I opened my emails to do the hourly ritual amongst friends of discreetly checking your updates incase anything important lies amongst the nonsense that might need your attention. I scroll through and come across an email from PayPal – ‘Your Account Has Been Limited’. My heart sunk and I started shaking. Everything around me blurred as I read through the email that laid out the information that my source of income had completely stopped, and I was now in Germany, looking for a place to live, alone, with no means to fund myself. I started grabbing my things. ‘I’m sorry, I’ve got to go’ I said to my friends. ‘Something really bad has happened.’ They looked worried but also couldn’t tell if I was joking. ‘Really bad?’ One of them said. ‘Yeah, really bad, I’ve gotta go.’ I had hired a rental bike that day, so I grabbed my bag and mounted the bike, while trying to work out where the hell I was so I could ride back there and take this damn bike back. While manically peddling through the streets of Berlin, eyes half on my phone, half on the road, I managed to find the bike shop. I threw him 5 euros and started running home. I messaged my mum, and she called me straight away to try and calm me down. I couldn’t breathe. I was running so fast and my mouth was dry. My allergies were really bad and I could feel myself wheezing. I don’t know why I was running, I figured the quicker I got home the quicker I could sort things out. This wasn’t really the case though, because these things take time and patience, the latter not being one of my strong points. ‘First things first, you just need to find a new payment processor.’ My mum said. She was right. I got home and started googling, everything was blurry and I couldn’t see properly. I was crying so much and in such a state of shock it was hard to concentrate. My entire business I’d spent 2 years building had been taken away from me, and I now needed to start from scratch. My stomach dropped and I cried. I cried for hours while trying to sort a processor. I managed to find one, and I had to frantically sort through paperwork, ID’s, rates etc. I had to compile a list of hundreds of emails of people to let them know what was happening, and after I’d done everything I felt I needed to there was just silence. Nothing. A deadness. Everything I’d worked for over 2 years had gone. I’d lost my means to make a living because I broke a ‘certain sexual content’ rule. I broke a rule about being human and at one with my sexuality and body. I chose to use my own body to express myself, and PayPal took away that consent. I now had no income. Brand new in Germany, few friends, no place to live in a few weeks, and I now had no income. Luckily I’d been sensible and had put away savings for this sort of emergency, but it didn’t hurt any less. I felt degraded and robbed. I felt punished and abused. I hadn’t harmed anyone. I had brought only happiness to people, and for that I was punished.
As I write this 4 days later, I’ve attempted to process my feelings. I’ve found a payment processor that will work for me, and who is on my side, but things like site integration, website coding, and credit card approval takes time. It’s also not cheap, so I’ve had to slightly increase the pricing of my website (while also introducing new pricing options which is exciting & more accessible for some). So for now I’m trying to accept the things I cannot change. I can’t change the fact that I lost my entire business with one click from PayPal, but I can move forward with optimism and hope. I will continue focusing on my work because that’s what I do best, and that’s what no one can take away from me. I will now have to find patience, and trust that things will resolve, and that I will rebuild. I’m scared, really scared, but there’s nothing I can do but have faith. I believe deep down that I can get everything rebuilt again. I just need to breathe, and take each day as it comes.