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The Fight for Your Life

Thoughts on knowing you are worth the fight.

I’ve never been one for conflict. Well, I should say I used to never be one for conflict. Up until now, I’ve never been all that good with competition either. It’s no longer the case. Conflict doesn’t scare me off and I’m so competitive now that if anyone is on the treadmill next to me at the gym I will die first before I quit before they do. See, they are in a race, they just don’t know it.  

I got into a fight one day at the mall with the guy who stands in the middle at a kiosk trying to sell you the latest lotion or hair straightener. When they see this frizzy mess coming at them, they pounce. I would just like my “No, thank you.” to mean, “NO THANK YOU!”  But, nope, they attack. So one day I had HAD it! I just wanted to be able to walk down the middle of the mall without being accosted by some guy in a silk shirt that’s unbuttoned halfway exposing the carpet of hair across his chest.

So I said no to this guy once already as I made my way down one side of the mall. And on my loop back, here he comes. With an in-your-face do-or-die approach. I held up my hand to his face and without meaning to, shouted “NO!” like I was about to pounce on him and murder him. Then he makes some quip about “Sheez, somebody’s in a bad mood today” blah, blah. I lost it.

This seems like a bad thing, especially to my slightly mortified kids who had broken into laughter mumbling something about “mom needs a glass of wine stat!”  But the old me would have listened to his stupid spiel for 45 minutes and likely have spent $40 bucks on something I didn’t want just to be nice.

Sometimes, fighting is good.

Anytime in my life, a guy has tried to pit me against another woman, which is a massive pet peeve for me, I walk away. I’m not competing for someone’s affections. If it’s not clear to them, screw it I say! And good luck with that.

But there have been a million and one examples of times I was truly wronged. Either at the workplace or in school. But instead of fighting for myself. I also walked away. Once from a very lucrative career just because I didn’t have the fight in me. Or I didn’t think I was worth fighting for myself. I was the Queen of denial and avoidance. Just walk away and cope with what you’ve been dealt.

Then I found myself in a position a few years back where if I didn’t learn to fight for myself it would result in my death. I wish I were kidding. I’m not. It’s funny to me now looking back at how long it took me to actually engage in the fight. Fear kept me paralyzed and a dear friend patiently prodded me the entire way with encouragement that it was a fight I could win. And I did.

But old habits die hard, don’t they?

I feel like I’m doing that thing again. I need to fight so much harder for my life than I am. And what is it that stops us? I think fear has always plagued me, which typically means I’m not trusting God. I’m befuddled by the fight in some people like my friend Krissy who has been battling breast cancer and then all of the effects. She has been fighting for her life with a smile on her face and awesome amounts of snark. She’s positive and by damned if this disease is going to win. I see so many people just lying down. I’m constantly encouraged by her fierceness and I adore her more than I could possibly say and I think because of just how hard she fights for her life and her family.

There is something about standing up and saying “Oh hell NO, I’m not going easily into the sunset!”   I could be the victim and cry over how it’s all so unfair. I could let fear paralyze me and crawl under the covers with a Klondike bar. Or I can raise my head high and look at my life and say, to quote one of my very favorite books of all time, “Do your worst!”  I think that’s the modern-day version of “Bring it!”

It’s both a place of surrender and determination.

The quote is from The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. (The Do your worst quote, not Bring it. Just in case there was any question.) The entire book is about a man who is either going to lay down and die or fight after he is wronged and loses everything but his life and even that is a questionable state. It’s a morally complex book. His perseverance is driven by revenge. But he perseveres nonetheless.

I think it’s difficult for a lot of people to every day wake up and rise above their circumstances whatever they may be. Yes, some people have it worse and some people have it better but your journey is still very real for you. And the choice to fight for your life is one that is never made once. It may happen once a day. It may happen once a minute. The important thing is, that it happens.

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you.” – Alexandre Dumas

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