Sitting at the hair salon for five hours just to find out it’s going to take the hairstylist, who booked three appointments at the same time, an extra two hours to put a hot comb to your hair can be annoying enough. But of course, the lag in the beauty shop makes you late for an important afternoon meeting, making you appear flaky. On top of that, a paper is due for class by midnight, which you have not started because you have had a million other tasks to complete. Besides, you work well under pressure. With dim lights, no sleep, and three cups of Starbucks coffee around you. Struggles.

Ready to head off for the weekend  trip to South Beach, you click off the lamp at your desk with excitement and weariness around 7pm, the average time that you usually leave work. Your boss rushes over to you frantically, asking you to finish an assignment over the weekend. Which needs to be presented to the entire department on Monday. It’s the end of the year and you’ve been scrapping up all your leftover vacation days for this four day weekend. Which is no longer yours because of extra work. Struggles.

All too common as working ladies, developing young adults, and established women we find ourselves overwhelmed by duties and responsibilities in life. With diligence comes higher opportunities, with progress comes access and challenges. We are our own referees, judging the play-by-play in our daily lives to no relent. As our own critiques, we are quick to point out the bad before the good, place blame before envisioning the boon. Sometimes, life seems to simply pass us by. We wake up and go to sleep, days void of those memorable moments; going through the motions like drones, we forget to appreciate the little things in life, submerging the positive voices within us into those dark abysses. Then there are the problems at home, the sudden illnesses, the break up, the failing grade, the poor performance review, and the car total that suddenly hit us out of no where, weighing everything down, forcing our fingers to point blame at life’s struggles when we find ourselves stuck in that oh-so-familiar state of limbo, simply frozen in time like a statue, watching life, like whizzing cars and cabs on a highway, pass us by. It becomes an utter ball of complex confusion, a ultraviolet globe looming before our eyes, stress implanted between “first” and “last” name on paper, struggle defining our own misconceived senses of self.

Ahh, the struggle bus. Many claim to be riding it–the regular, front seat passengers with routes and fare memorized. They hold the monthly pass, renewed each month, excuse and excuse of non-productivity blamed on the “unfairness” and “clutter” of life. Life controls them, as they have allowed it too as the mount a bus with an unknown driver, making its routine stops along the pathway of their 9 to 5’s or sleepless schedules.

Mother always said never talk to strangers. Nevertheless, don’t get in a car or any moving vehicle with anyone you don’t know. So I dare to ask—whose driving your struggle bus? It’s a cascading effect in our society amongst hardworkers and overachievers. The period of burnout arrives, people allow stress to eat them alive, and the smallest tasks, which could have been managed through responsibility and less procrastination, become equated to struggles. Yes, there are the unexpected issues that arise along the way. But the decision to prescribe all inconsistencies and pressures in life as “struggles”  alludes to a doubting sense of self and our quick ability to take for granted the — in life.

We are so quick to point to life’s struggles, but often forget about the positives in life, and the things we should be grateful for. Is a late paper truly a struggle, or living in a country where women are not allowed to be educated? Is having two major assignments due on the same day a struggle, or is not being able to achieve your dreams and submit to a life of domesticity a struggle?

The next time you think you’re riding the struggle bus remember the following:

-You have access to clean drinking water.

-Your lights came on today.

-You can read and uplift through the power of words.

-You have the freedom to achieve whatever dream you set for yourself.

-You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.

-You didn’t spend a minute in fear.

-You didn’t go to sleep outside.

-You have the right to vote.

-You are beautiful.

On those days when we feel the lowest and like life has become some evil sabotage or root of self-demise, low and deiciving and out to get us, let us remember those things that we often take for granted and should be grateful for. When we put that in retrospect next to the small things in life that seem unbearable, we realize the true strength and power that exist within us all, and see that the struggle bus is purely a figment of our imaginations. It is important to understand that life is driven by fate and choice, and as individuals we have the ability to take control of our own destinies. Spiritual or mental balance in life is vital to feeling in control; time management is key.

When we are able to find empowerment in the small things in life, we begin to lift ourselves up as women and can look to find hope in the dawn of a new day.  As we slowly emerge into states of positivity, we find ourselves yanking the cords and halting the bus rides, stepping off those yellow bubbles of uncertainty onto a solid pavement in which our steps towards positivity can help to define our own destiny. We are not able to determine all things that occur in life, but many of us, despite our shortcomings or limitations, are truly blessed. That is a truth that we cannot deny.

So, the next time someone screams out, “It’s here! It’s here! The struggle bus is coming!” Throw on your little grin and positively decline. Because for you the next stop is purely a blissful state of hard work and success.

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