The Struggle Is Real – Part I

The struggle is real!

Originally this meme had a variety of meanings, but now it often facetiously relates to a first world problem. Stuck in traffic and missing a show; too hung over to go to work, things like that.

But, the struggle is real. Mine. Yours. The struggle of those in your neighborhood and at your work place. Or in the line at the unemployment office.

I used to be so frustrated when I would hear motivational speakers or spiritual leaders tell of their struggles.

Past tense struggles.
Always past tense.

There was a time in my life when …
I was evicted
staggering between highs
but then …


I faced indescribable loss
pink slip from my boss,
angry spouse about
ready to toss
me out
until I ….

I’d hear that, narrow my eyes, rub my chin and wonder, “And whom did you tell when you were in the trenches? What did it look like then? Why does this not ring true now that you’ve achieved international fame and can wear a pair of $3,000 shoes?”

I admit it. I was cynical. Felt a certain disconnect. Had that sense of being on the outside looking in.

I truly longed to hear from someone who was currently in “the struggle”.

It’s a lot more difficult, because we never want to give the appearance of not having it together.
We want to be able to offer help.
Provide solutions.
Be a problem solver.

But I would have liked to hear …

  • something about the agony of trying to balance a spreadsheet that has too many figures in the debit column.
  • what you do when you feel you’re dying of loneliness inside.
  • whether you ever wonder – I mean really, agonizingly wonder –if you mean anything to anyone.
  • the times you find yourself on a figurative trampoline, trying to juggle many large, extremely breakable plates, wondering when you will no longer be able to keep jumping and juggling at the same time, and everything will come crashing down.
  • the fear you have when you are not respected because you are a woman, a minority, disabled or unable to make your house payment.

That’s what I want to hear about.

Yea, the struggle is real.
It’s a really dark place.
I get it.

I’ve found myself in hard places. I recall moving to a new continent and feeling as if I was barely treading water. (Past tense, I know. But, hang in there, present tense is coming.) I felt that if I would stop for just a minute, I would sink and drown. So I paddled. HARD! Without a break. I felt so alone. So terrified. And so responsible to keep going for the sake of my family.

At that time I didn’t share this struggle with anyone other than a few people closest to me, but they were across an ocean! I got the distinct feeling, I should have it all together and I didn’t.

I’ve been through many challenges. Like you. Whether it’s a major move or some other struggle, the same head wind rages every time. Uncertainty. Unfamiliarity. Financial stress. A new environment. Anxiety and fear. Self-doubt while I rediscover who I am in this new space. And loneliness.

I find myself in that place again as I moved across the country less than 3 months ago. The present is intense and sometimes threatens to overpower me.  But, can I step back and see my previous experiences of struggle, and what I came away with? Might this help me? And could it help you, too, if you’re facing an uphill climb?

Maybe for you it’s the death of a loved one, a divorce, a diagnosis, the loss of employment, betrayal by a good friend. There are similarities in the crises we face, and hope, stability and new courage are possible. In each situation.

In a day or two I’ll post Part II, including some of the things I’ve found are helpful for me, and people I’ve spoken with.

In the meantime, drop me a line and let me know what you’re going through. I’d love to hear from you.

Talk soon,

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