When I first heard about Naomi Osaka’s brave decision to withdraw from the French Open, I couldn’t help but recall my own battles with anxiety, social anxiety and depression. If at the age of 23, I had known myself as well as Osaka knows herself and what she needs to flourish, I would have saved myself a decade or two of pain and suffering.
Too often when you finally find the courage to voice your needs, it’s usually because you’ve reached the end of your rope…you have zero fucks left. What little that you have left is reserved for yourself. And there is no amount of money that will change your decision.
A few years ago, I left a job due a toxic work environment that exacerbated my anxiety and depression. It was an unsafe environment for me. It was so bad I got physically sick. When I returned from sick leave, I handed in my letter of resignation. I had no job lined up, but I didn’t care because at least I would have my peace of mind.
While I was confident in my decision, it was scary AF. I had limited financial cushion and no energy or desire to search for a new job. Because I quit, I didn’t qualify for unemployment. It was a terrible situation, but through the support of my community, I made it through. I picked up two small project management contracts that sustained me. I made just enough to pay my bills and recover.
As reflect on that situation, how I chose to respond challenged me to grow. I learned lessons that I would need for the journey ahead.
- I saw my resilience.
- I saw my fortitude.
- I saw my resourcefulness.
- I saw my courage.
As a women, and in particular a woman of color, I (we) are taught to question and doubt are own strength, power, needs and sense of reality. We are expected to be silent and endure toxic relationships and environments. We are expected to just be grateful and compliant, no matter the cost.
After that incident, I decided that it doesn’t matter how good the work is, or how large the paycheck, or how important a relationship is, any environment that’s toxic to your flourishing, isn’t a good fit.
You cannot put a price tag on your peace of mind.