Fight for your life (redux)

Life is about grappling with the good, bad and undefinable.

Life is a fight.

Against time.

Against others.

Against expectations.

Against god.

And, mostly, against yourself.

In a lot of ways it really is like the sweet science. Both have likely time limits. In a boxing match, its twelve 3 minute rounds. In the United States, life’s expectancy is 78.8 years.

But with both, there’s no guarantee you’re getting the average share. You could get knocked out at any moment. You could croak at age 1 or 100.

I’ve personally been in the ring for 43 years, 10 months, and 26 days.

But I’ve only really been swinging for just under 7 months.

I’ll explain.

I think I was bobbing and weaving just fine until about age 6; no major blows had landed. Or I was able to slip them. But that’s when life landed an uppercut and dislodged the love right out of me. As soon as my back hit the canvas, life threw out the rules (life’s not fair, ya heard?), jumped on my chest, and proceeded to pound on me for 36 years. I just tried to cover up and hide and turn invisible, on a conscious and subconscious level.

The fight wasn’t over yet. But it was for me.

Those on the outside for those 3+ decades probably thought I was fighting back. I managed to function relatively well enough to look like I was. I played as a child. I studied. I gave up some childish things. I worked. I obeyed the laws of my nation. I paid my taxes. I treated waiters and all public facing employees with the utmost respect. I tried to be kind and supportive to the people I cared about. I fell down all the time trying to walk like a good person should walk.

These are things every human, who has ever existed and who exists today and who will exist once we finally cease to exist has struggled with. I am not special. Life, remember, isn’t fair.

Towards the end of the pummeling I started to lose consciousness. I didn’t even have the energy to hold my hands up anymore. I just stopped. My heart was beating but my soul was idle. I wanted to just die. I was just waiting for the blow that dislodged my soul from my husk. No, I was begging for that blow. Every day. All day. Every hour. Most minutes. I wanted to deliver the blow myself.

But that’s when something unprecedented happened.

Call it fate. Call it an improved SSRI regimen. Call it finding some purpose that let me know I wasn’t a waste of DNA. Call it the inner resources of my hopeful aspect saying enough was fucking enough.

They all jumped into the ring and they kicked life off my chest. They helped me up. They patted me on the back. They pointed to life, who was getting up and was very angry.

They didn’t have to say anything. I punched my gloves together, shook off all the bullshit that was holding me down and I strode fucking forward.

I can’t be sure. But I could have sworn I saw a flicker of surprise in life’s emotionless eyes.

I charged forward.

Life charged forward.

And now it’s really on. For the first time ever.

I guess what I’m trying to say in a long winded and confusing manner is that I feel like I’m done tap dancing for Assholes.

I will continue to be civil and obey the polite strictures of society but I’m not going to hide my true stripes anymore. If you want to be important to me, love me or leave me. I am done negotiating. Life is too fucking short.

To paraphrase e.e. cummings: there is just some shit I will no longer eat.

I am born again. I am the Phoenix made man. I am the new alpha and the new omega. I am my own perpetual motion machine. I am, for the first time, staring back at the sun.

I am melodramatic.

But, hey, at least I’m fighting now. I’m really excited about getting to know myself. I’m excited about landing some punches and rolling with some. I have no idea what to expect. And that might be the best part.

To quote the late, great Tom Petty, the future is wide open. I expect it will be better than it ever was going to be before. It already is.

Life is about grappling with the good, bad and undefinable.

I’m not scared anymore. I’m not saying life can’t knock me down again. But I’m done hiding. I’m done taking a dive.

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