I’ve always thought of myself as a fighter. I fight depression and anxiety on an almost daily basis; I fight expectations that are placed on my gender by society and myself; I feel as though I am engaged in a never-ending war with myself and the world.
And you know what? I’m tired.
That’s what happens when everywhere I look I see enemies. I see societal problems that need fixing, individual wrongs that need righting, laundry piles that need folding, and bathrooms that need cleaning.
Yes, I’m dead serious about the last two. . . they’re like the straw that broke the camel’s back when added to all the “big” crap that needs dealing with.
Not that long ago, I lost my will to continue fighting. So I stopped. I decided to just be and not give a crap about anything not in my immediate sphere of existence.
At first it was freeing. I no longer saw issues every time I turned around or felt guilty for being too tired to want to care. The world seemed prettier when I refused to look at the ugly parts.
The feeling didn’t last though. The dullness of everyday existence grew until I started questioning the point of living. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What is the ever-loving point of all this? Do I have a purpose? If I do, where do I find it?
I thought back to the times when I felt alive. When living fully and passionately was a priority, a necessity even. What made me feel that way? What sparked my motivation? What fueled me?
The answer? Anger.
I was motivated by anger, fueled by anger, and defeated by anger.
When I felt depressed and listless, I used anger to pull myself back from it. When I felt anxious and incapable, I used anger to push through the fear. When I felt useless as a woman because I hate housework and cooking and I was failing as a mother and a wife, I used anger to to give me the gumption to do it anyway.
And you know what? Anger is tiring.
It looks strong and compelling from the outside, but it creates a hollow within.
Societal problems can’t be fixed by anger. They will be fixed by love and compassion or they will ignite and incinerate neighborhoods. Individual wrongs can’t be righted by anger. They will be righted by fairness and impartiality or they will burn a hole through a person’s soul.
Anger is a destructive force. This is ideal in certain situations and in moderated doses, as sometimes things need to be torn down in order for something new to be built in its place. But when anger moves from being the spark that gets the engine going to being the fuel that keeps the engine running, the engine will fail. Not today, not tomorrow, or next week or next month, but it will fail if the system is never flushed and new fuel put in it’s place.
I guess that’s what my period of not fighting anymore did for me. My engine failed and it wasn’t until I tinkered around with it and figured out why that I was able to flush my system and introduce a new fuel.
I still consider myself to be a fighter. I fight depression and anxiety, societal expectations and social injustices. I still feel tired and exhausted, as though I am waging a war that I will never win, but I also feel full. Full of determination, full of purpose, and full of hope.
I would love to hear others’ thoughts on the idea of being a fighter. What kind of fighter are you and why?