If you're feeling uncomfortable in any situation, guess what? You're allowed to leave. This concept was covered in a moving Twitter thread by writer Erynn Brook. Through a series of events in her early life, Erynn learned an important lesson on respecting her own intuition and comfort. In the powerful thread, Erynn shared the ideas her mother imparted.
Here's the thing: we're often taught by society that we must be accommodating to other people. We're told to be meek, even when we are uncomfortable. And that's just not true. In just several tweets, Erynn dismantled that idea. We should all feel like we're allowed to leave, whenever we must. This doesn't just apply to women, of course: men, non-binary folks, and people of all genders should know that they have this right.
So check out Erynn Brook's amazing Twitter thread, and discover the idea for yourself!
Get ready for this genius thread.
I want to tell you a story about how my mum taught me that I’m allowed to leave an uncomfortable situation.— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234013.0
Erynn’s story begins when she was quite young:
I was maybe 7, I think it was my first sleepover at someone else’s house. I don’t remember the girl’s name. But bef… https://t.co/wRnWHnQK8R— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234168.0
Her mother gave very specific directions.
She was very clear. She said even if her parents have gone to bed I want you to knock on their bedroom door and ask… https://t.co/aO0ZsyCtjX— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234239.0
And her mother’s words paid off.
She said it doesn’t matter what time it is, you won’t be in trouble and I’ll come get you. I think I was being te… https://t.co/hpStCfhhLu— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234315.0
Young Erynn did encounter resistance.
The girl’s mom tried to discourage me. She said it was late, I said my mum didn’t care. She said I could sleep on t… https://t.co/c9eyNB7EZz— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234375.0
Erynn’s mother was quick to come to her daughter’s aid.
I remember holding the phone and my mum answered. I said “hi Mum.” She said “you want me to come get you?” I said “… https://t.co/B2Y9WURG5l— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234447.0
And she made it clear to Erynn what was most important about this event.
And my mum showed up on her doorstep in pajama pants and a coat. The girl’s mum kept apologizing for me calling, my… https://t.co/pCHthVZyxw— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234627.0
For some reason, the other mother didn’t know what to say to that.
I remember the little crowd of sleepover girls huddled in the far doorway that led to the bedrooms, watching all of… https://t.co/boceW5HmHF— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234807.0
The motherly life lessons didn’t end there.
I had more incidents like that as I grew up. My mum did a lot around boundaries with me. I remember her marching me… https://t.co/DApckI3hD4— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538234938.0
Erynn’s mom was always firm on shutting down teasing and bullying.
I remember her telling 3 friends to sit in the front room with their bags packed while they waited for their parent… https://t.co/nK9hGscJ3M— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235002.0
She got her daughter out of hostile environments.
I remember her coaching me through a speech on how to resign and leave from a hostile work environment when I was i… https://t.co/SBRghBo6P4— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235054.0
Along the way, Erynn was learning something important.
I can’t say I’ve always followed my gut on boundaries and discomfort. I can’t say I’ve never swallowed it in order… https://t.co/7Mp2HLVqUi— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235169.0
Here’s why it matters:
It’s radical to have boundaries. And to exercise them. Three things I think were really really important in what sh… https://t.co/G4B54wihwp— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235324.0
Kids learn by example.
But I think a lot about the girl’s mum apologizing and how... that’s the norm, actually. What my mum taught me was… https://t.co/YigZWOE2JY— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235469.0
We should always feel allowed to leave.
And I still get that message from a lot of places. But my mum taught me that I’m allowed to leave. I see what a pr… https://t.co/pvkF9fu1kD— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538235732.0
So Erynn shared her message directly:
So, just in case no one ever told you (or you need a reminder): YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE. You can leave a date, a… https://t.co/sm7qJcNQ4A— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538236199.0
We’re allowed to put our own comfort first.
I wanted to tell this story because the message to stay to make others comfortable is so pervasive, that without ac… https://t.co/bH3LuC0Rbf— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538236759.0
Sometimes, an affirmation is all you need.
Hell, I absorbed a lot of it anyway. As an adult, at that camp job, I remember her on the phone saying “what do you… https://t.co/Hy0o1Eos7Y— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538237259.0
Spread the word!
So, if you’re a person like me, who was taught that you’re allowed to leave, keep an eye out for those who weren’t.… https://t.co/thfndcpNfT— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538237392.0
And Erynn’s message was for everyone:
Wow this is really taking off! Before it goes too far I wanted to say: I’m seeing this being gendered and while I a… https://t.co/vt21bcrIrl— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538240170.0
Basically, the more people that know, the more this idea will keep spreading.
When you know that you are allowed to leave, when you exercise that boundary, the idea that others are allowed to l… https://t.co/IPnr0wyCRm— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538240246.0
Erynn also had a message specifically for trans and non-binary people:
Trans, non binary and gender non conforming folks often shrink themselves for the comfort of those around them. The… https://t.co/wvFKfTlS1f— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538240327.0
And no, “toughen up" isn’t a perfect alternative.
PS: getting some messages from folks about toughening up and how you have to live through discomfort “sometimes” an… https://t.co/8nwxB1NmM5— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538271115.0
Heck, Erynn understands discomfort:
I mean, personally as a woman with a functioning uterus I’ve learned to live with discomfort a minimum of 25% of th… https://t.co/LdHEuWlcxS— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538272099.0
There’s a difference between "uncomfortable," and other words Erynn could have used.
I chose the word “uncomfortable” very deliberately. I could have used “harmful” or “unsafe” or “destructive” or “ab… https://t.co/FkhhXO7EnX— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538422387.0
She’s a writer. She meant what she wrote.
All of those other words have outside expectations of understanding on them. “Abusive” is often defined by outsider… https://t.co/kXkJkEKSBr— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538422855.0
So here’s her clarification.
But “uncomfortable” is personal. It’s yours. It’s all you. You can be uncomfortable in a space where everyone else… https://t.co/r5lPIzNdn9— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538422935.0
We can all think of a situation like this:
I bet every one of you can think of a situation that you would not feel justified in labeling “abusive”, “unsafe, “… https://t.co/GmJsA9U7l7— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538424009.0
Erynn had some mic drop-worthy wisdom:
So in short, some people are uncomfortable with the word “uncomfortable” because it’s a word that you define for yo… https://t.co/Qtp8U20I73— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538424427.0
So let’s keep this powerful message in mind.
For those who continue to use examples of new activities or experiences or vegetables as potentially “uncomfortable… https://t.co/BZ6cBVfAGY— Erynn Brook (@Erynn Brook)1538425476.0