Ever feel like quitting? Like nothing you ever do is successful? Ever feel like throwing in the towel?

I’ve felt like this and given up several times, because I felt not good enough and destined to fail. My abuser made me feel like that constantly. And, even though I’ve been out of active abuse for nearly four years, I still feel like that, but while running my own life! I am a work-in-progress and am working on being kinder to myself, more understanding with myself, but continuing being driven and following through. The longer I’m out of abuse, the more creative and motivated I’ve become — which fuels my motivation.

When my youngest child was little, he was obsessed with sharks. He is on the Autism Spectrum and was constantly spouting facts about them. “Hey, Mom? Did you know sharks have to keep moving or they’ll die?” Wow, Buddy, that’s how Mommy feels – ALWAYS. Just keep swimming…even through a Sharknado!

Truth is, part of my successful survival is that I did keep moving forward, regardless of what I faced. If I came to a road block, I’d pause, take a deep breath, stop and think, and reframe. I became very resourceful when things were denied me or taken away by my abuser. This really does still serve me when things get rough and resources, like money and food, get low. Besides, if you do not own the situation and take charge, panic attacks and anxiety are inevitable. Throwing in a pinch of ‘grateful,’ sprinkled with ‘perspective,’ also keeps one going and moving forward. Just keep swimming…

I think what truly defines success is that we NEVER give up, we never stop pushing. Failure is NEVER an option. Changing directions is an option, but abandoning is not. My abuser used to call it stubbornness — perhaps it is, but I have rebranded it “tenacity.” Sink or swim, Mama Shark. You have Baby Sharks who are watching and learning by your direction!

It is said that Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, never gave up on his idea, proclaiming, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Trial 10,001 worked and he patented it and our lives are forever changed. What if he’d given up? We’d still be in the dark, my friends! If I had stopped, then my littles would’ve given up. If everyone gave up, the abuser would’ve won and we would be hopelessly stuck (cue the Jaws theme music).

I didn’t ever have the option to fail. My kiddos were dependent on me. I would not surrender, either, because I had not done what God personally put me here to do. Sometimes, the will to survive and perservere is all we have. The winning is in the struggle. Some days I was merely treading water, saving my strength for the final push to swim in the open water. Am I now a champion swimmer? Some days. Somedays my face is barely above the surface, even now. But know this: my water is calm and placid and I know how to do the backfloat…