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When Toxic Is All You’ve Ever Known by Emery Kadzo

If you ever met Emz, you’d be hard pressed to not love her deep. She’s the kind of chica that is open to doing the messy work of friendship – as in knee deep in Kleenex, snot and all. I’ve always been surprised and encouraged by her raw honesty and vulnerability when things are thick (I always end up echoing Me too) and her story is one for the books.

She shares this same level of wit and candour with a dash of humour (her GIF collection makes my Mondays) on her website.

Today, we get to lap up her wisdom here and I couldn’t be happier.

Karibu Emz!


I was in the office having one of those never-ending days with a crazy workload hovering over me. If there was a day I wanted to be over, this was one of them.

As I struggled to come up with Billboard concepts, a new song slid into my playlist and captured my mind leaving me lost in wonder. It was one of those captivating jams where the singer was stuck in a whirlwind of pain and thought they deserved it.

No boo boo you don’t. You deserve hugs, kisses and so much more.

The song got me thinking about my own life like…

“What if ‘toxic’ is all you’ve known?” Click To Tweet

Never let out without a fight. Fight dirty if you have to. Bleed out but keep going till you’ve won the fight. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt just do it.

“Hey NIKE !!!

I know that there’s a huge selection of people that have been and are here.

I know I have. Where pain, heartache and tears are the order of the day almost every day. Where masks are a must have in your psychological closet and fate seems like your sworn worst enemy.

As I thought back and analyzed my present life I realized that until today, there are times I fight dirty. The only difference is I may not be doing it intentionally. “Hello, reflexes/ Bad habits die hard” but I do.

There are times when my closest friends would hurt me and I’d get into a safe mode, which really is just silent treatment.

In my mind, I’m like, “Yesssss…. Feel that silence! Let it suffocate you. Yes!!! Feel the depth of the hurt you’ve caused me.”


Thinking about it, it’s so silly but it’s a fake assurance that we are safe. In reality, it’s swimming in a pull of toxic icky stuff.

So what do you do when toxic is all you’ve known?

  1.  Own it!

I believe one of the First Steps in AA is, ‘accepting you’re an addict’.

This principle still applies. Accept that you’ve been living and swimming in a pool of gooey toxic stuff and have made it part of who you are and sometimes little bits of that trickle out. It sucks but it’s part of who you and I were.

  1. Deal with it

Part of dealing with it is being more conscious about your actions.

Yep. Someone’s hurt you. But hurting him or her back won’t make things better. It will just add another hurt person roaming this earth.

Teach yourself to tread in kindness and restraint.

This doesn’t mean you let people walk all over you like a rug. Nope. Time will call for you to put people back in their place and when that time comes, by all means, do it.

  1.  Accept that we are naturally messy

We aren’t perfect beings, and if someone claims to be… run like the wind and never look back.

Times come when we may be toxic, especially when people try and make our hearts a football field; when we are hurting and in distress or when we are just in a foul mood.  Slip-ups happen. However, how we recover from them is what will really matter.

  1.  Keep at it! You’ll get the hang of it soon enough

When the slip-ups happen, apologize and start again.

Before you know it, what used to be will only be a fragment of a memory of what toxic looked like to you.

Have you been here before? What how did you get out of it?

I’d love to know.




Hey, I’m Emz! A perfectly flawed human who loves love. I’ve been writing for about 4 years, creating for 5. I love life and intricate design. Food, Lifestyle, Fashion, Beauty & Travel are part of what I’m about. I crave for adventure and finding new levels of wonder.

Did I mention color? If you see a rainbow walking past you, it just might be me!


  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Lisa notes
    June 21, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Emz. It reminds me of a conversation I was having with a friend just last night about owning where we are. Being vulnerable. It’s not easy when it hurts, but it’s the way to move out of the situation into something better. “Before you know it, what used to be will only be a fragment of a memory of what toxic looked like to you.” Amen!

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    Eileen M. Wells
    July 12, 2018 at 5:04 am

    I truly love this, and can SO relate. Each example in my family of origin was to fight dirty, go for character assassination, and win the fights at all cost. By the grace of God, as I have gotten older, I have grown out of much of what I learned as a kid by going to counseling, reading lots of books, grown in my faith and being in a loving marriage with a very patient and adoring husband. However, when my back is against the wall, so to speak, I will slip back into those ways of ‘dealing’ with others. I am ashamed of my words and actions at those times, and while I *do* always go back, apologize and repent, I have a difficult time not beating myself up over it. The good thing is I know when I’ve screwed up and while I do struggle with it, I admit when I’m wrong.
    Thank you for writing this!

    • Reply
      July 13, 2018 at 6:49 am

      So good to hear Eileen. I can relate too and how those patterns show up. Sorry has been my best friend too. I’m sure like me, you’ve grown some too. It helps when I keep that in mind <3

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