When the Fighter Stops Fighting.

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.

-R

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Soldiers.

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.

– R

 

Black.

Your eyes were shut; you never knew
The pain I felt from loving you.
Your arms were crossed, your love was closed
To feeling mine and being known.

And now you mock, your head held high;
Your charm is flattened by your pride.
Your gaze falls fixed on needless sights
In your attempt to cast off mine.

And here I am, still watching you
Afraid of what my hands might do
To keep my head from spinning down,
And pin my feet to solid ground.

‘Cause sometimes all you need is black
To start afresh and cover tracks,
And sometimes all that’s left is hell
To tend your wounds and make you well.

And hell is where you left me, babe.
You took your own and walked away.
I’m left to hurt where you are numb
And fight to end what you’ve begun.

-R

Blasted, Beautiful Love.

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.

-R

Regretful Love.

The coffee is brewing, my windows thrown wide;
The leaves are left trampled, along with my pride.

I fought hard for you with fists held up high,
But when fighting was o’er, my love made you cry.

Love was to me what I designed it to be
Instead of the love that you needed from me.

My head won’t stop pounding, rattled with blame.
My heart won’t stop sagging, laden with shame.

If we could go back, I’d watch you more finely;
I’d look for your questions and answer them kindly.

I’d put your needs first, even those you thought best,
Regardless of what I knew lay up ahead.

And when that day came, and those dangers took hold,
I’d love you and hold you and help you be bold.

But now that we’re here, I must watch you alone.
I must wait helplessly and wish you were home.

My love and devotion for you have not changed,
Now I wait for the day when you might feel the same.

-R

Battle Scar.

Your words are here.
Your arms are near.
But love is cold
And laced with fear.

You promised much,
To hold and love,
Then looked away
And gave me up.

I reached for you.
I saw straight through
Your cold blue eyes
As horrors grew.

But then you left;
Our sun was set.
Your battle scar
Is all I kept.

– R