Pick Your Battles

I feel that I am at once perpetually admitting my weakness and defeat, and simultaneously attempting to maintain that I am driven by strength and determination. That my life is governed by my perseverance and resilience, and yet acknowledge my own softness and vulnerability and compassion. That I am constantly on a precipice between two extremes; as if two opposing fates pull me in vastly different directions.

I have to remember that they’re not. Opposing forces, that is. What they are is opposite sides of the same coin. They’re extremes of the same characteristics. Hardness and softness. Strength and weakness. Boldness and meekness. Resistance and vulnerability. Fortitude and resignation.
What the struggle is that is so pervasive in our lives is a matter of balance, a matter of moderation.

There’s nothing exciting about moderation. When we think of moderation we think of cowing to others, of sobriety and early bed times and strictly following rules and prudishness and a stick up your ass. But that’s not real moderation, that’s ridiculous.

Real moderation is prudence, balance, living wisely. It is taking care of yourself and having goals and pursuing them in ways that aren’t destructive. It’s finding a middle ground between all those things that seem to be pulling you apart. It’s not allowing yourself to be ripped to shreds. So forget what you’ve heard man. It’s not all bad. It’s not even a little bad. It’s good. It’s helpful. It’s a lifesaver.

I think it’ll be a while before I understand this myself. I still feel like I’m being pulled at from many sides. I still feel like I’m fighting myself. I feel like when I’m weak or vulnerable that I have to defend that part of me, to tell the world that it’s because I need to hold onto it in order to save myself from icing over. When I’m harsh or unyielding I want to yell to the world that I need to hold onto it because I have nothing else to fall back on, and if I fall I won’t be able to get back up.

And it’s not about telling the world, really. It’s about telling myself. There are times when the world looks at me and tells me what it sees, and so often it’s far from the truth, and then I feel the weight of misunderstanding. But mostly it’s myself I’m telling. Mostly it’s me I have to defend myself to, and against.

I’m not alone in this. Unless we’re all alone in this. But every person faces this I think, or you can’t be human. So. Tomorrow when we wake up, let’s cut ourselves some slack. Let’s stop fighting ourselves. Let’s not make excuses to ourselves. Let’s just get through the day. The rest will follow.

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