Warning: this is one of those down and dirty posts. Not a fun countdown with colors and flowers and fun tips on how to make adulting easier. This one comes from a place of gut-wrenching horror.
Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.
But it is about me discovering something important – my worth. And the fact that it took a few hurtful (but important) events to help me realize it.
- I once held a job for six years where I did the exact same tasks as several of my colleagues in the organization, yet I earned about $15,000 a year less than my counterparts. When I voiced my concerns, the red tape and bureaucracy that plagued the organization prevented anything from being done about it.
- I had a feeling that despite our promises of love and fidelity, I was once in a romantic relationship with someone who was also seeing another woman. When I expressed my concerns, he told me I was wrong – but in fact when a chance circumstance almost put us all in the same place, he had to come clean and tell the truth. And little did I know – she was the main woman and I was the side piece.
- I agreed to photograph a community event at a discounted rate for a non-profit agency that I greatly respected. When I arrived at the event, I was given instructions on what photographic shots they wanted and when I asked where I could place my camera bag and other equipment, I was told that request could not be accommodated. I was expected to shoot the entire event while carrying my camera bag and equipment. The organization wasn’t willing to let me use a corner of the room for my equipment. The equipment I would be using to photograph their event.
While these events did not happen within the same week (or same month even), they did happen frequently enough for me to make a connection and eventually evaluate my self-worth. For many it may be easy to say “That would never happen to me,” or “You should have stood up for yourself more,” or “Why did you let any of that happen?” I can’t say that I thought any of it was okay at the time, I will tell you though, when I was in the midst of a weird or uncomfortable moment that challenged my self-worth, I wasn”t always able to think on my feet and react the way I should. In each of those moments, the shock left me paralyzed enough that I couldn’t advocate for myself nor could I establish the appropriate boundaries.
What happened as a result though is that I have been able to process my feelings and figure out my next steps. And those next steps began with honoring myself and knowing my worth. Something that I hadn’t done in many, many years. Continue reading