This post is by Bibi K.:
BE STRONG; BE PATIENT; BE WARY; HOLD FIRMLY TO YOUR BELIEFS; YOU WILL SURVIVE AND SUCCEED.
When we come to this country for the first time, it is a very overwhelming experience. Whether we come from a third world country where the socio economic conditions are not so great, or whether we come from a country that is more financially viable, we have to go through certain rigors of assimilation and they can be brutal.
Many of us coming to America for the first time do so on our own. We leave family, friends, loved ones and familiar surroundings in search of a better future for ourselves and our families. Some of us do not even speak English and it is remarkable and sometimes beyond comprehension that we are able to cope.
In our home countries many of us did not work and were primarily home makers; taking care of the children and our husbands who went to work and provided for us. Here we are expected to earn our own livelihoods, provide food, clothing and shelter as well as send money back home to help take care of the rest of the family.
Most of the time we have to leave our children. What is this like? Ask any mother what it feels like to be separated from her child for a week or two and then mutiply that grief to the nth degree. Even then, words cannot express the anguish and heartbreak a mother feels at being separated from her child/children.
Add to that our parents and our siblings with whom we were surrounded since birth. All these familiar faces and support systems that we were accustomed to are taken away and we are left naked, lonely, lost and forlorn.
This is when our inner strength has to kick in. Do we run back and succumb to defeat, or do we stand up and fight with every fiber of our being? We can do it, I know we can, because I have been there and done that!
We only have to remember that we do not want to survive at the expense of others. Never give up when the going gets tough .. we have to make sacrifices if we want to accomplish anything in life. When we are faced with hardships, we need to dig deep down within and find the resources to propel us forward. It is remarkable that we do not know what we are capable of until we are put to the test.
There will be many sleepless nights when you will toss and turn and pray and ask:
“Why am I here? What am I doing in a land so far away?”
“Where are my children and did they have a decent meal today?”
You will have nightmares about your children or your family members going hungry or suffering when you are well fed, but you cannot feel guilty about those things. You can only endure so much mental torture and as much as you can, try to put away all these negative thoughts. And, above all, do not ever think about ways to end your life because it is becoming very unbearable. No amount of worry or struggle is worth giving up on life, for every day that we awaken, it is a new dawn with new possibilites and who knows, tomorrow may be the day that your struggles will be over.
Never give up your values and beliefs – especially your faith in a Higher Power – whatever you percieve Him to be. Your belief system is your code of life and if you give up too much in trying to assimilate, you may end up losing your entire being and thus lose your way. There are times when inexplicable things happen, reminding us that there is a force beyond our realm of comprehension.
Maintain your self respect and never, ever succumb to temptations and weaknesses especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol. One woman who came here by herself from an island country was so intelligent that she raised her first child and he became a College Graduate. However, she soon got caught up with alcohol and drugs and when she was about to deliver her second child, the ambulance had to pick her up, drunk on the streets.
Eventually her older son had to step in and adopt his younger brother, because his mother had fallen by the wayside. Just be aware that there is a very thin line between walking the straight and narrow path and going astray.
The world is still full of kind and generous people – they appear at the most crucial moments. However, be cautious and wary of the many wolves in sheep’s clothing. Remember because of your circumstances, there may be many people who would try to take advantage of your moments of weakness, so be STRONG, yet gentle to yourself.
Never give up on your quest to fulfil your dreams and your goals. They give you purpose and a reason to keep going, day in and day out. After all your hardships, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
There will be many times when you feel like you have nothing left and there is no purpose in going on, DO NOT LOSE FOCUS. If your children are the light at the end of your tunnel, then use that as your guiding force. Let that thought and that purpose occupy your mind and your soul – let them be the reason for waking up every day.
When your family joins you, do you think that will be the end of your journey? A resounding NO!! That is when you have to make your struggles count. Do not ever think, I can now relax because I have succeeded in bringing them to America.
This is where all your strength and courage will be tested. Even though you may be weary to the bone, you now have added responsibilities. The responsibility of securing a good education for your children. If you do not accomplish anything else, let this be your number one goal. Once your children have acquired a proper education, your struggles will now have purpose. If not, it will all have been in vain.
And after they finally join you and you hear one of them say, “I will not let my mother’s sacrifice be in vain!”
It will all be worth it a million times over. The most rewarding part about all of this is to be able to look back and say, I did this and I survived. Please do not give up hope! When your dreams are fulfilled, and trust me they will be, you will feel an extreme sense of “Euphoria” and it will ALL be worth it.
Bibi K. is a native of Guyana. She is now a United States Citizen who lives in Queens, NY along with her two children and her grand child. She is happily remarried and still working as an Executive Assistant in a very renowned company in Manhattan. She recently published her first book, The Green Grass, which tells the gripping story of a single mother coming to America.
To learn more about Bibi, please visit her blog or connect with her on social media: