Saturday, January 9, 2016

On Visiting Toxic Places

I’ve moved around a lot in my life and it seems that almost every time I’ve left, I end up with a bad taste in my mouth. There are too many places and people out there that just leave me sour, and because of that, I have a lot of places I’ve dubbed “no fly zones.”

Overcoming a bad experience is one way to allow growth happen and as I grow as a person, a friend, a daughter, a student, etc., I’m able to look back on those experiences and heal. One of the biggest mistakes I made last fall was getting too comfortable with thinking about a past place & situation and somehow convincing myself that I was okay enough to physically go back there. I went alone and ended up in a bad place for a couple weeks. It affected my mental health, my friendships, and my academics. I had spent months “growing” and that all seemed to be ruined by two days in a place that I didn’t know was still toxic for me. As I look back on this situation, I’m thinking of ways it could have been avoided or handled better. And with these revelations, I can only offer a suggestion to those who find themselves entertaining the idea of going back:

Don’t visit a toxic place alone. 

At least not the first time. Have something, a person or an object, that centers you. Bring a friend that you’ve made since leaving or a book that helped you get out of the headspace you were in when you were there. Have something or someone that will be a constant reminder of who you are now and the progress you’ve made to get to where you are. Looking back and going back is okay and maybe sometimes even necessary for your growth & healing processes. Going back to a once toxic place can either boost your growth or prevent it. Go back when you believe you are ready, and even then, bring reinforcements.

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