Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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Warrior spirit

My friend Debbie, who has breast cancer, said something to me last night that brought me up short. I was discussing that one takes it one day at a time, but fights the good fight, because you never know what will really happen, if you work on these things. Something about it happens to all of us, this death thing, and it could be sooner or later, but it's really about how you deal with life, between.

And she said quietly "But I'm not a warrior. That's not me. I don't want to fight."

And it brought me up short. It was like I'd suddenly had something completely alien dumped on my head, startling and completely outside my experience. All these years, I had known this woman, and I'd never really known her. And suddenly a lot of things made sense, including my frustration with her seeming inability to leave a bad marriage until her ex left first, the way she just kind of stood there and let a lot of life's vicitudes roll over her. This woman bullied crocodiles in her life as a zookeeper, but that was just part of her job. It wasn't "her."

And at that point I realized that our worldviews lay at opposite ends of the universe. My personal motto is "No Surrender!" and the poem "Invictus" ("Out of the night that covers me/Black as the pit from pole to pole,/I thank whatever gods may be/For my inconquerable soul.") my personal anthem. I'm a warrior, always have, always been. I can really get behind "It is a good day to die," and I regard most things in day-to-day life in terms of giving it one's personal best. I can be zen about things, but I also adhere to the old Japanese philosophy that the priest must cultivate the spirit of the warrior, for to live at peace in the Fleeting World requires great courage and determination. Having someone whom I always considered similar to me deny that whole continuum's applicability to her was like running into a wall of mud. Color me increduous. It makes me seriously question whether I've ever truly known her, or just interacted with the surface similarities, all these years.

I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around where she's at, now. Is she just letting the impending spectre of death wash over her passively, like she has everything else in life? No wonder she's freaked out. She's also now at a place where she's realized she could survive this and live out more years, but is so intimidated by the thought of living maimed that she's not sure if she wants to. Is this what it's like to be depressed, giving up on everything, just living in a world of passive ...not acceptance, but resignation? She doesn't want to die, and rages about how she's not ready, because things are good, and how she could have happily died when she was miserable, but this isn't fair. While, if I didn't see any alternative, I would be thinking "hey, I can go, I've had a lot to be grateful for, and I'm in a good place." Because I have the warrior spirit.

Gods teeth, can't even imagine living with such an outlook on the world, myself. But now I realize that, like some mimic creature, she's been living with that outlook for possibly as long as I've known her. It's just it's so...alien.
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