In Her Own Words: Carla Patton survives layoffs, pandemic, tornado and civil unrest

"As our communities reopen, women across America see their lives becoming more complicated as they juggle responsibilities at home and at work (which is often still at home). In one year Carla Patton’s world turned upside down.

"I have been working since I was 14 years old. It never occurred to me that at 40 years of age, I would experience devastating tornadoes where I lived, a pandemic, heightened civil unrest, and a layoff during the same period of time. Although there was no structural damage to my home, my children’s school was destroyed, which led to me becoming a stay-at-home mom and a preschool teacher instantly. This was a game of “think fast” sponsored by life and it shook me.

Pre-pandemic, we were able to create boundaries in our lives. We were able to compartmentalize and focus on one thing at a time. With most corporate environments transitioning to remote work these days, everything is so personal. It is a challenge to stop yourself from internalizing everything at the same time. As a Black woman, it’s a natural process to go through life continuing to get back up and stay focused at every knockdown. You really do not have the time to sit around and be “fragile.” The circumstances of this past year changed that for me, as I’m sure it did for other professionals. I experienced a range of emotions fighting depression, a newly developed speech impediment, and mom guilt. The fear, loss, uncertainty, and chaos rained down and I had to find a way to process it all." 

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