Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn and come up with when you’re forced to enter survival mode? New-never-before-thought of inventions are born, new lifestyles come to life. You learn what you can live without and realize what you can cut back on, you take something that is meant for one thing and use it for an entirely different thing. Then even when you emerge from survival mode and enter comfort mode, those life hacks you learned during your low moment can still be applied.
Let me use myself as an example.
About a month or two after my youngest was born things got a little tight financially. When faced with the decision to either buy sanitary napkins or something cheap to make for dinner, of course I chose to feed my family, but what was I going to do about the impending dreaded visit from my….”Aunt”? I knew that I would bleed through tissue so I wouldn’t even allow myself to go there. I also knew that my youngest had outgrown her Newborn diapers and was now a size 1 so here I had all of these Newborn diapers just sitting around. Let’s just say, they absorb much better than regular pads! I call this finding the “Struggle pad”
Not long after running into financial problems we unfortunately lost our apartment and had to live in a hotel (luckily, for only one week!) The hotel had a kitchenette area so we were able to cook our own food which was great! One morning I decided to make pancakes (from scratch. Haven’t made pancakes from the box in years–and yes I’m showing off!) I made a whole stack of pancakes just for my four-year old to ask me to pass her the syrup. Crap. I didn’t have any and forgot to buy some! (I’ll have you know the hotel was basically in the middle of nowhere and there was no store within walking distance and I didn’t have a car) But I did have milk, brown sugar and cinnamon! The perfect blend of the three (preferably heated up) had my daughter and I like “Syrup? what’s syrup?” We call this concoction “The special stuff”
When I find myself in situations that are meant to break me, sure I go through a moment where it’s like “oh, my God, this is the end, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel” but then a little voice in my head yells above all of the negative thoughts and tells me, “use it.” For the longest I never understood what that meant until I was forced into survival mode when I moved to North Carolina from New York City and didn’t know the lay of the land at all. I couldn’t find a job or affordable daycare and therefore was pretty desperate and feeling worthless. There was that voice saying “use it” and It finally clicked. Though I haven’t made any money from it, I thereafter started using my life experiences and putting them on paper in a story-form. I notice that my writing skills grow with each story I write and I therefore feel myself grow. It’s like I write my way out of a dark circle. I call these creations “Potential-books-that-need-to-be-published.”
Granted it’s not a good feeling to have to be put through rough spots but at least I can create a story from it, right? (I promise I will finish at least one….some time soon so you guys can read it! I have a really bad habit of starting one story then having another idea–A.K.A another life obstacle–pop into my head–and life–then dropping the first story then continue with the second and so on and so forth but I will get my shit together I promise!)
Did that make sense?
At last, the final thing that being in survival mode teaches you is who is really there for you and who isn’t. Through all of my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned that not everybody around you wants the best for you. They tend to usually keep you around for their own benefit and would have nothing to offer you when you are in need. I call this discovery, “Growing up”
Yep, surviving caused me to grow up.