Having to leave behind people you care about because a space is no longer welcoming or safe is an agonizing feeling.

Do you stay just for them, try to cut off little bits of yourself, smile and nod like women are trained to? How do you deal with the numbing guilt of leaving those you care about behind? What if they get hurt?

Having to weigh every aspect of something you need to do for your survival against everyone else’s needs is painful. It should be easy to make the decision, but it never is.

It’s a process, like anything else. Sometimes you’re trapped because of physical survival, and that’s its own terribly damaging quandary.

So if you’re struggling or have struggled with this, please be gentle with yourself. It is never easy, especially with all the social training ground into women to play along, to smile, to be good prey.

It is a terribly difficult, draining process, whether you’re contemplating a clean cut or a slow fade. I have not found anything that will ameliorate the agony one whit. I wish I had so I could share the solution.

This is a big thing. Be patient and gentle with yourself. You deserve to feel safe, and you do not have to like everyone. It’s all right to simply decide to step away.

You are not a bad person if you leave an unsafe environment. You are not a bad person if people you care about choose to stay. You can’t force them, even if you want to pick them up and run. All these things are true.

You are also not required to like everyone you meet. “I don’t like this person and prefer not to spend time near them,” is *perfectly* valid. Politely declining is not a sin.

So again, if you’re struggling with this quandary or have struggled with it in the past, try to be gentle with yourself. It’s a hard process; grant yourself some grace so you can do it right.

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Ragged Feathers

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