I’ve been writing this post for
days, months, years.
It’s one of those things I’ve purposely ignored, thinking it would go away.
But it hasn’t.
So yeah. Denial.
I’ve known all along when a change or choice to move on needs to be made.
I’ve known when I was in love and when I wasn’t.
I’ve known when I really wanted something to the point of obsession and then when I was faking it.
My knowing is a felt-sense, something that brews and bubbles inside of me. Choosing to listen to it is another story altogether.
When I worked as a therapist with foster kids, I was the victim of sexual and anti-semitic harassment. My white male supervisor spoke to me inappropriately. Not once, not twice, but in most of our weekly meetings he referred to my relationship status with overt sexual language and innuendo (I had broken up with someone and it’s not uncommon, in a therapy setting, to express a small amount of personal “stuff” to a supervisor).
He was so bold as to think he knew what I needed and made lewd comments to that effect. Additionally, he referred to “my people” and said other anti-semitic remarks that left me confused.
I didn’t want to speak up. It was so shameful for me that I wanted to hide, worried I’d be fired. That worry was a fair indicator of indecency—and my coworkers correctly gave me an ultimatum to speak up–or they would. I consulted with a few trusted individuals to determine what to do.
Gathering courage, it was up to me to right the situation and I went to HR and reported the incidents. From there, an investigation ensued and I was placed with a different supervisor. He was only slightly better. While there weren’t any new incidents of anti-semitism or sexual harassment, I was singled out for having spoken up. Suddenly my work due dates shifted from 48 to 24 hours. I was on a short leash.
After six months, I was fired.
I had known the truth all along. I had a strange premonition this would happen. I also knew that I would have to take the next step and go to court. I was denied unemployment and then appealed the decision, thereby forcing me go to court. My wildest worries came true: that I’d have to testify before my supervisor. So, I put on my bravest face and did my best. I had a deep feeling that I’d win.
The truth always resides inside us.
It’s up to each of us to slow down, way, way, way down, and listen. When we peel away the distractions, we are left with distilled truths. The falsehoods and lies we we tell ourselves to convince us are pressed into figures of wax that will eventually melt. Instead of misshapen stories, we can listen to ourselves. We feel our ways through tough situations or crawl through nooks that seem dark and scary, but really are vulnerable or unique.
But, the truth comes out the other end. I urge you to listen to your truth and express it, even if the admission is to yourself.
This piece originally appeared on Nina’s blog, afterdefeat.