It was a rough moment when I realized I’d quit living life. It had been building since the end of the start up, but it took another year and a half to reach a spot where each day I merely survived. I woke up in the morning and counted the hours until the day ended. I knew I couldn’t just stop. People depended on me so each day I did what I could. There was no laughter. There was no joy. I had moved from feeling hopeless to being terrified of hope. Hope only brought pain. Life had been chronically discouraging for so long that discouragement had become the only reliable constant.
The desolation I’d been living with became tangible in the beginning of 2015. I came across an ad for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse initiative. The campaign was a positive reaction to the domestic abuse issues. I read down the page and was startled to realize it was a reflection of me.
For the first time I was seeing how battered and broken I had become. I started looking for how I had gotten to that point. It would have been easy to point fingers and blame someone or something else. But for me, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. No one contributed intentionally. Anyone who knew they’d contributed would be horrified. I had simply been battered by life. Life is hard. Life hurts. Life is a battle. And in that moment I realized it was my perspective, the labels I was applying to situations, that was damaging me the most.
I realized that I was allowing what had happened to rob the joy from my life. I couldn’t move forward if I continued thinking the same way. It was time to embrace a new way of life. Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is a choice and I continued to be someone who was suffering. I needed to become someone who HAD suffered, but moved on. Life is full of pain. I can’t change that. But I can change how I react to it.
That one decision shifted my perspective. I realized I was not an option-less victim, but a battle-weary warrior. I had forgotten that a warrior isn’t someone who wins, because the reality was I wasn’t winning at anything. A warrior is some one who fights, who gets knocked down, but staggers to her feet and continues toward the goal. It’s all about willingness. And simply because I hadn’t quit, I was in fact a fighter.
I was devastated by the start up, but I still got up every day and did what needed to be done. I faced adversity from my family, had to live with/through a lot of other people’s choice, but I did and didn’t let it stop me from making the right, generally painful decisions for my and my family’s future. I gave my kids all I had to help them create an even better future for themselves. I fought and I failed, but as long as I got back up and tried again, I was a warrior.
So I choose to live as a warrior. I have the scars to prove it. I hurt and I stumble. Sometimes I fall flat. Life still knocks me around, but I refuse to stop. I’m building the foundation for the next stage of my future. I’m raising daughters with more weapons to fight life with. Adversity does not disappear. They will face it, too. They have. Life will continue to be a battle, but my perspective has changed as have my choices. I will not let being afraid keep me from joy. I will not let life win.