By now we should have learned that we can count on death, taxes, adversity, and the like. We have learned the lesson but we haven't accepted it.
As a Marine, a Black woman, and an American citizen (a descendant of U.S. government sanctioned slavery) who has filed numerous legal complaints and challenges, I'm here to tell you to get a big straw and suck it up, because life can be challenging, and we will survive and recover faster if we get used to the idea of overcoming challenges.
Ladies and Gentlemen, here is your survival briefing:
1. Accept that challenges will come
You're better able to adapt and cope if you expect challenges
2. Prepare and plan
Customize a plan for your individual needs
3. Practice makes perfect
Action and not mere words will get you through hard times: stay vigilant, train, and practice emergency drills (e.g. train yourself to go without regular comforts, save more, deny yourself staples so that you learn to adapt and find stability without things)
4. Envision a time or place when you alone have to overcome something
Friends and allies are great. However, some of the toughest experiences will happen when there is no external support: how will you cope if you've never imagined such an event?
5. Invest wisely
Your time, money, relationships, work, family and freinds can have a significant impact on your life. Learn early who is worth investing in and who or what will not be a support when times are truly hard. (e.g. Do you really need the cigarettes and alcohol, and can you afford a vacation? Do you have a family member that regularly steals from you? I did. I had a family member who used my credit cards without my permission. I told her I'd go to the police if the wasn't reimbursed, and then I severed that relationship.)
6. Be bold, be brave
Most of what we regret is what we haven't done. Make sure you consider yourself worth fighting for; how can you ask others for help if you don't fight for yourself.
7. Learn from mistakes
We all make them. Not all recover from their mistakes.
8. Set boundaries. Enforce them.
This past year, I informed two churches of a rapist in their congregation. Neither of them acted with the minimum standard necessary to protect female members of their congregation. I no longer support either church, and my reason for keeping a line of communication open is to assist victims which I now know will not receive minimum adequate asistance.
9. Be patient. Never give up.
October 6, 2014, I was assaulted on New York Law School's campus. I reported the school and 10 school staff. Ultimately, to date, I have submitted complaints against the Magistrate Judge James L. Cott, and two defending attorneys: Michael Volpe and Monica Barrett. This is not the first time that I've had to defend myself against those with more power, experience, and resources - but is has been one of the worst. To date: those who wronged me and violated my rights are still seated in positions of power, prestige, and authority. To date, those who wronged me have contined to get promoted and move within influential circles, while I have suffered, at times through homelessness, hunger, joblessness, physical sickness, loneliness, mental and emotional strain, financial difficulty, and more. I am still here fighting. There was a whole #MeToo movement which had no impact on my case or claims as a Black woman, but I am still here fighting. There was a whole #BlackLivesMatter movement which had no impact on my case or claims as a Black woman, but I am still here fighting. Sometimes it may take a little longer, but, if you're like me - you're still here fighting. If you're like me, you know that OUR victory is assured, and we have only to keeping fighting and keep the faith.
10. Be clear about what victory and overcoming looks like
You don't want to miss it. Keeping a clear picture of victory in your mind will help you get through to the next chapter - even if that chapter is called Surviving part II.
Images Credit: Theresa Giovanna