Self-help growth

One of the things about being gay (and a person of color) is the price we pay for our mental state/health. And I'm not talking literally but figuratively.

As a woman of color who identifies as gay, I have the added pressure of living up to or "performing" in the world that can either add to a positive conversation or exacerbate the stereotype that brews in the back of someone's mind.

In June, I left one job and moved to another. While the previous job was accepting of who I was as a gay woman, my identity as a Black Woman was challenged in so many other ridiculous ways, that I became literally sick. I had headaches and stomach aches for two years because I had to watch how I said this, how I said that, what would be the perception. Was I being "too black" "too outspoken"? I could not go through life or a job that was eating away at my mental health. It wasn't that serious.

We hear all the time about authenticity. We say we want employees and employers to be authentic but that is not true if your form of authenticity has a caveat. When that caveat is "we can't have a conflict on the team or everyone needs to agree all the time" than the need for authenticity fails. Sometimes, people do not get along. The ideas stop if the team is a harmonious lie. If everyone is a yes person, how do you sift through the malaise to find gems of an idea?

We have to live what we believe.

For me, it meant seeing a therapist. I have to make sure my mental state aligns with my values and that means working for people that truly invite ideas and creativity along with my identity as gay and black and woman. I'm not saying throw caution to the wind and discard your filter. I am saying that the ability to share your thoughts and ideas are the best way to protect your mental state without letting a job or employer drive you to snap.