flips the script and asks ME some questions about healing and how to develop the healthy relationships you deserve after a life of toxic crap (hint: it’s boundaries and consent).   

Petra Vega (She/Ella) is the Founder and Liberatory Leadership Coach of Create More Possibilities. Petra helps marginalized leaders (think BIPOC, Queer, neurodivergent, basically folks who’s mere existence challenges the status quo) cultivate liberatory power so they can show up powerfully and fully to make deeper impact in the world. Petra is also a Facilitator, Radical Social Worker and Emergent Strategist. Petra’s background includes over a decade of experience in building power with parents and neighbors, challenging toxic workplaces into care-centered spaces, developing facilitation as an art for consensus-based decision-making and inclusive, participatory engagement, as well as training the next generation of social workers to trust the people as experts in their own lives, interrogate the savior complex within us and to heal ourselves in order to heal the collective.  

Find Petra on Instagram and Facebook @CreateMorePossibilities and her website! 

Sign up for my email list at to get weekly pep talks and the latest insights to uplevel your creative confidence. Love you! 


[00:00:00] Caitlin Fisher: Okay. Hello everybody. Welcome back. Happy Friday. It is Run Like Hell Toward Happy. And I am once again, bringing you an astonishingly fantastic guest that I found on the internet. . So coming today is Petra Vega. She is the founder and liberatory leadership coach of Create More Possibilities, which is a stunning business name.

And we love it. Petra helps marginalized leaders, so I think black indigenous people of color queer, neuro- divergent, basically folks whose existence itself challenges the status quo. Which, we love to fuck up the status quo here. Helps them cultivate liberatory power so they can show up powerfully and fully to make deeper impact in the world.

Petra is also a facilitator, radical social worker and emergent strategist. Her background includes over a decade of experience, building power with parents and neighbors, challenging toxic workplaces into care centered spaces, developing facilitation as an art for consensus based decision making and inclusive participatory engagement, as well as training the next generation of social workers to trust people as experts in their own lives, interrogate the savior complex within us and heal ourselves in order to heal the collective. So what a bio.

[00:01:23] Petra Vega: Thank you.

[00:01:23] Caitlin Fisher: I am in awe of you already, so welcome to the show and tell us, tell us anything we’re missing so far.

[00:01:30] Petra Vega: Yeah. Yeah, I think this is like my, my professional bio, right? So I think some, some things that I would add just personally is that I’m a cat daddy to a new kitten. She’s about two months old.

I’m an introvert. I’m someone who would like be very happy not to leave the house. And so I. Virtual reality, virtual life is my jam. And if this is like just a little quirk that I think people feel opposite of how I feel. So I’m like, it’s important for me to name. Like, I really love online dating. I feel like it’s like a good place for us introverts folks who like to scope out the scene beforehand. And that’s where I met my beloved. So I’m like biased, but also I’m like obsessed. And probably like after this business, or maybe if I can infuse it into this one, I’m like, I’d love to help people find love that I’m like, it’s real hard out here.

[00:02:14] Caitlin Fisher: it is. It is. I actually found the love of my life, my current partner, the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in when I deleted all my apps and was like, I’m not doing this fucking Tinder fuck boy thing anymore. so, but I, I was very big into online dating met my first two husbands online. So I’m fucking nailing it. But no, I, I like it cuz it provides like some safety. Yeah. There’s some, you know, getting to know you stuff where you don’t have to like go out, especially for introverts. Like I don’t, I don’t want you to watch me eat. Like the first time I’m getting to know you. Like yeah, no, no stop.

[00:02:56] Petra Vega: Like, yeah. And I just feel like I used to be like, when I was like early dating before I met my partner, I would be like a, a bio detective. Right. That my friends are like, I don’t know what is this fuck boy thing. And I’m like, girl it’s this line right here. And I’m like, who, who wrote that? And they’re like, I was feeling or like whatever.

And I’m like, no, I’m like, you don’t, you don’t want that. And so like what, what’s the subtext that I’m like, okay, my, my background isn’t in English, but I’m like, there’s a subtext here that I’m like, just be like extra clear. And if people are really fucking with you, you’re like, oh wow.

You can totally watch me eat. You can watch me do some other things, but you gotta like, I’m like put it out there.

[00:03:32] Caitlin Fisher: I love it. I think we need more translation services for dating apps. Yes. Like the being able to take a screenshot and send it and be like, this just doesn’t feel right. Do you know why? And they’re like, yeah, no, cuz this, this right here is fuck, fuck boy shit.

[00:03:46] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:03:48] Caitlin Fisher: Or fuck girl shit ,they’re out there.

[00:03:50] Petra Vega: Yeah. And I’m like, and, and you might want that. So I’m also like, do you want that? Like, you’re just trying to have a good time, but like don’t, but don’t fall in love with this person. Right. That like, like, I’m just having a good time and I’m like, that’s an excellent sense. Then leave that. I know

[00:04:03] Caitlin Fisher: I’m unfortunately the type of person where like really good sex will make me think like, oh, I should date you. That’s not always the answer.

[00:04:12] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:04:13] Caitlin Fisher: sometimes you just need to leave that alone. Yeah. I, I already love this conversation. yeah. So we don’t really have a direction. I actually put this in like my notes as episode T B D because I knew that you were going to bring some spicy deliciousness to this show.

So. This overall season is about sort of a sense of Renaissance, like being creative during and after a dark age, such as the plague that is COVID, the plague that is police brutality. Like there’s some shit going on. Supreme court’s not really happy with us right now, and we’re not happy with it. So like people tend to, I have seen either like, get really creative.

Like I know somebody who’s doing a series, they’re calling it angry females and it’s just paintings of like women making really just pissed off angry faces.

[00:05:05] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm .

[00:05:06] Caitlin Fisher: And so that’s a very nice cathartic

[00:05:08] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

[00:05:09] Caitlin Fisher: way to like put your feminist rage into art and then other people might have a sense of like, well is now the time for me to be taking up space in the world when there’s so much going on.

So from your perspective, From your professional background. Yeah. What’s your feedback on that?

Hello. We interrupt this podcast for a brief technical difficulties, but we’ll be right back.

[00:05:38] Petra Vega: So I don’t know if it’s my internet or, or, but it kind of went in and now I lost the last piece. So if you wouldn’t mind repeating that last piece

[00:05:45] Caitlin Fisher: that’s okay. It could definitely be my internet. So basically just the like sort of dichotomy of either really leaning into creativity right now and using rage as creative inspiration versus people feeling like now’s not the time to be showing up in the world to be showing up creatively just because it sucks for everybody.

So like how dare I find an outlet for my joy, which can almost get like white saviory. Right. So you know, I’m like, well, my, my art and my business doesn’t matter. I only want to uplift the others. Meanwhile, like I am poor and also need to eat. So, yeah, I’m not really doing any favors by like martyring myself, et cetera.

And I really loved what your bio said about like working with social workers to get into that. Like I’m gonna save you thing

[00:06:35] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

so yeah just applying

[00:06:38] Caitlin Fisher: that to creativity. Let’s let’s just go and see where this conversation takes us.

[00:06:43] Petra Vega: Yeah. Thank you so much for, for repeating. And I was like, yeah, that was definitely the piece I was like, well, I needed to hear that again.

[00:06:47] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Honestly I said it better the second time anyway,

[00:06:50] Petra Vega: so, okay, good. I think about any time that we have like a, I don’t know that it’s debate or like a attention around I think activities around like joy or pleasure or creativity that I always think about. Like, I think it was either like Audre Lorde or some other black revolutionary that was like at the beach. That I’m like, and then there’s a picture of like this person at the beach. Right. And like the way that I think about folks who are fighting for justice, who, who stand for something, or who are like trying to dismantle shit in their life. I, I think we can imagine them as like, they’re always working, which I’m like, capitalism would love it.

If we always thought they’re like on the streets or theorizing or reading or like base building. And I was like, nah, they was at the fucking beach sometimes. Right. And they were fucking right. Or they were like writing, like sci-fi fiction that I love Octavia Butler. And I’m like, she wrote, she wrote about like monsters and humans.

And I’m like, that’s what, that’s how she transferred all this shit that when she was going through she metabolized and, and gave us something years later for us to like geek out over and being like, we came, we made it here. Fuck. What are we doing? What are we doing? Right. And so I think, I always remember those moments about folks in our past that I always look to around like, oh, this isn’t necessarily like new challenges for us. Right. But I think that we can forget that stuff right. If we’re like not aware of these things. And so I think that’s one thing. And I think the other piece too, is like, I can remember a time with my therapist that I like moved during the pandemic in the most beautiful apartment that I’ve ever had.

And prior to that, I like lived in a closet. Right. So like very small. I was grateful. I love my little closet. It was my first apartment that I had, but it wasn’t the apartment that I’m in now. And I would tell her that like, oh my God, the world is on fire. And I’m someone that I knows the world is on fire.

And I’m talking to people every day as like a social worker is back when I was in a nonprofit. And I’m hearing about the worst things that are happening. Right. And then what she told me that I was like, just gave me so much peace and I wanna offer it here for anyone who may be struggling with this thing that I was.

‘Oh, I feel bad about loving my apartment when people are like losing their homes’ right. At the height of the pandemic that people are just like, fuck people, you can’t pay? Goodbye. And I’m like, we cannot do that to people. And what she gave, what she offered me was like ‘you hating or wanting to neglect or not being truthful about the fact that you love your apartment doesn’t help that other person have an apartment.’

Like those two things are not related. And it’s really like, I think this is where the gratitude piece comes in. Right. And again, like gratitude can feel like, oh, everything is so fucked up. How dare I? Right. And so it’s a little bit about like, potentially some, some like likely some privileged stuff coming up of being like, I can only focus on the worst things ever as someone who knows about the worst things ever, but it’s like, we cannot exist in that place.

Right? Like we cannot live there. It’s a place that I’m like, I will frequent as someone who is hypersensitive and has mental health issues. I’m like, I’ma be there. I’ma be in the storm. But no one can live in the storm or the light. Right. And so if I can acknowledge that, when can I be, be aware that I’m like, oh, I’m at season of a storm right now.

Right. And at that moment, I’m like, there is a huge fucking storm happening in the world. And in my apartment, there’s a little bit of sunshine.

[00:10:04] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. That’s really important. And that’s really. good perspective as well. I love the idea of seasons. Yeah, because I think that life is very cyclical and seasonal.

Like the days are getting shorter now fall is coming

[00:10:18] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

[00:10:19] Caitlin Fisher: and I get my, like my, my like five weeks of weather that I love before the time change starts fucking with me.

[00:10:26] Petra Vega: mm-hmm. I was like, and seasonal depression is gonna keep, like, it’s like one thing after the other, right?

[00:10:31] Caitlin Fisher: Like, I’ve been having all this sunshine. I’ve gotten more sunshine like this summer than I ever got, because we just got a dog. So like I’ve been out walking her every day and I’m like, oh, like you can’t tell, but I have what for me passes as a tan. I love it. My stomach would still blind you, but no, like my freckles are out. Yeah. But yeah, like seasons and cycles and the fact that even mood wise and even energy wise, we go through cycles.

Like every march, I have a bit of a hard time because I went through a really big trauma in March four years ago. And then August is also a little complicated for me because of like, there’s a bunch of anniversaries related to people that I no longer have in my life. Mm-hmm . And I just know that those are little seasonal dips and like, I might feel a little gloomy and at the same time, like I’m in love with my dog and like our new kitten and there’s, there’s nothing like a kitten who’s like pet me, you know?

And I’m like, yes. Okay. So the Supreme court hates me and wants me to die on the street, but at least this kitten adores me. This fucking kitten loves me. Right. You know, at least I finally finished that art project I’ve been working on, you know, like finding, I love that you call it like sunshine in the storm.

That’s such a great. like metaphor, analogy. Mm-hmm perspective. Insert cool word here. Yeah. yeah. That’s awesome.

[00:12:03] Petra Vega: Yeah. I think too, what, what you were offering around, like having a the self-awareness to know, like where where’s where’s the time that your stuff is happening. That I think that we can think about like, oh again, because like toxic positivity and capitalism is always telling us some feel good shit.

It’s like, do you not feel the happiest ever? And I’m like, have you look at the world? You’re like, yeah, like any, any like functioning, human, right. Where I think we can be like, oh, if we are not pleasant, then we are dysfunctional. But like nobody actually see the world for the, the magnitude that it is. And so I think like in, in a way that something that I’ve tried to work on is like, okay, when I’m not feeling like the most pleasant, I’m like, oh, how does this make sense.

Like how, instead of it being like, why what’s wrong with me, which I’m like, is our go-to because, you know, bless our brains, trying to like protect us from stuff that like is real or not real, but like also, like how does this make sense? Right. And so even during that moment of being like, oh yeah, this reminds me about like four years ago when, and you’re like, that makes sense.

Yep. Right. And even just creating that, like affirmation and that knowing for yourself and like, I, I adopted earlier this year, that’s like, I don’t wanna learn how to betray my intuition. And so even if I can’t pinpoint why I feel a particular way or why something is quote unquote off, I’m like, I’m just gonna trust that.

And like, if I need to know why I will, and if I don’t, at least I could be like, yeah, it’s here. I know.

[00:13:28] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I love that. I’m very big on intuition as well. Mm-hmm and it’s been interesting seeing how intuition comes up in, in all the interviews that I’ve done for this season so far. because like, everybody’s got like a slightly different perspective on intuition and everything, but yeah, I think deep down, we know, like we know I don’t feel good mm-hmm like, even just today, I just felt like a little off I’m like, I feel I’m gonna probably take a nap today.

Like I don’t feel super great. yeah. And I don’t know what it is. I’m like, oh, should I take a COVID test? For what? Like your slightly upset tummy. Like I think you can like calm down. Yeah. I’m I’m the person who’s like, oh, it’s COVID like when I have choked on my own spit I know. And I’m coughing , but it’s real.

It’s it’s I somehow haven’t got it yet. Like, we’ve been. We’ve been going through this for, for almost three years now on yeah. On COVID bullshit. And I have not, our household has not, we have four adults.

[00:14:29] Petra Vega: Wow.

[00:14:30] Caitlin Fisher: Two of whom like go out to work. Yeah.

[00:14:34] Petra Vega: Good job for y’all. I’m like, where’s that sticker? I know people make like the profiles. It’s like, I stand with whatever and I’m like, we do it for a hot second. And I’m like, I haven’t got COVID. I’m like, that is a like gold star.

[00:14:45] Caitlin Fisher: it’s incredible. And I’m just like, I’m, I feel like I’m gonna get it cuz it’s ubiquitous at this point, but

[00:14:51] Petra Vega: mm-hmm ,

[00:14:51] Caitlin Fisher: you know, even that they’re like the, the latest strain is super transmissible. So I stopped going to the coffee shop to write. Now I write at home when I write and like, but the new booster covers the new variant. So maybe when I get new boosted, then I’ll go back out and it’s just, you know, we try and we try and balance like life. Yeah. With the fact that COVID, which again comes back to like the light in a storm. Like for me, like going to the coffee shop once a week to work on my novel is like a really happy, shiny spot. And I don’t have the kitten and the dog distracting me the whole time. So I usually write more when I’m at the coffee shop.

[00:15:27] Petra Vega: Yeah. Yeah. And I think the, the piece around being responsive, right. That it’s not like it’s not either or, which again is like part of the questions, like, do I hone in and go all in on my creativity or do I act like I don’t have this part of me. And it doesn’t exist and I’m just gonna live my life as that, not person.

Right. And it’s like, we could get stuck in this binary and it’s like, can we be like, with new data, can we make a new decision? Right. And like, yes, as we got new information around, COVID where people were like, it’s a cold. Like, I, I still remember, like when I left my office and we like, everyone took the plants home and I’m not like a plant mom and I was like, it might die but I’ll take one because I’m down for the squad. Right. Like everyone’s taking one. You’re like, yeah, we’re gonna be in on Monday. I’m like, we had no idea. We had no idea.

[00:16:11] Caitlin Fisher: You know, we quote like went home for two weeks, you know? Yeah. And then what was it? Six months later I quit my job.

[00:16:19] Petra Vega: good for you.

[00:16:19] Caitlin Fisher: Thank you.

[00:16:20] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm mm-hmm

[00:16:21] Caitlin Fisher: yeah. I’m part of the great resignation. It was really great. I love it. Yeah. I told them exactly where they could shove it. And I also told them to hire a black diversity educator cuz they needed one. Yeah, I love it. Yeah. I’m like, y’all suck in so many like white Christian supremacist ways and you need to fix that.

[00:16:39] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:16:39] Caitlin Fisher: If you like wanna get right with God or whatever. Yeah.

[00:16:45] Petra Vega: Yeah. There’s so much work to do. I was talking to someone the other day. I think it was probably, was it a conversation or podcast anyways, but they’re like, well, I worked at a, a nonprofit and my background is all in nonprofits and they’re like, I worked at one nonprofit.

I like never worked there again. Right. and I’m like, I think we hear all this shit about corporate or like fashion or like whatever the industries are. Right. And you’re like, but until you’re in your industry, it doesn’t feel, it feels like the worst thing ever. Right. In comparison to anyone else’s thing.

But I’m like, we all have so much work to do. And particularly like in nonprofits. And so I had a similar thing where I’m like, I went out with a bang that I was. I offered to share my exit interview, which is like the, no, no. Right. But I was like, y’all need to know what the fuckery is. Right. And so for anyone who wanted to know who was still there, who still cared about like making change and really challenging white supremacy culture, and I’m like, you need to read what the fuck happened to me.

[00:17:34] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. I think there’s great power in that. Mm-hmm like, they, it, you know, it starts at like, don’t talk about your salary, right? That’s when they’re like, oh no, that’s a no-no. I was literally told in those words, that’s a no-no. And I’m like, that’s illegal. Would you like me to get the law involved, Jose?

[00:17:52] Petra Vega: Good for you. Yeah. All of these little rules. Right. And if you, if you think about it, you’re like, oh, this is what it, what it means to be a professional, but I’m like, according to who. Right. And like always who does that benefit? Oh yes. Who does it benefit for you not to know?

[00:18:05] Caitlin Fisher: I have a coach and good friend of mine, Serena Hicks. She’s a money mindset coach. And she says that like, professionalism is just code for the patriarchy.

[00:18:14] Petra Vega: Yep. Mm-hmm

[00:18:15] Caitlin Fisher: and I’m like, oh, that changed like my whole life. Like, no, I don’t have to wear a blazer. I can get rich in tank tops. You know, like I haven’t yet, but I will.

[00:18:25] Petra Vega: Aaaahhhhh,


[00:18:26] Caitlin Fisher: I’m gonna get rich in tank tops.

[00:18:28] Petra Vega: I would, I was just telling my partner, she works at trader Joe’s and they’re telling her around like, well, if you take this particular shift, which like, they’re gonna give a, a bonus and more monies to that, you cannot, you cannot be sitting around or something. And I’m like, why are we so obsessed with controlling what people do with their bodies?

Right. And that made me think about the ways that, like, I don’t know if you experienced this when you were working for wherever it is that you were working from. Right. But just the obsession was like, make sure your cameras are on. And I’m like, can we not? Like people are living in a plague. We have no idea what the fuck people are doing or experiencing at home.

And you want us to stare at people while they’re experiencing all that shit. Like they’re here, they’re in the fucking meeting. They will engage as what is possible to do. Can we not, can we stop being so obsessed?

[00:19:11] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, exactly. That wasn’t a super big issue with my company, but my partner’s company is very much a like everybody turn your cameras on. Like they shipped everyone out a webcam. So that, you know, like there was no reason, no excuses, no excuses. And he would just be like, ah, mine’s really on the Fritz. And I’m like, good for you, baby. I love it. I say, say what you need to say.

[00:19:37] Petra Vega: Yeah. I had one student, she was like, it broke. And I’m like, I don’t give a shit if you’re lying or not. I just needed to do what you said you were gonna do. Yep. I don’t care. Like oh yeah. Just do your work.

[00:19:47] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, my sister’s a teacher. So when they were doing like distance learning, it , it’s like just funny, like kids would just be like sleeping, like their camera’s on, but they’re, they’re sleeping. It’s hard for the kids.

Like, no, I don’t, I don’t wanna look at like a wall of people staring back at me and like, I know they’re all just checking their email. We don’t, we don’t need this.

[00:20:10] Petra Vega: Right. And then you can see the eyes too. And I’m like, y’all, you’re making it worse. Right. Cause I’m like, you would do this normally, but like, we, I wouldn’t be staring at you. It’d be like, I could see you from the corner of my eye or you’d be in the farther part of the table. But now I’m like, Jamie is not paying attention.

[00:20:26] Caitlin Fisher: yeah. It’s good. Plus like, you can’t really like, hide like the secret, like ‘they said what’ kind of like, look, you know, everybody sees it.

[00:20:35] Petra Vega: That’s true too. Or like, yeah. Did you catch the moment? And I’m someone, I don’t know if you’re like this and I’m like, I have no poker face, but I’m like, I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I’m like, fuck did you, what?

[00:20:45] Caitlin Fisher: Mm-hmm

[00:20:45] Petra Vega: what?

[00:20:46] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, no, I can’t. I have to be like, I have to know what’s gonna happen if I’m gonna like mask it. No, I don’t. I don’t have an inside voice on my face. I’ll be sitting in my car, having a fake conversation and be like acting it out on my face. And I’ll be like you said, you did what to me? Just in the car. There’s no one here. Nothing’s happening. I’m making shit up in my head.

[00:21:07] Petra Vega: Oh, that’s so funny.

[00:21:09] Caitlin Fisher: I love, I love chaos.

yeah. so let’s, let’s talk a little bit more about, about you and what you do. What is Create More Possibilities? Can you tell us a little bit more about the magic that happens there?

[00:21:25] Petra Vega: Yeah. So create more possibilities is a company that started out as a little seedling. I left my nonprofit job at the end of June.

And so I’ve been working on this business for the past year. And when I thought about I was like, okay, I have been in lots of places. I’ve been a leader for a long time and seeing other people in their leadership and being like, why are you doing it like that? Like, why are you doing it?

Like that, me understanding why you’re doing it like that and still like, why are you doing it like that? particularly when I heard folks to be like, oh, it’s so there’s a, a facade that you need to put on or there’s all this pressure. Or most recently I was talking to someone that’s like, I can see the systems and the matrix inside of how I’m operating.

And I have no idea how to stop

[00:22:09] Caitlin Fisher: mm-hmm

[00:22:10] Petra Vega: and I’m like, yep. And I’m like, that’s what it means to live in the world. Right. That like, all of this… we’re in the water. So like, you gonna take a gulp right. You might get catch little water in your mouth, and now it’s in your intestine. And you’re like, how do I get it out?

And I was like, I have, I have some ideas. I have some ideas and some stuff that I practice with. And so it’s my way to offer that. Like, we can do leadership differently, we can do it in a way that really serves people that helps to free us and other people. And really, because I feel like that’s one of the ways that has prevented us from making the kind of changes that I think we talk about that we wanna make.

Right. That like, as someone who kind of grew up in social justice, something that I noticed was like, oh, someone can have like the most political, like liberatory freeing ideas and thoughts, but you’d be like a shit friend. right. And I’d be like, how, how are those two things happening at the same time?

Right. Or like, you’d be a shit partner or like not the most healthy partner in a kind of way. Right. And I’m like, but how do those things not transfer over? Right. And I think it’s partially that the way that we like separate what’s the work from the personal right. Which I’m like, I am grateful for feminist of all sex of all identities, right.

There was like, the personal is political, right? Like whatever is happening in our homes, in our classrooms, the relationship with our bodies, like all that shit is tied to a system . And that was the first thing that gave me like some space and some ease to be like, oh, it’s not just me that like, oh, someone a system is benefiting from this full people are upholding this idea.

And all of it is in support of me not acknowledging my power, my agency, my choice, and, and preventing me from connecting with other peoples in the ways that I would really like.

[00:23:45] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I do. Like, I’ve heard that phrase, you know, the personal is political, but it never really, I was just like, yeah, cool. And it never, like, I never really like sat with like what that actually meant.

Yes. I remember seeing this, I don’t know a tweet, some kind of meme, Tumblr post, who knows, who knows these days, everything’s a meme. And it said like, sure, he knows leftist theory, but does he do the dishes? Yeah. And I’m like, oh yeah, that’s exactly it. Yeah. Right. So like, yeah, like somebody who’s , this is very much like, yeah, we, you know, the government should be like, this and society should be like this and we should be supporting everybody.

And it’s like, okay, but you’re still like, I’m still folding your underwear.

[00:24:26] Petra Vega: Yeah. Or you’re mansplaining to me or you’re belittling me in a kind of way. And then at the same time you could be like, women’s rights. And I’m like, yeah, you say it, but you don’t mean it. Yeah. That the, the first instance that, that I had was that I grew up in a super small town, mostly lots and lots of white folks, mostly older people. And when I went to college and I took like my first intro to women’s studies course, and it like gave me all of these words right around like white supremacy and patriarchy and hetero sexism. And it had like so many queer non-binary like this rebel, like classmates, we were all like figuring out a whole bunch of shit.

And the thing that like dawns on me was like, oh, I always thought that me being like a brown girl, quiet the exceptional, I guess, or advanced, I was always in the advanced classes, but I was like, Oh, this is it’s something specific to me. And the end, like the piece around, like the, I always lived in an apartment versus all of my white friends had houses.

Right. And like nice ass houses. Right. And I was like, oh, that’s classism. Like, that’s how shit shows up. And I’m like, and that’s racialized classism particularly. And I’m like, I had no idea. Right. But what I grew up learning about was like, oh, I just don’t have what they have. Right. And that, that made me less in a particular kind of way.

But so having that kind of aging and being able to have that language and, and having a, a larger structure and description to it that I’m like, oh, this is just a symptom. And I also think that we like can, can see the systems as the problem, but I’m like, yo, it’s part of a whole larger thing, which is why I’m like so obsessed with like theory and conceptual framework.

Cause I’m like we can get lost in like some of those particulars and the ways that like the system. Moving us to be against each other that I’m like, but we need to know how it works.

[00:26:04] Caitlin Fisher: yeah, I agree. And I’m like, I’m always learning. I am like the first to admit that I don’t know, not, not only everything, but like, I don’t even know a lot, like yeah.

There’s infinite knowledge out there? Yeah. And it’s like, it’s like my personal shame, but like, I still have to be proud of it is that I wrote a book. Like I have a published book called the gaslighting of the millennial generation, which is like super powerful title. Right. It either makes people go like you, I hate you. Or like, I’m gonna need that book. Thank you.

[00:26:36] Petra Vega: It’s good marketing.

[00:26:37] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. It’s great. but in it, I had a really limited understanding of capitalism. and I’m like, well, capitalism itself is just the exchanging of money for goods or surfaces. It’s this unregulated capitalism that causes all these problems. And then fast forward, like record scratch, noise, insert like, no, like capitalism is it’s baked in the inequalities and the systemic oppression is part of it.

The, the stolen wages, the surplus value labor

[00:27:10] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

[00:27:11] Caitlin Fisher: that’s, that’s just capitalism. And like, I, then I bring that into like a life coaching community. Right. Cuz I’m a creative coach. So I’m in some coaching spaces and I’m like, yeah, no, I teach people to like, get out of hustle, get out of internalized capitalism and like embrace their passions because capitalism would squish them and people respond.

They’re like, no, that’s just, you’re putting suffering into yourself. And I’m like, You’re no, you’re where I was when I wrote that book. Like you you’ll get there, give it five years. You’ll understand that like capitalism itself is kinda a problem. Yeah. But we still need to like exist in it because we can’t overthrow and dismantle capitalism tomorrow.

And I think if we woke up and it was just dismantled, we wouldn’t be able to agree on what the hell to do. So like what we need to do.

[00:28:04] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:28:05] Caitlin Fisher: like, you’ve like, we’ve been saying like this whole time is like find the little sun sunny spots. Build that build community there so that when the storms come, when the Supreme court is like, ah, you don’t need rights. When Donald Trump gets elected president, when there’s an armed insurrection at the Capitol, you know, we can be like, cool. I already know that I have a community of people who support me and. It’s it’s safe to be passionate. It’s safe to find joy. Like I don’t have to just be sad and angry all the time.

[00:28:39] Petra Vega: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I think too, it’s like I’ve listened to a podcast called how to survive at the end of the world. And so I’m like anyone who knows that it’s coming, I’m like highly would recommend I’ve grown a lot from that podcast. And one of the things that I’ve gained from it right, is that if we, if we know the fuck shit is gonna happen at some point, like, how are we getting ready for that?

Right. That, like, I think it’s kind of like this in between, or maybe outside of spaces. Like we could either hope for all the things to like that are, fuck shit now to not be happening. Or we could be like, it’s happening. We accept it. Love is light and all this other stuff. And I’m like …

we can have both of those or outside of those that I’m always like, it’s too simple. I’m like, we need to complicate this some more. And I’m like, but how are we getting ready? Right. That I’m like, the thing that I support folks with is really like, how do you. How do you muster up the courage, right?

Particularly if you’re someone that’s of a marginalized identity and I’m like, creativity allows us to do a part of that. Right. And also like, how do you harness your thinking and your action and alignment like that is power. Right? Cause we have a whole bunch of people that like say a lot of good words, but then they show up in there every day.

And like, it’s not what, they’re what they’re saying. And I’m like, so being able to converge those two things is powerful. Right. And also this piece around conflict that like, when I’m someone who’s like, it, the things that I’m working to dismantle now are not gonna happen in my lifetime, but I’m like, how can I make white supremacy mad today?

Yes. How can I make patriarchy mad today? Right. That I’m like, what are those incremental things? And I’m like, what can I, another questions like, I’ll, I’ll ask myself and I’ll even offer to folks that I’m working with. Right. That. What can I, what can I say to set this person free? Right. Like if I can, if I understand how the system works and I am close enough with you to know how it is that you’d like the delivery of particular information or what I may have to share, what’s the thing that I know you’re like it dangled with and what can I offer and say, or shift so that you like that stuff can fall a little bit more.

Right. And I just think it’s like, how do we in our everyday practice, just like untangle and untangle and untangle and untangle versus like capitalism is here. Right. Might as well get our shoes. We’re like riding the horse of capitalism. I’m like, y’all there are other horses.

[00:30:53] Caitlin Fisher: yeah. Yeah, for sure. I had something and then my brain was like stuck on horse metaphors now . I don’t know, but I like, I like what you’re putting down, I’m picking it up. Good content.

you ever play the Sims? And like, you like delete a task, like off their list and they just like, don’t know what they’re doing.

[00:31:12] Petra Vega: No, what we, the metaphor we use is that SpongeBob episode where pretty sure it’s SpongeBob where there’s like a whole office.

They’re like, and then they have all the SpongeBobs running, just screaming and like everything’s on fire.

[00:31:24] Caitlin Fisher: That’s exactly what’s happening in my brain right now.

[00:31:26] Petra Vega: I’m here for it, I like it.

[00:31:28] Caitlin Fisher: Perfect. So are you still a social worker? Like, are you still like, do you do like day job and coaching?

[00:31:33] Petra Vega: Yeah. So I’m just doing entrepreneurship now.

So I’m just working on create more possibilities, but I feel like I’ve social work for so long. Like it’s definitely part of my identity and how I show up. Right. So I’m like a trauma detective of sorts. I love to be in the hearts and minds, consensually of people that

[00:31:50] Caitlin Fisher: I just, I remembered the thing.

[00:31:52] Petra Vega: Yeah. Okay. Go for it. Go for it.

[00:31:54] Caitlin Fisher: When you said trauma. So like a metaphor that I love to use is that like trauma and like any learning, like any, any complicated thing. Right. And as you were saying, like, we kind of untangle it. We like let it loose a little bit. I think of like a ball of Christmas, Christmas tree lights.

[00:32:13] Petra Vega: I’m so glad this came back to you. Yeah. Keep going. Yes.

[00:32:15] Caitlin Fisher: It’s it’s such, it’s so good, right? Yeah. And you like, you wanna be able to use them so you can’t be like, well, to untangle this, I will simply cut it in half and like untangle the knot. You can’t do that. Like they have to maintain their continuity and everything.

But what you can do is just like, you just start at one end and you just kinda. As much as you can, if, if it gets really frustrating, set it down, go drink a cup of coffee or go for a walk, like come back to it later. Yeah. So often when we come back to something later, it’s like, oh, I didn’t even like, see this end over here.

Like that’s that was the, that was the part that was tripping me up

[00:32:50] Petra Vega: the trick

[00:32:50] Caitlin Fisher: And just the idea of untangling, the Christmas tree lights is something that I come back to because like, yes, it’s fucking annoying. But also if you want your Christmas tree to look really good, you better figure it out. Cause you don’t wanna go to the store and buy another one. That’s just gonna be another ball of shit.

[00:33:11] Petra Vega: Yeah. Eventually.

[00:33:12] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Right.

No, you have, you gotta do the work, unfortunately. Like you have to do the work in order to get the result that you want and that work is uncomfortable. And if one bulb is burned out, then you’re like, ah, everything is wrong .

Yeah. But you can get a replacement bulb. Mm. And that’s easier than getting an entire replacement string of lights. Yeah. And of course you can get a pre lit tree, but that’s always gonna look a little sparse and, and fucked up.

[00:33:42] Petra Vega: Yeah. And you and your, your touch will not be on that tree too is like, I think that’s the piece too, that I’m like that I, again, like social work background, that what I’ve learned is like, and I think this is very much probably similar to the work that you do with folks.

Right. That’s like the only way out is to through it. Right. Yeah. And I was talking to someone on a wellness podcast and they were sharing that like, oh, I asked my therapist, like, what am I gonna be done? Like, when am I done with healing and is someone who like, I am really committed to my healing journey, but also I’m not interested in like becoming a perfect un-, like sanitized high level of myself.

And I’m like, I don’t want that, but I do wanna be like thoughtful and aware of like when I’m in my own, fuck shit. Right. And because I’m like, that work is helpful for me, it’s helpful for the people that I support and for the world, for us to just be interested in that. But being like. It’s probably forever work.

Right. And so I think it’s also that like, again, we just gonna keep talking shit about capitalism, right? The capitalism is like, we can get it to you fast efficient. But I’m like, by, by, by what means, right. And who, who gets sacrificed by through efficiency is I’m like us. Right. And so it get fast, efficient and beautiful.

Right? It’s like, this is the new tree. Don’t you want the new tree on the block? And I’m like, I don’t want the new tree. Right. That I’m like, I want the tree that’s been through the storms. I want the, the tree who’s like deeply rooted with other trees. Right? Like even if you look at trees or know anything about trees, the tree is just like, they fucking hold onto each other.

And I’m like, how can I? And I’m also like, learning about like, what are the things in nature that we can apply to our lives? And I’m like, who are the people that I’m like, oh, I’m gonna fucking hold on to you. Right. That even would. The storm —

full circle, full circle, Caitlin. We’re like through the storm, right then, like, who are the people that I’m like, I’m fucking storming. And I’m like, and it might be a small storm or like an, a nap related storm that like, I just needed a nap to get through it. And other times I’d be like, I’m fucking off. Like, can you, can you say nice things to me that this is like literally conversations I have with some of my friends that I’m like, I’m not feeling too good. Can you say nice things to me?

And can we get a practice of like, here’s what I need versus like, let me operate from a place of like, I don’t know how to say what I need. And so I’m gonna use all of these other ways that are like harmful or hurtful or just like not how I wanna show up. And I’m like, Nope, let’s work on, like, I need this thing. Can you, can you give me some love? I need some love.

[00:36:04] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, I am. I am practicing asking for things especially in this relationship. And I’m also currently in the practice of saying the angst anxious shamey stuff out loud. So that, it sounds ridiculous when it is, when it has an audience.

I’ll be like, oh, like, I’m sorry that we’re out of butter.

And my partner’s like, why are you sorry?

[00:36:27] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:36:27] Caitlin Fisher: I’m like, cause I made the grocery list and he’s like, but you don’t eat that butter. You wouldn’t know that we were low on that butter. Hmm. Yeah. But I still could’ve looked and he’s like, I, this is literally not your fault. so we just, we just go back and forth like that.

And it’s so affirming and it’s so nice. And cuz both of us have had abusive relationships in the past. Yeah. And. Just the fact that it’s okay to need that reassurance and to need it repeatedly. Yeah. Because there’s even a worry where I’m like, okay, well, if I say what I need one time, then like, okay, cool.

I did it. I did it one time. I healed. Oh like, no, it takes practice. You have to keep doing it. And it has to keep being safe in order for that to become like a regulated thing. So even if I’m like, yeah, that iced tea looks really good. Can you pour me one too? Mm-hmm like something like so simple. Like I left my doctor pepper in the kitchen. Can you bring it to me? Or like, I really don’t wanna go outside. Can you walk the dog this morning please? And he does.

Yeah. He just does it. And then I’m like, thank you so much. Like I’m, I’m about to throw him a parade for walking the dog and he’s like, she’s our dog. Yeah. Like I’m here.

[00:37:40] Petra Vega: I’m also a parent. Yeah.

[00:37:42] Caitlin Fisher: We’ve, we’ve lived together for a year now. Like we just hit a year. We’ve been dating for two and a half and it’s so healthy.

[00:37:50] Petra Vega: I’m so happy for you cuz I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know how many people have that and I’m just like, oh, I just want that so much for people. And I’m and the thing that I was like thinking about, and I’m curious to hear your, your, your definition or your description too.

I’m like, I don’t know if I can ask you questions, but I’m gonna ask you questions

[00:38:07] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, do it

[00:38:08] Petra Vega: How do you define healing? Because I was talking to someone who I was telling them that I was doing some like inner gremlin critic work. And they were doing some inner child work and they were saying around like their issues are around like sexual trauma.

And so they were telling their partner that like, oh, I don’t, I don’t really wanna be touched right now. Right. And just being like that shit is. Earth shattering in terms of like the general discourse that like, what are the, the, the rules or the things that we need to do in order to be a good partner, like that breaks that ceiling.

Right. And I was sharing with them that I’m like the fact that that person like, that their partner could respond and be like, yeah, it’s all good. I still love you. Right? Like, don’t, don’t, don’t make you making a request or, or setting a boundary in this kind of way with me mean that like, I all love is gone.

Right. And I’m like, and I think we can be aware of like the stuff that is bothering us or not feeling right. And then we can commute it to someone else. And then that person can have the. Insert words here to respond to us in a way that is grounded in love. And I’m like, that is healing, right? Because the fear that we have is like, people are gonna hate me.

People are gonna think that I’m so needy people I’m gonna be excluded from the group. I’m no longer a part of this thing. And for folks that like, particularly folks with marginalized and it was like, we just wanna be long. Like we just wanna be out here living our best and beautiful lives and y’all, you’re just haters.

And so to have that confirmed that like, oh yeah, I get to have love. I get to have worth, that I’m like, that’s for me, I’m like, that’s where healing happens. Right. And so for me as someone who’s like, what does that look like in leadership that I’m like in the moments that I have people like, be like, can I have a self-care day, take it please like have 10 self care days.

Right. Because I’m like for you to even get to that point, I know that shit is fucking hard. And so I wanna make sure that you feel, yeah, someone was like, take more, take more time off that I’m like, I’ve never had that experience. And how can we use that to like replace that bulb, right? That like you might have 10 busted bulbs of people being shit to you, not treating you with the love, care and decency that you needed, that you deserved and like is innate as a human, but like, what are the other experiences that we can now replace with like this partner, right. Or this coach? Yes. Or this other thing, but I’m curious, like that’s how, what I think about healing is that like where, when people respond, I’m like, that’s the moment of healing, but what is that for you?

[00:40:30] Caitlin Fisher: I love that. Mm-hmm , that’s great. I also love that we have come back to the Christmas tree, like because that is like new bulbs. Mm-hmm just to do a quick dunk on capitalism before I answer your healing question. so I love five below. Do you have five below stores? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. I, I, I fucking love bins and like, I love

[00:40:52] Petra Vega: yeah!

[00:40:52] Caitlin Fisher: Little organizing bins and just, I love it. And I know it is cheaply made shit and somebody didn’t get paid enough to make it. And I know that. And so I like limit myself and I try to get things at thrifting and stuff, but it’s like, Eventually, like I’m disabled. I have fibromyalgia, I’m chronically fatigued. Like I cannot thrift everything.

[00:41:12] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:41:13] Caitlin Fisher: You know? And so sometimes I need to just go by the fricking bin,

[00:41:17] Petra Vega: the nearest thing mm-hmm .

[00:41:19] Caitlin Fisher: And so I do, but I don’t like to throw away and some people are like, I mean, I just got that at five below, so just, you know, whatever, like just toss it and we’ll buy a new one.

And I’m like, oh, that, mm, no, what? Yeah. Like it’s, it’s one thing to like, do it again, but then like, you are now the steward of this item. And so that’s why I feel about like the Christmas tree lights as well. Like sure. You could be like, I don’t want to untangle this. I’m gonna Chuck it. I’m gonna order 10 times as many on Amazon for half what I paid. Cuz I bought that two years ago and the price of Christmas tree lights is way down. But what does that say about like how you value and steward those experiences?

And so that comes back to healing as well, because I think the healing. Part of it is doing the work. Some of it happens inside me, right. When I realize, okay, I should be able to ask for what I need. So if it’s like, I don’t wanna be touched right now, one of mine is like, if I’m sweaty, do not do skin on skin contact and my partner and I like, we’re very touchy, right. So he’s rubbing my back all the time. And he is like leaning against me and I’m like, oh, I’m so fucking hot right . This feels awful.

[00:42:33] Petra Vega: [ Laughter] STOP!

[00:42:34] Caitlin Fisher: Like I love you so much, but do not touch me when I am hot!

[00:42:40] Petra Vega: It’s like a cat, like stop touching me

[00:42:49] Caitlin Fisher: So healing for me is one being like, I don’t, I shouldn’t have to be uncomfortably warm. I’m allowed to tell him that I don’t like that. Mm-hmm . And then the next step of healing is me saying that out loud. Yeah. And then, so like that’s important, right? Because I do need to be able to say that.

His response then either helps the healing or hinders the healing because he can be like, well, you don’t want my affection. Ugh. Which would be like my ex-husband right. He’d be like, I’m gonna touch you more. Ugh. You suck. Right. Like, no, it’s like, no, mm-hmm no. Or he can be like, oh, I’m, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize, thank you for telling me, I’m gonna try not to do that.

And then the next time we’re going for a walk with the dog, you know what he does? Is he touches my back and rubs it and then he goes, oh right. And then he moves down to where my shirt is and he rubs me there instead. That’s, that’s healing, that’s communication.

All in every step of that was me realizing, okay, his need to be affectionate to me does not necessitate my suffering.

[00:43:59] Petra Vega: It’s not trouble.

[00:44:00] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Low level stuff. Like I’m gonna use the word suffering. I’m not like dying in the street. Yeah. Because he touched my shoulder while I’m hot yeah. and then also he learned, and he could need reminded and it’s okay to say it twice.

[00:44:13] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:44:13] Caitlin Fisher: And that is again where I think healing comes in. That’s like the next step is being like, Hey, can I remind you about this boundary that I set and he doesn’t feel unloved. He doesn’t feel like, oh, Caitlin hates me when it’s hot outside. Caitlin doesn’t want me to love them when it’s hot outside.

Like that’s not the move and that’s not what he thinks. So he’s also healing and it happens with him all the time too. He’s like, do you mind if I play a game tonight? Or do you mind if I go and write and I’m like, oh, why are you asking me? Like, go do that. Yeah. And he’s like, oh. Cause that would’ve been a fight with his ex you know?

Oh, why don’t you love me? Why don’t you pay attention to me? Wah wah wah. And I’m just like, no, please go do that. So that I can, I don’t know, read a book or go to bed early, late, like. watch queer eye. Yeah.

[00:44:55] Petra Vega: Right.

oh, I love, I love all of that. Cause I think about one thing that I’ve been obsessed with is like how change is made. Right. That I think about like, what are the moments that we can replace or create another possibility for something else to be true. And I think about like folks who I’ve worked with before, who are like, I’ve always been this way.

Right. And thinking about what are the things that people. Believe about themselves or other people have told them about themselves. And like, for me, I’m always listening to what are those things? And it sounds like in y’all’s relationships, you’re like that I’m like, oh, when you know someone deeply, you can like see them in the full breadth of that.

Right. That you’re like, I know that that’s not, you that’s trauma. Right. Or I know. And like also part of you, but also like that’s mostly trauma talking or that’s mostly anxiety talking or that’s like abusive relationship talking. And so how can I see that as like I’m with you, I’m with you in this whole thing.

But I think about like this one person that I work with that had this narrative around like, oh, I don’t, I don’t follow through with stuff, which I’m like, that is a, that’s a heavy thing to believe about yourself. You know, that like,

[00:46:02] Caitlin Fisher: it really is

[00:46:02] Petra Vega: with anything right. That it’s like, I can’t make a dinner decision. I can’t choose someone to love me good. I can’t choose a vocation like that just like is so perplexed. And for me as someone who like, I pay attention to those things is like, I think. Again, if you don’t have your eye or ear to it, you don’t notice it. I’m like, oh, that’s a moment. That’s a, a thing that is like, not true.

Like I don’t, and I don’t believe that for anyone. Right. That I’m also like why I do this work and why I do any work then I’m like, people can change. Like I’ve seen it because I’ve changed. I’ve seen other people, but I’m like, what is the right sauce? What’s the right temperature. What’s the right degree that people need.

Like what, what is that thing that I’m just like, obsessed with trying to figure out so that I can multiply that. Right. And just fit to offer that to other people to be like, oh, was this thing right? And for some people it might just be like, did you notice that thing you did, you fell through, you followed through with that.

Mm-hmm . So let’s talk about this other thing that you first told me how make it make sense. Mm-hmm make it make sense. Right. And for folks to like, be in the moment of like, oh fuck, I did follow through.

You fucking did. What did it, what did it take for you to do that? And how do we replicate it?

[00:47:11] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. Exactly. So like a lot of my work with people, especially in the creative realm is I could start it, but I can’t finish it. And I’m like, that’s self sabotage because you’re scared, scared of what happens when you finish it. Whether it’s that it doesn’t turn out how you want it or that you did actually a really good job. And now you’re scared. You can never live up to it again. I had a blog post go viral and I didn’t write for six months. I was like, I can’t, I can’t live up to that.

[00:47:38] Petra Vega: Wow.

[00:47:40] Caitlin Fisher: So that’s scary, you know, so, and what is that fear protecting you from? So we do a little bit of like, just imagine that self sabotage is trying to protect you because it is, that’s a, that’s a protection technique.

[00:47:54] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:47:56] Caitlin Fisher: and we get mad at it, but it’s just doing its job. and so we need to be compassionate with self sabotage and be like, okay, well, like of course you don’t want me to feel the way I did when I was in third grade and my art teacher held up my painting to the class and said, you think that’s a dog?

Like, that’s what, that’s what you’re scared of. So like, let’s go process third grade for a second. Yeah. And then also I just challenge them. I’m like, have you ever finished anything? Like, did you graduate high school? like you ever, you ever read a whole book? Like these are things that you have finished, so don’t talk shit to me. You’re lying.

[00:48:36] Petra Vega: yeah. I love that, that technique. I call the ‘where are the receipts,’ you’re like, what evidence do we have to believe this thing? You’re like you, but, and particularly if it’s like a strong one, I’m like, show me. Right. And, and when it, mostly, when I’ve done it, they’re like, there are nothing I’m like, yeah. So it’s just a thought like, and then we just let, let it, let it flow away if we want to.

Right. Or it’s like, If we, if there it’s like, Nope, but it’s like solidified, it might be in the corner of our brain. We can, can it be there? Could we, do we wanna talk to it? Do we wanna dance? Do we wanna act like it’s not there? We get to make that choice. Yes. And then I think the, the other thing that I was thinking about too was like, I think I mentioned before, right around the inner critic is like, well, what if we named it?

Right. Like, not just like this amorphous thing, but like I named mine, I gave him an image. I decided that his name was Walter. And I’m like, what is his name was Walter. He was this little it was a white grandpa that was like on the porch, like the most stereotypical, like older guy kind of deal. And I’m like, he’s lived a long life.

He’s like on his porch. So he is not gonna come closer to me. He’s not gonna be dangerous towards me or harm me in any kind of way. But he has a lot of shit to say because he is lived a long life. And so the things that he asked me during this moment that I had recently, like a few weeks ago was like, what if you fuck it up?

I was like, oh fuck, I might fuck it up. Right. That I’m like, I just have to just have to like, oh, I might fuck it up. Right. And then take a moment to feel it and then say like, what if I did fuck it up? Right. Cause then I think that’s the moment that you could be like, you forgot who the fuck you were. I’m like, well, if I fuck it up, I’m gonna fucking learn.

And if I fuck it up badly, that like I cause harm, which I’m like, I’m a human I’m bumping around with other humans. I might be harmful that I’m like that I’m gonna acknowledge that harm because I’m not above that. And then I’m gonna try to, to make good on how can I improve it. Right. And yes. And then I’ll learn from it.

And then I went back to, to Walter and I was like, what else you got? They’re like, I guess you got it. Like, thanks Walter. Yeah. Thanks Walter.

[00:50:30] Caitlin Fisher: I love that. My eating disorder is Carl Carl, Carl, right? Mm-hmm so Carl, I love eggs for breakfast. Like every single day I make eggs and toast. And Carl is like, you can only eat three eggs in a day.

If you eat more than three eggs in a day, You’re you have messed up and I don’t know what that is. So sometimes I have to eat four eggs in a day just cuz Carl’s bitching at me. Right? You’re like, yeah. I’m like, get outta here, Carl. Like who? I don’t need your shit. I don’t need your shit. Or he is like, you’d only have one soda.

One soda in a day and I’m like, yeah, I drank like three waters. Carl I’m drinking the Dr. Pepper. Cuz I want one. Cause I want one. Yeah. And even if I didn’t drink three waters, Carl, I can just, I’m just floating down soda stream today.

[00:51:16] Petra Vega: you’re the lazy river of soda.

[00:51:18] Caitlin Fisher: I’m tubing ,tubing in a vodka Sprite.

[00:51:23] Petra Vega: I love it.

[00:51:24] Caitlin Fisher: I dunno, that would, well, I guess like if you’re in a bathing suit in Dr. Pepper, you’re not really protecting yourself. It’s gonna be like, I don’t think I wanna be naked in Dr. Pepper, but

[00:51:32] Petra Vega: that’s fair. I mean, let’s say that this wouldn’t be like sticky would not mess with your pH balance or anything.

[00:51:36] Caitlin Fisher: It’d be like, it would be like me and the doctor.

Yeah. But we have to, we have to yell at Carl sometimes and I’ll even say it to my partner. I’ll be like, I don’t know. Like I already had a pop today and he is like is that Carl talking? Oh, and so like having. The support network of that.

[00:51:55] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:51:55] Caitlin Fisher: Is just really good. Like having people who have your back. Yeah. Very powerful. I even recently {gasp} told my roommate that something she did upset me. We, so our, our living situation. Right. So I live with my partner.

[00:52:11] Petra Vega: Okay.

[00:52:11] Caitlin Fisher: His roommate of 10 plus years from college owns the house. We all bought it together.

[00:52:16] Petra Vega: Okay.

[00:52:16] Caitlin Fisher: Like I covered like some closing costs. He did like the down payment. It’s all in his name. Cuz we were like, nah, the white guy with the job that’s who gets the mortgage.

[00:52:23] Petra Vega: And the better interest rates. I’m like, you better use that privilege for good

[00:52:26] Caitlin Fisher: yeah, no. I’m like when we get an appraisal, like me and Brennan are just gonna fuck off cuz like we don’t need the six three black guy with the locs here. You know, no, we know how this works. It’s not good. Yeah. And then they also have a friend from college who needed a place. And so she got in on this deal. And so four millennials bought a house because

[00:52:45] Petra Vega: that’s the start of your next book. Four millennials.

[00:52:47] Caitlin Fisher: I know four millennials bought a house.

Like this in this economy?

[00:52:53] Petra Vega: I will be, I will preorder love it, love it.

[00:52:56] Caitlin Fisher: And I told one of the, our roommates, like she just did something that upset me. And I was like, look like, this is really hard. And I did it over discord, like, cause I can’t, I still can’t do it in person. And I’m like, so that’s like, this is really hard, but like, I just need to tell you that, like this upset me and like, it just upset me.

Like, I didn’t say anything else. I was just like, Hey, this upset me. And sometimes that’s healing. Sometimes healing is I don’t have to like info dump every single part of it that hurt me. I can just be like cliffs notes.

[00:53:24] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:53:24] Caitlin Fisher: we got a little, we got a little, little thing here and she came home with chocolate and was like, I’m so sorry. and she was like, I’m really glad that you told me, always tell me. And I’m just like, what the fuck?

Cause I’ve lived in so many like toxic situations where any concept like that is just, it gets awkward and it doesn’t feel good. And it’s like, am I gonna have to move again? Cause I hate moving. I’m so tired of moving, but yeah. Now we’re healing over here. We’re healing over here.

[00:53:59] Petra Vega: I’m curious Caitlin, if you’re open to telling the people, cuz I’m like, again, just mind boggled. I’m like , I have a similar depth of relationship with people, but I have not had that before. And I know so many of the people that I have that depth with some do, but most do not have that depth with other people, but we have that depth and I’m like how, for people who do not have any of what we’ve been talking about, they’re like, I fucking want some that would, that sounds nice.

How, how, how might people do that? That I’m like, I don’t know if it’s like characteristics or descriptors, but I’m like, I have some thoughts, but I’m like, how do people get some of this?

[00:54:34] Caitlin Fisher: Goodness, honestly. Okay. It’s gonna be really hard at first.

[00:54:39] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:54:40] Caitlin Fisher: I call this the yikes rule.

[00:54:42] Petra Vega: Oh.

[00:54:43] Caitlin Fisher: Which is actually a working title of one of my next books. I’m working on many books. Okay. So the yikes rule is that like the first time, cause there’s a lot of convoluted thoughts and feelings around like red flags. Like what’s a red flag. Is that a yellow flag? Blah, blah, blah. A red flag seems like a really, really bad thing. Right? Mm-hmm but a yikes is intuitive.

A yikes is in your gut. A yikes is when somebody makes kind of an off-color joke on the first date. And you’re like, Hmm, I dunno if I like that. But you like, the temptation is to get benefit of the doubt and be like, yeah, let’s see. Like, no, the yikes is they’re a bad tipper. Like the yikes is they’re mean to animals, you know?

Like whatever, anything that makes you pause and think I’m a little uncomfortable

[00:55:33] Petra Vega: mm-hmm don’t know about that. Yeah. Mm-hmm

[00:55:36] Caitlin Fisher: you get a maximum three yikes.

[00:55:38] Petra Vega: Ooh.

[00:55:39] Caitlin Fisher: Per person now. I love specificity. I have had some, some fuck boys get more than three yikes. And it always comes back to bite you in the ass. Yeah. So three yikes is where I’m at. You are allowed to disengage at one yikes.

[00:55:53] Petra Vega: There you go.

[00:55:54] Caitlin Fisher: And so this makes for very… a lot of inner work around being a bitch.

[00:56:00] Petra Vega: I love it

[00:56:01] Caitlin Fisher: the first few times that you’re like, I am not interested in hanging out anymore after like one interaction with a person because they gave you a yikes, you will feel bad, especially if you are a people pleaser, especially if you were brought up and socialized as a young girl.

[00:56:17] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:56:17] Caitlin Fisher: you know, like patriarchy hurts boys too.

[00:56:21] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:56:21] Caitlin Fisher: But girls are literally taught, like, he’s mean to you because he likes you.

[00:56:26] Petra Vega: Oh yeah.

[00:56:27] Caitlin Fisher: And then I’m not here for it. Like, no, I have tolerated too many boys being mean to me cuz they like me supposedly to, they don’t like me mm-hmm they want an object to do their dishes and give them a fuck hole.

I’m not into it.

[00:56:41] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:56:42] Caitlin Fisher: we’re not doing it anymore.

[00:56:43] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[00:56:44] Caitlin Fisher: so. Just start disengaging from people. The first time they make you uncomfortable, quit giving out, get out of yikes free cards. And eventually you will meet people who do not yikes you.

[00:57:00] Petra Vega: Mm.

[00:57:00] Caitlin Fisher: But it takes a lot of really uncomfortable boundary reinforcement

[00:57:04] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

[00:57:06] Caitlin Fisher: but it’s also kind of easy because you can just, you know, if you don’t know somebody that, well, you can just be like, eh, and I’m ghosting you, like yeah. Or you can just politely say, you know, I’m not interested in a second date.

[00:57:17] Petra Vega: Yeah. No, thank you. Mm-hmm .

[00:57:19] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah, like I, I have a, a good friend on Facebook. And recently two of her partners– she’s polyamorous, they’re polyamorous, we got she/ they pronouns going on. And just, I didn’t like super click with one of the partners.

I was like, I don’t know, you’re posting some like, kind of like diet culture stuff. That’s a little triggering for me with Carl over here. And I was just like the, like, it’s nothing against you. The vibe is not right. And it’s a yikes for me. So like, I’m gonna choose to distance myself. So that can look like unfriending unfollowing blocking online.

[00:57:55] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[00:57:56] Caitlin Fisher: Online is a great low stakes place to do this. And coming back way, way, circling around online dating is a great place to do this because the first time you go to yikes, in that text conversation, right. When a guy’s like, what’s your favorite color? Oh, where you live? What do you do? Do you like anal?

Like unmatch him.

Mm-hmm that is a yikes. He is removed like, so that’s really like low stakes. So when someone is enough of like a healed person themselves to just be real and not get all up in your shit, mm-hmm then you get to, then you get to build the depth of that and the breadth of that experience.

So that’s my advice.

[00:58:41] Petra Vega: Yeah. I think I’m, I’m someone that I’ve always been, I’ve always had like a small group of friends. And so my, I don’t know that I would say task, but my protocol has been, and now I’ve done this funny thing that I’m like, we about to go to a new level. Are you ready? That I’m like asking permission?

I’m like, I’m gonna tell you, can I tell you about this thing? So I. One, and I know this like is not, is not the norm. It might be the more the norm now, but like, does someone ask for permission before dumping on you? Right. That like I’m going through something, is it okay if I share with you this thing?

Or like,

[00:59:13] Caitlin Fisher: I do love that, I love consent in all places. It’s so good. I’m like, and friendships are like, I feel I’m like, we, we talk a lot about romantic relationships or maybe if you’re not romantic relationships with like that partner ish kind of thing. But I’m like, I did, I did go like more kind of like dating in my example.

[00:59:30] Petra Vega: Yeah. You’re all all good. But like friendships mm-hmm yeah. So you wanna share about friendships?

[00:59:36] Caitlin Fisher: Just that I think consent, we think of consent as like a sexual and romantic thing. Like it’s about sex. It’s not just about sex. Consent everywhere. Consent at work, you know, do you mind taking on this new project and then the negotiation of that. Well, sure. But I’m gonna have to drop something else. Yeah. As opposed to just continuing to pile on work tasks without compensation, that’s a consent issue. Like you agreeing to come onto my podcast, me asking you if I could record the video, that’s consent. And in friendships consent, like you were saying, like when you start a conversation being like I’m in, I’m in like a low place right now, like, can I vent?

And then also clarity. Clarity’s a beautiful gift. Yeah. So I am a savior, solver, fixer person, and that comes from trauma. And I’m trying to just like, let shit exist and not have to like go out and save people. Right. Cause I’m like, oh, how can I fix this problem? How can I get really cre- like, mm, no, that’s brain cells they didn’t ask me to spend on this. So the clarity of being like, do you just need to vent. Do you want solutions? Like, are we coaching right now? Especially because some of my clients are also my friends.

[01:00:47] Petra Vega: Yep. That’s the dream! Insane.

[01:00:49] Caitlin Fisher: it’s, it’s wonderful. Like it’s gorgeous. And like, I’m still amazed that I have like some friends who have like bought every single offer I’ve put out and they’re just like, yes, no, I’m obsessed with this. Like do more. And I’m like, oh, okay. Like that’s the real deal.

Yeah. I love that. But like the clarity of like what, what we’re tackling and if you need fixing, solving advice versus like, if you just need to vent and you need me to be like, that does suck. Like yeah, we should bury Greg. Like ah, for legal reasons that’s a joke. I don’t even know a Greg

[01:01:28] Petra Vega: this is not directed at anyone. You’re like

[01:01:30] Caitlin Fisher: no, there’s no Greg, no Greg. But yeah, the, the consent, the clarity, the just establishing of boundaries. And I think boundaries are very important with friends as well.

[01:01:40] Petra Vega: Yeah. They’re just good all around.

[01:01:43] Caitlin Fisher: It’s really funny. Like my bestie has also an eating disorder but they, it’s called like ARFID.

[01:01:50] Petra Vega: Okay.

[01:01:50] Caitlin Fisher: It’s like, they’re just like food averse. So meanwhile, I love food. Like me and food, we go way back. You can tell. Yeah. but, and , and I love like, I don’t know, getting high and making like a really in depth Mac and cheese or something.

And so when I’m talking to this friend, I’ll be like, I’m gonna go make, and then I just put in brackets redacted. But we’ve gotten to the point where I have now, like redacted food talk so much. The last time I did it, they were like, Ugh, I know that you’re talking about macaroni and cheese

but the, just like the fact that. I’m aware of that limit that they have. And like, I don’t just like go right in with like, here’s all my food shit. I’ll be like, Hey, like, can I talk about food? Or I have another friend who we talk about like body image stuff a lot. And I’ll be like, Hey, can I talk about like some internalized fatphobia I’m experiencing, because that consent is really important.

And that like, going back to what you’re talking about about like building like depth and breadth of friendships and these relationships that are really fulfilling, mutually respectful and safe containers, even when fuckups happen. Like that’s the thing is me bringing you a conflict is actually trust.

That’s me saying I trust in this relationship and in us that I can tell you I am hurt and it will not break our relationship. And that’s really, really big and important because in the past, when you’ve been in abusive relationships, toxic friendships, things like that, when you’re like, Hey, it upset me when you did this.

And they’re like, oh my God, like, do you not even wanna be my friend? Like, why are we in middle school? Why are we 11, Rebecca? Like, stop. So conflict is trust. And when you bring a conflict and say, this hurt me, that models that then they can bring conflict and say that this hurt me. And that’s where we build this mutual trust.

[01:03:47] Petra Vega: Yeah. Yep. I mean, I was gonna add just the conflict piece, right. That I’m like also, I’m like really into risk that I’m like in relationship building and anyone who’s like trying to stand outside of whatever the norm is. And I was like, there’s risk there. Right. And I’m like, and, and there is a opportunity in that risk and there’s also a danger in that risk.

Right. And I think one of the… thinking about like, what are the skills that we could all use to build is around conflict, right? Like how do we handle conflict in a way that is generative? And so I’m someone who like, I start a lot of shit, cause I’m like, there’s a lot of shit wrong and I’m gonna say something about it, or I’m gonna like offer to do something differently about it.

And so it’s something that, for me, I’ve had to like understand conflict, to be something that can be transferred, can be composted, can form anew. And so when I get into conflict now I’m like, are we having a conflict? We’re about to go so deep. We’re about to like, figure something out then I’m like, I might be angry or stressed or anxious about the particular thing.

But again, because of the way that I think about conflict, I’m like, oh, I wonder, I wonder what will become clearer now. Right. Cause I think that’s also part of the reason that we don’t, that conflict happens. It’s like either I thought something or believed something and the other person believed something differently than I, and we didn’t know, or make space for it or give it the proper acknowledgement that we needed. And now we’re like doing this whole thing. Yeah. Where I’m like, now it’s the opportunity to be like, oh shit. Like you were telling me about your whack ass husband, my fault. I thought you wanted help. You just wanted be like, yeah, fuck him.

Like, let’s go find a lady like or what . Yeah. That’s–

[01:05:29] Caitlin Fisher: I’m done with men.

[01:05:30] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[01:05:30] Caitlin Fisher: I’m gay now.


Let’s go to pride. I got the BI eyeliner in the car. We’ll do bi-liner

[01:05:37] Petra Vega: I’m the friend. I’m like, let’s get on the dating sites. I’m like, we’re ready. I will help you build a profile. And I’m like, well, that’s what she wanted.

Right. And I had like a situation with that and this friend had the built the trust. And I’m also like, love that you named it as trust. Right. Cause we, I think. For those of us that like are into social justice or want liberation of freedom in the world, we may or may not be afraid of being canceled.

Right? Like what if someone calls us out, but like, yep. And if someone does though, they, they probably think you can do something about it. Cause like there’s a whole bunch of people that I know are doing fucked up shit, but I’m like, I don’t have access to you where you wouldn’t give a shit about what I have to say, or I’ve seen the history of how you show up. And I don’t think that there’s a likelihood of you changing. Or that I, I wouldn’t be the person to help you make that change. And so I’m like, I just need to pray and hope that the people that are connected to you will do something differently. But if I’m in relationship with you and I’m like, I know you care about such and such, but then you did this other thing, what happened, right.

That I’m like, that is, that’s scary for me to say, cuz as a friend, depending on how you’ve been defining that, you’re like, oh, you’re a ride or die. Like either you are down for everything I have to say, but like sometimes you be wrong. Like sometimes I be wrong and I don’t want someone to be So afraid of losing me that they’re not willing to help me put a mirror to myself, either in that kind of way.

[01:06:57] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. That’s really important. And I, I have a couple other episodes this season talking about sort of like cancel culture and call outs and like how to handle when you are called out and also like when and how and why to call other people out or in, right. Because I don’t, I don’t love like a public call out, but I do like, like a DM that’s like, ‘Hey, I saw that you were burning Sage. Not sure if you’re aware, but that’s actually like a culturally appropriative practice,’ yada, yada, as opposed to being like this person’s using Sage, everyone should unfriend them. Like we do not need to crusade.

[01:07:34] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[01:07:36] Caitlin Fisher: But like the, I saw white supremacy and like unlearning it as described as an iceberg. Right. So like, obviously, at like the tip of the iceberg, we’ve got like the KKK. we know that’s racist.

[01:07:49] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm

[01:07:50] Caitlin Fisher: but down here at like the bottom it’s like just

[01:07:53] Petra Vega: culture appropriation lives there .

[01:07:55] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah! And like biases that we’re not even aware are racial. Like when, when I was first apartment hunting, my mother was going with me because I was the helpless baby.

And she was like, look at the cars in the parking lot at the apartment complex. If they’re like really beat up, you don’t wanna live there. Oh, okay. And I didn’t know. And it took me like, I don’t know, 10 years to be like, oh no, that was racist and classist and not okay. Mom who grew up in Cleveland, like what?

And so just like, so I, I thought, you know, oh yeah, no, you don’t wanna live in an apartment complex with broken down cars and eventually it was like… oh, no.

[01:08:41] Petra Vega: That’s me.

[01:08:42] Caitlin Fisher: Yeah. Yeah. And we all do that. And so we’re all at different levels and there’s an ableism iceberg and there’s a sexism iceberg, like a misogyny iceberg. Sometimes the misogyny is coming from inside the house and a capitalism iceberg like thinking, oh yeah, no, you shouldn’t discuss salary with your coworkers. Mm, no, no. You’re down here in the iceberg. No, it’s bad. Yeah. Don’t do it. Up at the top is Jeff Bezos. We can tell that he’s bad and like down here is like little things like being like, well, no, you should go above and beyond. You should have to cover your coworkers shift or they can totally revoke your PTO that’s already approved because you got at will employment or whatever, like, no, no, that’s all to, to borrow your fantastic word that you’ve been saying, that’s all fuck shit.

[01:09:25] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[01:09:27] Caitlin Fisher: like, no, we don’t like it.

[01:09:29] Petra Vega: Mm-hmm mm-hmm

[01:09:31] Caitlin Fisher: so everything, everything’s an iceberg, every one is at a different level of the learning and unlearning process. And like, it’s pretty easy to be like, I’m not gonna hang out with people up at the tip of these iceberg. Like I am not, I’m not talking to Ben Shapiro. Yeah. but like, yeah, I’ll get in a brief Twitter fight with, with somebody in his comments for a minute. Like we’re, we’re further down here in the iceberg, you know, it’s, it’s all of it is a process.

[01:09:59] Petra Vega: Yeah.

[01:09:59] Caitlin Fisher: And some people want to learn and change and other people don’t and we can hope that something opens their eyes later, but you do not have to be the person who is saving everyone from themselves. You can’t, that’s so exhausting.

[01:10:15] Petra Vega: Yeah. Yeah. You can’t. And it’s like, I was talking to someone the other day around, like this piece around empower. Right. And it’s like, people already have power. Right. But it’s like, how do we learn? And I got this from someone who posted about it, who’s like, we need to learn how to be disempowering. Right. We’re like, that’s the shit that we’ve actually been learning. Right. That like we’ve been learning capitalism and patriarch and all of these things.

And we’re like, this is our culture. And I don’t know if you saw like Resmaa Menakem made a post around like trauma decontextualized is a personality, is family traits, is like a generation and all these other, other, other things. And it. What are we really looking at though? Right? Which is why I’m like, once we have language and clarity, as you’re describing, like once we know the names of these things, then we can be much clearer to then decipher, like what parts of these is like in our innateness, which I’m like our creativity, that’s part of our innateness, right?

Whether or not we like unleash it. And I’m like, people’s work might be the way that they funnel their creativity, which like, that’s very much for me. And now I’m like doing a course with my friend where we’re gonna be doing some like prompts and writing. And I’m like, well, I’m dedicating this to my creativity, cuz it’s not a thing that I think about.

But I’m like, well, I, I see the value in that stuff. Cause I’m like, that’s the, that’s the way that we’ve gotten through all of us across generations, right? Is that there’s some arts and some culture and there’s some singing and some dancing and some writing. And there’s all of this other stuff that like we gonna do to work.

Right. We’re gonna like theorize it and we’re gonna like go out in the streets and we’re gonna like call people in and be like, get, get, get yourself together. And we need to do all of this other stuff. That’s like, we need to play with our cats. We need to go walk our dogs. We need to go look at the sky and be like, I can still see the sky while we have it. Like all of those things get to all happen at the same time.

[01:11:54] Caitlin Fisher: Yes

[01:11:55] Petra Vega: mm-hmm

[01:11:56] Caitlin Fisher: I love that. Perfect. Full circle. We did it. yeah. I think we recorded a pretty rad episode here.

[01:12:02] Petra Vega: Yeah, I agree.

[01:12:04] Caitlin Fisher: Yes. And also we’ve gone a little over time and I don’t want to keep you. Yeah. So tell us where we can find you online. Yes. And the ways that people can work with you if they are interested.

[01:12:15] Petra Vega: Yes, yes. Yes. So you can find me at create more possibilities. I’m on Instagram and Facebook. My website create more Come say hi, if you wanna apply to work with me right now, I’m working with folks on a one on one basis for six months.

If you wanna take the values, any of the things that we kind of talked around. Creativity anti-racism boundaries care. Any of those things that you want to be more central to your life? I’m your girl. I’m like we gonna get you from thinking, wanting, desiring into practice. So come, come apply to work with me or a few questions. Come talk to me.

[01:12:49] Caitlin Fisher: I love it. I love it. All of those links will be down in the show notes. Thank you. And once again, thank you so much, Petra, for being here. This was a fantastic conversation and I’m proud of us.

[01:13:01] Petra Vega: Yes. Thank you so much

[01:13:03] Caitlin Fisher: for bringing it back around to creativity at the end.

[01:13:06] Petra Vega: We did that.

Published by Caitlin

Caitlin writes and coaches about trauma recovery, relationships, motivation and confidence, self-love, queer identity, and social justice. They are the author of The Gaslighting of the Millennial Generation. Find their work at

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