It was seven years ago this week that I left my last call-center job. Actually, it was when I brought my computer equipment back to the office and out-processed because I had been working remotely for the previous year. And when I drove to the office, a huge thunderstorm blew up and it got so dark the streetlights turned on. But as I drove in and then when I drove out, I was blasting one song, “Light of Day” by Joan Jett (written by Bruce Springsteen).
I didn’t tell anyone at the time I was leaving this job because I didn’t want anyone to try and talk me out of it. It was a toxic environment that was affecting my physical and mental well-being. And there is NO reason whatsoever for someone to suffer through that. Now I didn’t have anything lined up when I left that place because I needed to heal up first (I had two disks in my lower back that were either compressing or bulging and causing me enough pain that would have made anyone else scream). Then when I did begin to heal up and got into gig work, I moved on to the mental and emotional part of myself to work on.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to walk away from a toxic environment or relationship because too many people will tell someone to just hang in there and that it will get better. That advice is just as toxic as the environment or relationship someone is trying to get away from. That puts the responsibility to clean up the toxic environment or relationship on the person who isn’t causing it in the first place, and it places shame and guilt on someone that they don’t need to deal with.
If someone comes to you wanting to get out of a toxic environment or relationship, do what you can to help them. First, you support and validate their experiences. Two, you don’t tell them they haven’t done enough because most people are powerless in shitty environments like this. They’re powerless because they’re in places with people who refuse to stop being shit-heads and deal with their own toxic bullshit. Worst of all, some people just won’t pull their heads out of their asses because they like it up there. So why should people put up with this shit if they can find a way out?
Another thing I’ve heard is that someone might be walking into something worse. Yes, I was told this several times in my life and that’s bullshit. No one knows the future or what will happen if someone does something. If someone walks out of a bad situation and does their best to learn and do better, encourage them and support them. If you can’t do that, fuck off because if someone is trying to do better in their life and you can’t support that, you’re a part of the problem and not the solution.
I’m sure some readers might be thinking: what if someone keeps making the same mistakes? Your job in life is not to pull someone’s head out of their ass for them but if you’re trying to get them to think and trying to keep them from going back into the toxic shit, that’s the best you can do. You can’t live someone’s life for them but in reality, I don’t think this happens nearly as often as some people have gone on and on about. I think it happens because people don’t feel like they can do better or if they try that they won’t be accepted as wanting to do better. Again, be supportive and back it up.
The reason I was blasting the song ‘Light of Day’ back then was because of these two parts of the song. The first was this line,
Things can’t get worse, so they gotta get better
That is so damn true because if you walk away from something bad, things have already gotten better.
Then there is this part of the chorus:
Well, I’m a little hot-wired, but I’m feeling okay
And I got a little lost down along the way
Well, I’m just around the corner ’til the light of day, yeah
Yes, we’re all tired but when you’re away from toxic shit and toxic people, you’ll feel okay. And yes, you might get lost along the way. But if you’re lost, you can find your way to where you need to go. Too many of us are afraid to get lost or drift or take a different path because we listen to well-intentioned people who don’t realize that if we take a different road away from our shitty pasts, we’ll turn the corner to the light of day.
Song ‘Light of Day’
Writer/s: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.