For the longest time I said that I was a soldier. I’ve been wrong this whole time. Not out of disrespect for military members, but in the definition. Soldiers take orders, soldiers do what they are told. I don’t. I do what I do based upon my thoughts and feelings. I base them on my emotions, not my orders. Yes, there is a line of command in my life, but we like to see ourselves as equals, not an underling and commander. Well, outside of some situations 😉
But the definition of warrior is this: (especially in former times) a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.
Maybe even warrior doesn’t fit. But I’ve been wrong either way because while I do take orders off and on I mostly make my own choices, my own decisions based on my life, my experiences. I’ve not always made the right choices, but I live with them. I carry upon my shoulders a world of guilt and pain that I feel that I’ll never make up for.
When people catch me off guard and call me a good person, a hero even, I don’t believe them. Heroes are born, heroes are made. I on the other hand have been forged. Forged in fires that I will never be able to put out, that will always sear me under the skin till the day that I die if even then. We spend so much of our lives struggling to find out who or what the hell we are and most of the time we never do figure any shit out.
While it sucks and makes us ponder great many things that maybe we should have figured out before the last death rattle, it is what it is. We stand, we fall. But I stand tall. I am a warrior of the ilk that comes from the frozen wastelands of Eastern Europe and the dry and parched land of India. I am a mix of many things but warrior I am. I fight every day against the things that I can’t win against but I do it because I have to. The mountain in front of me might be immovable but I am not, I can crawl over it on hands and knees if necessary. I have, and I will.
As a warrior I also have to face my fears, and part of that is understanding that I’m not going to be able to defend against anything and everything that comes our way, my way. I’m doing a bit better at it now, but its still difficult to give up and let life flow through the valleys and mountains.
We stand upon rocks and cling to treetops to see the encroaching enemies that come to our gates, our villages in the dark. We stand and we fight, we are brave in the eyes of the oppressors. But warriors get tired too. We fall in battle and we feel lost. We feel the world upon our shoulders. I know I do, every day I feel the world resting there, like the yuke of the past and future pressing down on me. But I push on, through the fields of gold, the valleys of frozen rivers. We press onward ever exhausted unable to make amends for previous wrongs, or at least I do. Because its all I’ve ever known. All I’ve ever known is pressing on, a brave in the eyes of my family but never myself.
See, I don’t really see what I do, what I’ve done. I press on, weapon in hand to fight. Swinging and fighting, chopping and slicing I press through what ever I face. But this warrior is tired. He needs someone else to take the mantle from him for just a little bit. Not forever, just long enough to catch his breath. To become whole again, in the eyes of his gods, in his eyes. See, perception is everything to me. How I’m perceived, how I perceive others. Sometimes I’m wrong and other times I’m just misunderstood because I am unclear. I am unclear to myself most of the time until I’m sleeping and things have hit me like a war hammer in the face of everything.
In those moments of clarity rests the biggest issues I have. I have solutions to my problems but I don’t have the means of completing them. Because this warrior is tired. I’m exhausted all my possible trump cards, all my favors have been called in. Its me or nothing that will get it done, but when you have things and people telling you its not possible no matter how possible it is, you end up thinking its not. The way humans are wired is a funny thing, sometimes things like that push you just that much harder to do it. Other times it collapses the house of cards you’ve built to try and make a difference for you, for loved ones. I don’t have a family but the one I’ve made, the one I’ve built. So many people have come and gone, so many people have left me. Sometimes, a lot of the time actually, its all my fucking fault… Other times it isn’t as clear as that, both parties are to blame. Looking back you see the mistakes you’ve made, the things others have done or didn’t do… and thats what stings the most.
Looking back, warriors can see what the fuck they did wrong, how they got sliced or cut deeper than they intended. In the perfect world we are supposed to learn from that, but when you’ve been running on adrenaline and fear for so many years you lose that edge, that ability. And I’ve been running on adrenaline and fear for too long. This warrior is tired. I’m ready for a big sleep, but not the big one. Not yet at least, I have a few more decades in me I think.
But gods damned I’m tired. So tired. Wake up exhausted and press forward, my warrior juice of caffeine and nicotine. Chemicals that drive me on, not… Me. I don’t have that drive to push forward anymore on my own. I need a hand up from the blood slicked battlefield. I need someone to reach down into the pile of bodies I’m being crushed by to pull me out. I thought I could do it all on my own. I can’t. I just can’t anymore. Its been this way for a long time. So long, so many battles I feel like I’ve fought on my own… Because I have. The battles you’ve never seen behind my eyes and my soul.
Because I’m a warrior, a brave, a fighter. Never a mercenary, never an assassin. I stand tall and strong, even when the killing blow has been struck, even when the pain is too much. I stand tall. I swing my sword, bash my shield upon the faces of the enemies at the gate. I draw my arrow and it flies true as the final breath escapes my lips. Because I have to. Because if I don’t, who will?
But gods damn if I ain’t tired. Gods damned if I don’t feel smaller and weaker every day. Maybe its just a phase, maybe its just a moment of weakness before I get a second wind. I don’t know. But I carry on. I carry onward and upward, scrabbling over the rocks and brush of the mountain. I swim the oceans between us and our enemies bobbing and weaving through the currents as a fish. Because I’m the only one who can. Because I’m the one who has to.
So when I feel tired enough, I’ll sleep. I’ll sleep a long sleep and hopefully have someone to watch over me to keep the enemies away, the demons at bay.