Sticks and Stones

I would make a terrible gladiator.

No matter how angry I became, I wouldn’t aim to wound. The more blows my opponent threw my way the more stunned I’d be that they were. And if they finally tired and walked away I’d walk after them, to hell with the consequences, because I’d still be convinced that the whole thing must be a misunderstanding.

I’m surrounded by much better gladiators than myself, and I’m trying to find the lesson in it as I dodge the blows.

I’m someone who puts a lot of emphasis on words. Maybe it’s because I write, or because they intoxicate me so when I read them. It could be because I crave, constantly crave, to understand those around me. Words are my clues. They are precious to me.

Because of that, I never want to argue. I hate to misplace them. I have the beautiful delusion that if I can just choose the right words, if I can just arrange them in the perfect way then there would be no need for arguments. I live in the belief that malice is usually misunderstanding.

When this belief fails me I am stunned to my core – every single time.

I recently had a week with two battles of my own and I was wounded – far more than my opponents intended – by misplaced words. They branded me and stung long after the voices fell and the calm returned.

It wasn’t the first time it had happened, and I’m sure it wont be the last. So this time I’m determined to take something from it, besides the sting.

So I’m taking this:

I believe we are here to grow. To learn. That our life paths push us in ways that will make us find more of ourselves. I believe that we can crave understanding of others as much as we like, but in the end it all comes back to us. It’s meant to.

I can’t choose words for others, but I can adjust my shield. So next time I will remind myself that the battle is about the fight, not the opponents. I will try to separate myself from it, and find something of beauty in it – because anger can be ugly, but it can also be passion. It can be release.

I will detach myself, just enough, to watch it build like a storm, to not be as shaken by the noise of the thunder, to be in awe of the lightening. To let the words wash over me like rain, leaving me clean.

Because words can sting, but the fight only stings me with them once. Hurried words pass so quickly. It’s me who has picked them up and used them as a weapon against myself.

So I realize that I am actually a mighty gladiator after all – but the one I have been hurting is me.

The words said by others only have the weight that I give them. I have been arming my opponents with my own perceptions.

And I’m not going to do it anymore.

Since the dawn of time there have always been battles, both physical and mental. It is inbuilt in the human condition. Not flaw, just fact.

I’m going to quench my craving for understanding, by understanding that there are times that people need to argue. There are times that they need that fight to really let go and release. I am still going to stand up for myself, and I’m still going to be a peacemaker because that’s who I am. But I’m also going to remember that that’s who they are, and the fight they have in them is theirs, not mine.

Words can still be just as precious to me, they can still mean as much. But from this moment on I will be as careful not to wound myself with others words as I am not to wound others with mine.

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2012