I survived my first kiss with oxygen after my nine-month lease ended with my landlord.
I survived the religious dictatorship of the hospital I was born in.
I survived the ocean of tears that flooded my shirt when I was left alone to endure the deplorable and defective public schools of my hometown for my thirteen years of education.
I survived all of the impersonal bubbles I had to fill in during tests, and all of the conformed essays I had to write that left me with hand cramps and little bumps on my ring finger.
I survived the painful shyness that sliced off my tongue and left me voiceless and invisible.
I survived the drugs that jumped around in the clenched sweaty hands of the jittery drug addicts on the streets of my neighborhood.
I survived the stray bullet that swam with the wind and plunged through my parents’ mailbox on New Year’s, and the angry one that forced its way into my family’s home through my sister’s window.
I survived the pregnancy that slithered through my high school and found its way into so many girls’ bellies.
I survived the loss of many friends who wrote keep in touch in my senior yearbook.
I survived moving twelve hours away from familiarity to embrace unfamiliarity in a new and exotic place.
I am surviving getting a college education when I’m not the type of person a higher education is supposed to be obtained by.
I am surviving as a female fish in a large and patriarchal pond.
I am surviving being a black eye sore in a sea of white faces.
I am surviving in a dystopian utopia…
And I will continue to survive, for as long as I’m alive.