Monday, September 9, 2019 / 7:10 PM

I don’t want this to be a metaphorical lit match. I’ve just been wrestling with this, internally, for months and trying to understand what it is I’ve been feeling.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been scared that the public perception is I failed. That I couldn’t “hack it.” That I gave up. The truth is that I do feel like a failure. I do feel like I couldn’t hack it. I am convinced I gave up.

My breakdown this summer is well-documented, so you don’t need the CliffNotes again. I’ve been working through a lot of what happened and it’s only lately I’ve been able to put it into words: I left my job because I realized I was too young to be burnt out. A lot of that burnout came because I grew tired of fighting to be visible in a space not built to hear my voice. I grew tired of trying to prove to an out-of-touch, rich funder that the work mattered while she was told people she “bought” me/us.

I grew tired of fighting to justify my existence.

When I was in college, I was in an unhealthy relationship. It was abusive. He took advantage. I tried to tell people, and I tried to ask for help, but I was ostracized – and, admittedly, I lashed out. And after I walked away, I saw who stayed by his side.

It doesn’t take a trained professional to connect the dots: That was when I began to believe that I was inconsequential.

This is messy. I knew when my identity and worth began being tied to my work, it would be messy. And I know saying any of this puts a black mark on my record. All I can hope for is that someone reading this can learn from my mistakes. Yes, we will mess up. We will break. We will be forgotten.

But I also believe we’ll be OK.

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