*Warning: naughty language ahead!
I am a goddamn warrior.
Yeah, that’s right. I simply need to remind myself now and then.
For a while now, I have let myself get consumed with fear. There are situations and conditions that exist that make me feel helpless and panicked about my future and the future of those I love. And as we all tend to do, I keep projecting my thoughts into that future, playing a movie in my mind of what it might be like.
That’s when I get scared. While in that place of fear, I am cheating myself out of the moment.
Damn, I wish I would get this lesson down.
The truth is, bad shit happens in everyone’s life. That fucking is life. Truth is, (yeah I know, I use that term frequently—get over it), I’m afraid of grief, because I know too well how it feels. I worry about being brokenhearted, because I have been devastated by great loss so many times. I get scared—real scared I won’t survive another blow.
But you know what? So far, my survival rate is 100 percent. Survival has been tough and really messy, but I survived, despite the horrible process of feeling like I couldn’t. I’ve come out on the other side every freakin’ time. Sure, maybe a bit more damaged, but I’m still standing. And through it, I’ve changed. I cry more easily, I feel more deeply, I have more patience with others and myself. Those are all good things that make me a better person.
However, the ability to feel more deeply has its upside and downside. My capacity for empathy and compassion has increased, but so has my tendency toward sadness. But then, my ability to feel true joy and appreciation has heightened as well. It’s a double-edged sword.
Life itself is a double-edged sword, full of highs and lows. The laws of nature simply work that way. And we get to experience it in all its glory and all its sorrow. That’s how it is and is meant to be, because without knowing the darkness, we can never deeply know and appreciate the light.
As my late partner always said, “the pendulum swings both ways.” We just have to accept the downs with the ups. None of us like to hurt, but it most definitely is part of everyone’s life experience. Loss and pain do not play favorites. We’re all going to get some.
I guess the most important thing I’ve learned through loss is simply accepting it as part of life. And in that process of grief, to be patient with myself.
Grief changes us. We are never the same person we once were. We shouldn’t expect to be. None of us are unique, at least not in the sense that life will challenge us. We battle, we get scars, but we must learn to integrate them—not allow them to define us or make us the perpetual victim. Carrying on, embracing life, living and loving and surviving well after loss—these are the things that make us warriors, not our scars.
So, if after being hit with some of the shit life throws at you, you’re still standing—not as a victim but as a testament to living—if you’re still fighting the good fight and doing your best to carry on despite the shit, congratulations. You’re a goddamn warrior, too.