There is a shadowed figure, standing alone in the depths of night. The cityscape around him has been forsaken, leaving him alone in the silence. He is slouching, overcome by the weight of a life spent fighting. Every moment, he has used his mind, body, and soul to sling what ammunition he could muster at the beast of life’s evil and hardship. Most people who know him do not know the fights he has fought for himself or the ones he fought on their behalf.
There were many times he could not sleep, so he fought other people’s demons through the night, leaving them feeling lighter the next morning with no apparent cause for their joy – simply the joy itself. They never attributed their happiness to the scars hidden under his hood the next day, and he never wanted them to… he never wanted anyone to feel the way he felt. He knew that not everyone was born to be a fighter. If all were asked to fight their own battles as he had been trained to do, not many could do so and stay alive, let alone stay good. All his life, he had no choice but to fight for himself. Every day, he fought to be better. He fought to be whole. He fought to stay alive. He fought to build a better life. He fought for his future. And every day, he got stronger. Until fighting a battle for someone else felt like crushing a daffodil. But his own battles… these never got easier. They always got harder – it was as if each battle he faced was only preparation for the next. He never celebrated his victories because if he did, the next one would come suddenly and find him unprepared. There was no time for rest.
Someone once asked him, why don’t you retire? Give up on the bruises and the beatings – take it easy and learn to enjoy life. What they failed to recognize is that without fighting, he had no purpose. He was not a Man who fought; he was a Fighter who happened to be a man.
He would rather die fighting than to abandon himself.
To anyone and everyone who finds themselves in the daily struggle of fighting off fiends like PTSD, depression, or anxiety – this one’s for you. We will make it home.
Some days, I just can’t seem to make myself live in the present. The heaviness of my soul overwhelms the demands of my reality.
Curse my past and its gripping fears! Why must my identity and existence be always shaped, controlled, and bound by another person’s assaults? Why is it that some days, it takes all the strength I can muster to speak a normal word to another person? The ‘how are you’ and the ‘look at this weather’ only serve to frustrate and undermine the hopelessness I feel inside. And yet, I do it anyway. Because that’s what ‘normal people’ do.
All this ‘not-normal person’ wants to do is run away… to find a field and revel in the seamless marriage of blue skies with green pastures. I want to bask in the sunshine until my mentality is forced into alignment with the present. I’m told the world around me is real; it is touchable. I want to experience it in every way imaginable. And yet, my experience seems wholly inside of my own head, entrapped by a past and present of things I do not and cannot understand. Every day, I attempt to tame a beast, but any violence or aggression toward that beast lends itself to my recognizing that the beast is a part of me. To beat and force it into submission is only to assault my own anxious heart.
So I wait. And I try to be gentle with myself. And I fight the dark with everything I have left, hoping that one day, this soldier of a heart will arrive home to find faces who love me and the safety to rest.
Who desires this dark, terrorizing, soul-gripping delusion? But herein lies the mystery… despite its monstrosities, its torturous ways, its crippling aura, the essence of intimate love is deeply etched in each and every human soul. Simply look at a smile and find the joys of love. Observe tears and know the sorrows of love. Witness violence and be acquainted with the intensity of love. Whether we want to see it or not, it is there. And it, along with its ever-reaching span of emotion, will never fail to reside and rule within each member of this mortal race.