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There was a golf ball stuck in my throat. At least that's what it felt like. I sat in my rental car staring out the front windshield at nothing in particular as the golf ball lodged itself deeper and deeper into the base of my oesophagus. Or was it my lungs? It probably was my lungs because I was having trouble breathing. My skin began to turn itself inside out; my head to itch along the edges. Tears pooled behind my eyelids to stop my irides from stinging just as I began to gag on the golf ball gasping for air. I hunched over in my seat and began to sob uncontrollably.

Shit just hit the fan...

and I didn't know what to do.

We've all been there before Queens. You get that call with bad news. Out of the blue it hits you that that email you scanned over had an important date that has already passed or the weight of the information relayed in the email finally clicks. Or it can be just a day of bad news on top of mishaps on top of devastating mistakes and you just feel like you're being stoned. You know, how they used to execute people they thought were witches back in the early 1600s. Each issue, each piece of bad news is a stone laid on top of a pile of other stones crushing you from the inside out.

Trust me, I know the feeling. Unfortunately, at some point in our lives, we're going to feel that feeling again. And again. Bad things happen all the time in life. It's inevitable.

Damn, that's depressing thought itsn't it? But it's true.

So, today, I'd like to share with you five steps I take whenever I receive bad news or have a "shit hits the fan" moment:

1. Feel all the feels

2. Pray about it

3. Brainstorm

4. Act

5. Reflect

My hope is that you can implement these steps the next time you're in this position. Yes, bad things happen all the time in life. Yes, it's inevitable. However, if we can learn how to deal with the bad now, we will overcome it quicker in the future and begin the process of healing and rebuilding sooner.

1. Feel the Feels

I'm not going to tell you to not freak out whenever something happens because we're human. It's in our nature to feel whatever feelings we feel when something goes wrong; anger, sadness, anxiety, etc. So feel those feelings, feel all the feelings. Give yourself five minutes to freak the fuck out!

I believe it's important for us to allow ourselves to sit in these emotions. This will help with the reflection step later on. You will remember how this issue made you feel and that will help you learn how to do better in the future or do whatever you can to avoid the issue again.

Remember that one time when your computer crashed right when you were working on an important project and you had to start over? Do you remember that feeling of straight terror you felt when it first happened that turned into a deep, deep sadness that all your hard work was gone? What about the anger? Do you remember the anger you felt at having to start all over again and finally the acceptance of it is what it is, "I still need to get this done"? Have you ever made that same mistake again? In most cases, no, because you remember the hell not saving your work, or mistreating your computer caused you and you did everything you could to prevent it from happening again.

Feel all the feels. Get that part out of the way, so you can get down to root of the problem. The trick is not to waste time in your feelings. Don't go days and weeks letting this negativity consume you. Give yourself five minutes. Five minutes to let all hell loose and then bring yourself back down to earth with a few deep breaths.

2. Pray About it

Fifty Cent once said, "You can either pray about it or worry about it, but you can't do both." I try my hardest to live by these words. After you've let yourself feel the feels hand them over to God. When you pray over a problem, you are passing the tourch and putting the problem in God's capable hands. This is what faith is all about. You are basically trusting God to take care of the issue whether by giving you directions on what to do or putting something else in motion that will help take care of the problem. When you trust God, it relieves the stress of the situation and helps clear your head so you can focus on a solution.

Take Daniel in the lion's den for example. Do you think Daniel didn't feel any fear when he was thrown into a pit with a bunch of hungry lions? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know is that after he prayed to God for help, he trusted that God would see him through his predicament and he survived.

Queens, we took time a couple of weeks ago to look at what it means to pray. We learned that as long as you are coming from the heart, God will hear your prayer and answer it. In these situations I like to tell God that I know he has a plan for me that is greater than any plan I can ever concoct and I know that everything will work out according to his plan. I tell him, I am placing this problem in his hands because I know that if it is his will, it will be done.

Now, this doesn't instantly make me feel all warm and gooey inside. I always feel better but many times, after some time has passed the thought might creep back into my head and the worry starts to set in again. If this happens to you, just pray again. Remember, bad thoughts are like birds. You can't stop them from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from landing and building their nest on your crown. Whenever you catch yourself worrying again, pray, and send the bad thoughts away.

3. Brainstorm

Remember in elementary school when they would give you those word problems: "Little Billy is walking along a path when he comes across a log in the road. Should Billy go through the log, walk around the log, or go under the log?" Welp, congratulations, you actually learned something that can be used in everyday life!

Use the same tools you used to figure out what little Billy should do to figure out different solutions or plans of action to your problem. Basically, life threw a rock on your path. Would it be better for you to jump over the rock, go around the rock, or break through the rock all together? If it's easier for you, write all of your possibilities down.

Remember, this is a brainstorming session, so there is no wrong answer. Once you're done brainstorming, than you can weed out the solutions that no longer make sense when you think them through and come up with at leas three plans of action based off of the solutions you have left.

4. Act

Now that you have a plan of attack, act on it.

This step is the hardest. Most of the time, the problems we encounter are new and the solution to fixing them may be something we've never done before. Or, we may find that after acting on our plan of action we actually made the problem worse or the plan just doesn't work. This is why you brainstormed. You have multiple different solutions to choose from. If you need help doing something you've never done before, seek advice. If one of your plans didn't work, move on to Plan B and C. Maybe, your solution is to do nothing and wait it out,if that's the case, stick to your gut and do nothing until you learn more information.

This is the moment where you have to commit to the decisions you made during your brainstorming. The key is to not half ass the action. Go 110 percent and get what needs to be done, done.

5. Reflect

You've made it over the hurdle, now what do you do? What you're not going to do is:

1. Feel sorry for yourself

2. Hold resentment or guilt

3. Hold a grudge

You've just survived "the worse day of your life". You are a Goddess and a Warrior. No soldier has ever left a battle completely unharmed. Yet, every soldier you come in contact with can tell you a story behind each battle scar they hold.

That hurdle you just jumped over (or through, or walked around, or limbo-ed under) is now a battle scar. Learn from it and use it to help make you a better warrior and a better person.

Ask yourself what you could have done to prevent the situation, if anything, and adjust your life accordingly.

There was a golf ball stuck in my throat because I had just been in a devastating accident three weeks prior and my landlord just told me that he was sending me into eviction, the car rental company called and told me that my insurance was no longer covering the rental and I need to return their car or face grand theft auto charges, and everywhere I went to ask for help I was told that this situation was my fault. I should have had my finances in better order.

So, I helped myself and took a risk. I kept the rental car two extra days and made the money I needed to get another rental that I can use for ride sharing. I worked for a week to make the money I need for rent, when the third car accident, the hit and run, took place. By that time, I decided I needed to go back to working a regular 9-5 so that I can get through this.

My landlord did end up sending me into eviction, however, I was able to convince him to settle for a payment plan once I had found a new 9-5 job. I worked that 9-5 and did some ride sharing from 5-4 for three weeks. I found five great non-profits and churches who helped me make my payments. On November 5, 2017 I made the final payment that saved my apartment.

Looking back now, If my savings was deeper, the 2nd car accident wouldn't have caused as much devastation as it did. So, I am now working on beefing up my savings and sticking to my budget.

Bad things happen all the time. It's inevitable. But you don't have to let the bad times break you. You are stronger than any of the bad times will ever be and you will survive! Don't believe me? Think about it, you are reading this post now, having survived all of the "worst days of your life" you've ever had!

It's a beautiful day to conquer the world. So go forth and slay!

-Queen Maree


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