I have started and stopped this post multiple times. Written a little, then deleted it all. Thought to myself, its not worth it. Don't rock the boat. Take the high road. Turn your back and walk away. Fear of retribution, fear of social media backlash, I suppose these are the reasons why. But for some reason I can't. I can't walk away this time. I am too angry. Angry over what happened, and the unfairness that was caused to so many people. I am angry at myself for letting it go on so long. For continuing to use "its going to get better when...(fill in the blank) happens." Over and over, and it never got better. Things only got worse.
Someone said to me once stop skirting around the issue. When are we going to post without the vagueness, without being cryptic. My answer? I don't know. And, really, can we? A lot of really bad stuff happened, but from my end it is primarily hearsay. And in this litigious world, can I risk slander? Can I? Would you?
Two years. Two years of "it was supposed to be this way." Two years of broken promises, lack of follow through, money for entries, gear, "pre-orders," etc, taken with no delivery. Two years of "its just bad organization", this person just doesn't keep good records, give him a break. Two years of throwing whatever at the wall, to see what sticks. And when nothing stuck, being left to pick up the pieces.
I stayed because I believe people can change. And a charismatic, smart leader can convince you of anything. You can be convinced that things were all just a big misunderstanding, and that there was never any mal intent. You can be convinced that "the right people were talked to, and your "fill in the blank" is on the way. Nothing like your race wheels showing up about 10 days before an Ironman....when you paid and allegedly "ordered" them 4 months before. And then knowing that you were one of the lucky ones because you actually received what you paid for.
Looking back, I was a fool. I was a fool to stay for so long. And I only had myself to blame. I loved the actual job so much, loved the people that I worked with so much, that I didn't want to go. I wanted to keep it together for the sake of everyone around me. And I still wanted to believe that things would get better. If only this, or, if only that. Circumstances that never came to pass. When I heard all the stories, all the stories of what happened to other people. Why they left, I was angry. Overwhelmed, sad, angry, this all felt so unfair. How could one person cause so much hurt and continue to get away with it? Because most people walk away. Most people cut their losses and move on. Why can't I do the same? Why do I feel this nagging, tugging pull that there must be justice? I have moments where I can do it. Where that little voice isn't whispering in my head. That little voice that says, you have to stand up and do something about this! It is YOUR responsibility to tell your story and not let this happen to anyone else.
I am exhausted by it. For two years, I struggled and worked and was used. Mental abuse at the hands of a charismatic leader is nothing to overlook. It is not something that people can just let go of and just move on from. Running won't be enough therapy this time. Writing, meditation, and time and what is needed for me. And you know what? I matter. I am a real person, with real feelings. A family and friends who love me. I matter. And what happened to me mattered. What happened to other people mattered.
I am not crazy. I am not a liar. I am not a victim. I am someone who was excited about a new venture, a new opportunity. I am someone who worked hard, who tried her best. I did ignore the warning signs, the red flags. I have to forgive myself for that. I have to forgive myself before I can begin to forgive someone else.
I am just one person. One story. One voice that cannot tolerant unjustness in the world. One soul that despite all that has happened, has not lost faith. I believe people can change. I believe this happened for a reason. I am still sorting out the pieces and putting them back in the right way. This is not old news. My heart hurts. And I matter.