The War Within
I fight a battle every day, against discouragement and fear…
Some foe always stands in my way
The path ahead is never clear
I must forever be on guard
Against the doubts that skulk along
I get ahead by fighting hard
But fighting keeps my spirit strong
And I am undefeated… still…
This poem by Samuel Ellsworth Kiser, at one time, was my anthem for dealing with what I perceived at the time were the deep wells of despair that I couldn’t fully climb out of and relentless demons that I could not really defeat – no matter what I did. My solution was to eat it up and suppress the hurt and pain inside my body, while keeping the true warrior’s shield up at all times.
You couldn’t defeat me, you see, you bastard? I survived! Mortally wounded on the inside- but I survived.
Or did I?
14 years later today, this poem again came in my mind when something seemingly difficult showed up in my world. In the 14 years, those emotional wounds and from the times before have long gotten healed. The same stories do not hold any emotional or energetic charge.
But I realised, the warrior stands on guard still – holding up the shield. She / he never left the job.
“What do you shield me from, Oh Warrior,” I ask.
From you- he said.
From me? Why from me?
For you keep trusting, my love, and you keep going – I am afraid you will get hurt again. So, I stand on guard- never really letting anyone in. Do you not see what happened when you didn’t let me shield you? They hurt you. You trust too easy, my dear. I need to protect you.
But… I don’t want your protection, I screamed. I am strong, don’t you see? I ca.. I ca..
I can do it, I whisper… almost to myself.
Don’t you see? You are nothing without me! Who would you be if I didn’t stand guard on the gates of you heart?
Who would I be? I asked myself…
Blank…no answer.. no thought, no feeling, no sensation even…
Who would I be? I asked again, looking in the mirror.
Me.. said a little voice…tiny.. almost too soft to hear. I’d be me. Naked, vulnerable, trusting and true. I’d be me.
But I’d be so vulnerable. Vulnerable to everything- said the adult, “rational” mind.
Yeah… maybe I would be, came back the response- but you know what I’d be me. I’ll cry if I have to, laugh because I want to, dance because I choose to, sing because I can… I’d be me… all of me… naked, vulnerable, free…
I choose me, I said.
“I choose me” Turning to the warrior, I repeated it.
I am not afraid anymore. I am me. Not an old story which is still running on auto-pilot. I am me. I choose to be all of me. Naked, vulnerable, authentic me!
… as I looked up, the warrior had melted away. Where did he go? Will he come back? I know not.
The war is over. The walls no longer required. I survived…
… and I now choose to live….
15 February 2017