Me, with my birthday present from my brother and sister in law, 2016
It is hard to let go of the anger, frustration, control and fear that was my life for the last 2.5 years. It is hard to not wish bad things on the people who have caused me emotional damage. It is hard not to want revenge on those who toyed with my life, moving me across the province just to tell me over and over how worthless I was. It is hard to not feel resentful towards a powerful woman who maintains deep connections in the very tight knit Canadian arts community that I am attempting to break into.
What I keep reminding myself is that I am complicit in the outcome of the last 3 years. I chose the job. I selected the position to work under the unfortunately shortsighted patriarchal dillhole that gave me the creeps from the first minute we met. I let myself believe that it would all be okay; that hard work and dedication to a position I love would be enough. I also let my age, position and being unknown in the community be excuses for tolerating being screamed at, being told I am not worth their time, and being spoken about poorly to other people.
When I realized that I was being bullied and that no amount of adjustment to my behaviour would change how I was being treated, when I realized that they were gas-lighting me and that it was always my fault and it always would be, I finally spoke up. I let the raging feminist who had always demanded to be treated right out of the closet where she had been cowering in frustration for years. It didn't matter that I had no job to go to, no financial support to get out of there, no idea of what to do next, I couldn't be that person any more. I am so grateful that I am privileged enough that despite the risks, I was able to leave. I don't know who I would have become if I had to stay.
The toddler in me still wants to destroy something. Their dreams, their career, that would suffice. But the adult in me understands. I see their pain, and feel bad for the amount of anger and hatred they have invited into their lives. I also think everything happens for a reason.
I am now confident that I can run my own business successfully. This is not something I learned at this terrible job; but something I learned about myself while surviving it. That is the something I have taken away from this nightmare; that no matter what someone else says, even if they have control of my life, finances and career, that I CAN do it.
And so to keep myself from wallowing in revenge, and being sad that I am missing out on all of the wonderful things that came with that position, I choose to look at what I do have. This month has been wonderful and I've loved every minute of it.
30 mornings with my beautiful partner (where I can smile again)
6 days on the dock (not just when I could fit it in around my schedule)
2 fresh fish eaten right out of the water
1 mural completed
1 paint party
3 networking meetings attended (wow, such great community!)