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The Strong on Life's Journey

At an early age I knew I was going to have be strong. Strong in physical endurance to run or stand tall, eventually I would learn when to do which too, though sometimes I do struggle on this one. Strong in determination and grit. Strong to carry on when others gave up on me, themselves and the situation. Simply strong.

Failure meant debts I couldn’t afford and circumstances that were dire. It was a slippery quick slope that would land me in a bottomless pit where there would be a low chance of getting out of it again. Failure meant living like I did growing up in poverty, abuse, drugs and and violence. It was an option and an easier way but my heart wouldn’t hear that. If others could figure this out so could I. The odds may be against me but that’s where the strength came from too. That’s the deep calling that would wake me in the middle of the night pushing me to find another way.

So much of life is about surviving. The circumstances we find ourselves are not always of our choosing but ours nonetheless to navigate. There are lots of inspirational sayings about overcoming adversities in life and yet it always comes down to personal survival. We most certainly will survive it too but what that looks like and where it leads us is what makes the difference. I often think of the times I wanted to be a victim so someone, anyone, would help and yet I couldn’t afford to wait on them either. I had to figure it out.

Life turned out alright as a result of my strength. It wasn’t always easy and there are still times I worry but that sixth sense of survival kicks in every time. There will be tears, frustration, screams of why but I don’t stay down long. I can’t. Now instead of just me at risk there is a family depending on me. The slope feels even slipper and faster as a result. The days I’m really tired from it all I peer down there and imagine what it would be like and then I realize that still is not the right way for me at least.

A friend of mine once told me I was the strongest person he had ever known. That intimidated me but explained why I struggled with finding others who could relate to me as friends. It was uncommon and it made me unique as in an example to others of what was possible. I didn’t go out looking for that recognition; I was just trying to live. To make it in this big world in some way that was better than what I knew. The circumstances I have faced ended up making me courageous out of necessity rather than bravery. While his comment about my character was sincerely complimentary it made me reflect on how much my journey has shaped me into this warrior people see.

When things get tough in my life, and they most certainly do at times, I quickly step into my old habits of surviving. There are little things I do like look at my financial budget adjusting things to shift in ready mode, stock up on basics, update my resume, think about the strategy and options. This shoring up and batting down is automatic for me like preparations made before a major storm. Whenever I feel a tinge of fear I go through many of these activities as an assurance of where I am and what this impact may result in. I became a saver in life carefully constructing my own safety net with a plan a, b and c of layers holding up what I think I need to survive.

With every single circumstance and storm I have been through in life, I can accurately say I did survive it and most of the time well. It wasn’t luck as I don’t believe in that anymore than thinking someone will save me when I need them. It was my own strong nature refined by my journey and a good amount of higher power faith. When that storm would pass, rather than seeing it as a victory it made me even more determined to be better next time, have more strength and technique to not have the same situation bite me twice. That too has paid off wh