You cannot be whole in a place that negates the progress you have made. - Monica Cox
I started going to therapy consistently after a conversation about the plight of Black people in the US and the lack of protection of Black people in professional and personal spaces. My breaking point came when I had a Zoom conversation with someone and was in tears. I asked if justice in America was real for Black people. Were laws real? Did those laws apply to everyone or did they only exist for people in power who were resistant to change?
I reflected with that person on the 2020 U.S. political landscape and how many people of color felt afraid of what was happening in the US. Death and murder were commonplace in ways I had never experienced. The Covid-19 numbers were staggering with a cousin and former colleague dying from the virus. It was a dark time.
I haven't even mentioned work. That space had been toxic for almost five years. It was a place that I started to dread going to physically. More than once, I sat in my car in the garage at work and looked through tears at my office building. To say I disliked that space and how it affected me is an understatement. I felt as if I was not understood and that there were not policies in place to protect me. As such, I never knew what attacks would come and when they would hit.
I understood and recognized conflicts, but those toxic moments were intense. Many people seemed to be okay with the issues that were problematic to me. There weren't solutions to long-term problems and behaviors. There were manipulative and patriarchal behaviors that destroyed people and women of color. Going into that lion's den every day was savage.
Over time, I've learned a lot from therapy. First, I have to love myself enough to not allow negative behaviors to overtake me again. That means I have to resist a space and place that is not healthy even if others think that space is safe.
If I don't push against toxicity, I regress. My only choices now are to resist that toxicity or leave that space. Tolerating abuse will never be an option for me again. I love myself too much to be abused at work. That’s non-negotiable.