One of my teammates nudged me to compose a “Why I Fight” article. While her kind words encouraged me, I have to be honest, right now I feel like the last person who should be writing this article. However, in the theme of this site’s wild vulnerability, I chose to give it a go. Not because I feel particularly inspiring, but because I feel a little lost, and maybe some of my other warrior women are feeling that way too.
As I gear up for the 2018 season, I am hovering on the precipice of major life changes. This past year has been one of huge highs (competing on the USA women’s buhurt team at Battle of the Nations), and deep personal lows. After I came home from BOTN 2017, my life slowly started to tilt sideways. All the time and energy I had spent on other projects had taken its toll on my relationships - in particular, my marriage. I spent so much time fighting for others, (my teammates, my family, my husband, etc.); I forgot how to fight for myself.
So this is where I find myself: newly single after almost a decade of sharing my life with one of my best friends, and wondering how to keep fighting and if it’s worth it. (Spoiler alert: it is.)
This sport asks a lot of us, and I’ve willingly given all I’ve had. However, when what you have to give is reduced, be it financially or otherwise, answering the call becomes more daunting. That question of “why do I fight?” has been dancing around the edges of my mind, sitting in the back of my throat, and waiting to be answered. For a few weeks I was too sad to answer the question - my tears got in the way. You know the kind, those thick, foggy tears that cloak your soul in sadness. Those tears had to be shed before I could talk to myself again.
After the tears came the anger. Going to events alone, coming home after the gym to an empty house, waking up in a too-big bed - it turned my pain into something that I hated. I picked up my sword and took to my pell every day. I cried as I practiced. Tears and yelling and sword fighting all helped soothe the sharp edges of my hurt. But it still didn’t answer the question of why I fight.
Finally, I was able to ask myself if this sport would be worth all the times I would have to fail. Would it be worth falling down and picking myself up alone? Could I be enough to put in the work and pick myself up again, and again, and again?
Would I be enough?
I think there comes a time when we have all asked this question. When life grinds us down to that bone-on-bone weariness, and we have to stop and ask, “why am I doing this?” We pick our heads up and look around, not realizing how we got to this place where everything’s familiar and yet just a little different from when we first began. It’s a tricky question for me, because so often I wrap up my “enough” in the idea of gaining recognition, winning competitions, seeing measurable improvement, etc. While those are good goals to strive for, they will wear thin and disappoint if I lean on them too much.
No, the worth of why I fight can’t be measured in an outcome.
So how can it be measured? For me, it comes down to one word, (it always comes down to this word): Love. Love for this sport. Love for my team. Love for the fear, the challenge, the thrill, and the hunt.
Love for myself.
For the unquenchable, burning flame that tells me that I am worth betterment. I am strong enough to rise to the challenges. I am capable of growth and change and leaving a legacy for women coming after me to know this kind of life-altering passion.
I fight because I know that if I do not, I will have lived a life of half-waking. For me, freedom is found in the lists. When I have to rely on myself and become reborn into something other than what I was told I should be… that it why I fight.