Charismatics and soldiers. When you get right down to it, that’s what the world is comprised of. Some folks just draw you right in, and the chips fall their way with little more than a smile on their part. It’s both a gift and a cultivated talent. These are the individuals that get under your skin and make you want to do things for them, spend time with them, cater to them, and you have no idea why. Then there are the folks who spend every moment clawing and scratching. They battle easy credit ripoffs, temporary layoffs AND the chow line. Battle, and WIN. The ability to survive is a gift in its own right.
No prizes for where I believe I fit in. I don’t say this in a way to toot my own horn. This gift I have, sometimes I abuse it, as my ability to survive occasionally makes me careless. I think, “Well, I’ve made it through everything else – what’s one more thing?” As there are drawbacks with being a charismatic individual, being a soldier can also be a bit of a curse.
The very core of the soldier is the story. You’ve been battle tested and proven worthy; who doesn’t love a tale of triumph? Unfortunately, there is where you find the practical joke of this whole soldier lifestyle. The soldier’s story comes with a very weighty obligation. It goes without saying that stories of bravery are welcomed. A soldier can tell of being wounded or trapped. Our scars always hold the deepest and most meaningful of stories. If the circumstances meet a certain criteria, a soldier is even allowed to die, and it is celebrated.
What you can NEVER do as a soldier, however, is be tired. No one wants to hear the story of the tired soldier. It makes one uncomfortable to witness a moment when their champion is neither brave, valiant or wise. It makes their own vulnerabilities that much more frightening. I remember being young, and my mother being exhausted and overwhelmed, and when she finally went off, I was terrified. It was not because she was not well within her rights, nor was it because she was abusive, but when the lynch pin weakens, what are the rest of us to do? Later, even in her illness, she did everything to minister to the minds and spirits of everyone who came in contact with her. If you were not in her immediate company, you didn’t know she was ill. When she lost the ability to do that, it shook us all, not because she owed us a debt, but because we felt that if someone that strong could crumble, we didn’t stand a chance.
And now, it’s my turn. When I buckle, people have become so accustomed to me fighting through, displays of vulnerability make them uncomfortable. The make me uncomfortable. Sharing too much makes me feel like a complainer. When I falter, it all goes to shit. Everyone has problems, and I’m sure most of those problems are bigger than anything I will ever experience, so I try my best to keep moving. My ability to fight is my color purple, and I believe to disregard it would piss God off.
But the truth of the matter is that being strong is so damn hard; and frankly, I’m honestly not convinced that I’m all that strong. I fear that were anyone to tiptoe through my thoughts, they would label me a fraud. I actually hate the idea of dating for this very reason. On the inside, I’m a mess. “Hey Awesome Guy, you know how you kind of thought that I was confident, collected, wise and beautiful? Yeah, that’s all kind of a crock of shit, and I’m actually just a regular ass chick. My bad. Will you accept me anyway? No? Okay, well I’ll just go back to suppressing the fact that this has bruised every one of my internal organs, and I’ll wish you well.” I pride myself on being functional, but I think it’s been almost a year since I’ve felt that I was really living life. I don’t even know what to do with that, so I wouldn’t dare subject a life partner to these shenanigans.
For the time being, I’m working on answering the question, “Well, if you’re such a hot mess, why should anyone listen to you?” There’s this gaping vortex at my center where I believe my purpose used to live. Outside of being a mother, I have no idea what my purpose is. I don’t know that I ever had it. I’ve always walked on the fringe of everything. Not that I’m a fence rider, but rather, I don’t let anything box me in. I’m the consummate eclectic, so it’s hard for me to fit anywhere. It always has been, but that’s a separate post entirely.
So, starting in this very moment, I’m spending the next year pioneering my happiness. Lord knows how that’s going to work out, but since nobody is gonna give me my free, I’m gonna have to air out the nina and take that shit.