Weird Shared Experiences of POC in a White Space (220/365)

I don’t know about you, but as a POC I find navigating white spaces have their own struggles that aren’t written about a lot. We see the fun sketches which sort of make it into a joke, but the fact that most people from ethnic backgrounds watch them and relate to them really does say something. Naturally this is inspired by lived experiences as it happens a lot and honestly it’s weird and funny.

Not knowing what to do when white banter happens

If you’re white you might not know what this means, but white banter is a special kind of humour than many people of colour just don’t find funny. Sometimes it’s difficult to pretend it’s funny and I have had many experiences online and IRL of just not knowing how to react. One thing I would say is learn how to have a good fake laugh, because if you’re like me and haven’t got one you’re just left looking very confused.

Listening to privileged conversations

Whether it’s about skiing trips or people refusing to take the bus, there’s a lot of conversations that happens out in the open that are seeped in privilege, and a lot of POC either can’t relate or can’t add anything to them because we’d just bring down the conversation with our lack of privilege. Then they do the thing that they do when they’re awkward about learning how the other side lives – it’s similar to the look they give when any discussion about anything controversial happens.

Being the only person of colour in the room

This is a weird experience in itself and here’s a few reasons why:

  • You get stared at a lot
  • You know for a fact that your inclusion in that room gives the big bosses relief because they’re ‘being diverse’
  • You have to set yourself up for a struggle of having to work 10x harder to gain respect
  • Did I mention the staring?

Honestly it’s just uncomfortable and it really teaches you about the sheer lack of diversity in a lot of spaces.

When you make the mistake of mentioning anything racial

So I just mentioned the weird look, this happens a lot if we talk about anything. It doesn’t even have to be racism, it can be about your home country or even a little joke about seasoning – they’ll get weird, shut down the conversation and really just make you feel like you lowered the tone.

Thinking they can touch your curly/textured hair

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have to mention it again. I don’t know why but these people love to touch hair that’s different to theirs, and they don’t even ask about it. I remember the first time it happened to me and honestly I was shocked, scared and violated – I am also a person who doesn’t like to be touched so that might explain why i felt scared. Honestly, don’t let this shit slide, tell them to keep their hands to themselves!

When they call something racial ‘exotic’…

How do you react to this shit? Because not only is it mildly racist but it’s also very confusing. A lot of the time this is said, it’s said with a lot of confidence and no regrets so it’s hard to call them out because they have a funny way of making you look like an overly sensitive villain.

I could write so many other points about this but I’ll stop here because it’ll just turn into a targeted campaign against specific people but honestly navigating predominantly white spaces is a weird experience. At the age of 25 I still haven’t figured out how to do this efficiently because I can’t assimilate for the life of me – please send help.

I Used To Be In a Sales Cult (194/365)

I think I speak about this quite openly in real life but online I sort of hold back which is weird because that sales cult took one year of my life. Now it wasn’t an actual cult it was a multilevel marketting scheme, and they way they sucked me in was horrfying. I was young, vulnerable and watching people who graduated in my year acheive successful jobs. I’d also just left my writing internships and was honestly just ready to finally make money, because let’s be honest unpaid internships are scams in themselves.

So this post could be about the actual sales cult itself, but I’m trying to find a way to write about it in short and sweet segments, because I have a lot to talk about and honestly one post isn’t enough. So this will be focusing on the after effects of the actual cult itself and how the year of constant manipulation left me numb to pretty much everything. The cult itself was a lot like ‘Wolf of Wallstreet’ in terms of atmopshere, everyone was trying to acheive massive goals in a short amount of time, we were prepared to grind, but I don’t think we were prepared for the environment itself.

There was a lot of manipulation, harrassment, bullying and overall degradation as a means of inspiring those in the managers good books. We worked 14+hour days and it was 100% comission, which to this day I don’t really mind, however it was the lack of transparancy when it caim to quality control that really bugged me. I spent that year trying to prove to everyone that I could acheive everything, I fought against their female stereotypes, faced the wrath of a masculine environment and also the side effects of having weak men be insulted by your lack of interest (spoiler alert – it led to a fuck ton of bullying and humiliation that was made even worse by the manager).

Success meant drinking with the right people, looking a specific way and in some cases sleeping with higher ups and I just wasn’t prepared to do that. It also didn’t help that the friends I made were not people my manager liked, so I got a lot of grief for being their friends. When your manager is a bully, a horrible person, a sexist and entitled it leads to him promoting a disgusting atmosphere. I faced open sexual harrassment, multiple open attempts by him to control my friendship groups, my sex life and my actual life. I felt trapped and honestly it got hard.

To top it off I overworked myself into a migraine condition which then effected my performance. So I went from being someone who was considered quite good at sales, to someone who was seen as the shit beneath their shoes – which wasn’t fun.

Now lets skip to the day before my 24th birthday as I did state I don’t want to spend too much of this post actually talking about the role itself. I started before my 23rd birthday, so when my next birthday came around I saw the position I was in and honestly I didn’t want to spend another year in that hellhole, so I quit. I called my team leader and explained the situation, and spent my 24th birthday knowing I was finally out of that disgustingly toxic environment.

I knew I’d need to look for a job, but when you spend a year overworking yourself, you prioritise sleep. So I slept a lot, and chilled a lot, and that’s when I realised that I’d lost a part of myself. It didn’t happen straight away, the pieces went away so subtly that by the time I’d quite, I felt like I wasn’t a person that I was proud of. I wasn’t ‘me’. So that’s when I knew I needed to get back to my roots and that meant speaking to the friends I still had, because during this job I worked 14 hour days, 6 days a week so I didn’t socialise a lot.

Through spending time with my friends and my family I slowly started to recover, my health was still in a horrible place, but my mental health was gradually improving. I then went on to find a job, I had a plan and that involved getting back into the world of job hunting – I must have been super lucky because it only took a month to land something, and that’s not something that happens in Birmingham.

Being in a sales cult ruined my mental health, my physical health and honestly there’s a lot I’ve mentally blocked out because there were months of consistent bullying and I really just can’t focus on that – I know blocking it all doesn’t really help, but for now it’s what I’m going to do. I will admit I have taken a lot from the job itself, I learned a lot, I grew in ways I couldn’t in a normal job and honestly pitching different people everyday gave me job experience that no other standard form of employment can offer. I know now that I’m a lot tougher than I give myself credit for, but I also know that I can’t allow myself to ever be in an environment that toxic ever again.

I always make jokes about the job in real life, but when I’m with my group of friends who were also working alongside me, we spend a lot of time actually talking about the realities of it. I think the fact that the role was so focused on building a future means that we spend a lot of time making plans and trying to inspire one another – we also spend a lot of time being stupid.

Would I ever go back into a role like that – No.

Would I change the past and never do it – I’m not sure.