|What did I do this year? I brought war to those around me. Getting close enough to see the whites of my eyes automatically made one a casualty of a war fought mostly in my head. Battles won and lost all in pursuit of a non-specific victory. Perhaps at the beginning, when battle lines were being drawn and plans were being made, perhaps then the goal was known. The big picture could be seen. But that was so long and so much blood ago, even I cannot remember if it was ever a worthy war. At first I rode into battle atop a snarling warhorse, both he and I fueled by my anger. I carried my banner high knowing that the wounds I had experienced were so grievous they could not be denied by anyone. I mowed down one perceived enemy after another with righteous indignation, feeling empowered since the trials of war had not yet made their mark on me. The smaller battles I took care of first, of course, as they provided me with an ego boost and false confidence to carry on. Each triumph reinforcing a poorly executed idea.
A lull in the fighting inevitably came when the unfairly balanced battles came to an end and the more drawn-out cerebral fighting began. These skirmishes brought with them the four horsemen of my personal apocalypse. These skirmishes wore me out both mentally and physically. These skirmishes were stalked by emotions that tend to overwhelm me. It is difficult to try to outsmart, outmaneuver, outlast....oneself. Loyalties turned fickle and faiths were shaken.
I have since lost my warhorse, as well as my confidence and indignation. I continue to win battles, although now I often doubt whether success equals achievement. Wins are no longer celebrated as they leave me feeling deflated and irreversibly changed. War looks different from the mud than it does from towering above. The end cannot be clearly seen. Advantages become scarce, having been exhausted completely, leaving only sheer will-power as a way to any end. I have begun to crave those things I took a stand against and wonder which point of view has more validity. I still suffer wounds, pain which runs deep across a war torn person as well as morale. My landscape has been forever altered...bridges burned and walls built. I have shown miraculous amounts of courage and cowardice. I have felt like shouting my name from the mountaintops as well as falling on my sword. I have set up a permanent camp here and war has become my home.
Now, at this point somewhere past the middle and nowhere near the end, I can only say two things with absolute honesty. The first being that I will carry on, I will fight to the end. I can say this with certainty because it is the only choice I have left. I have gone past the point of no return and if I want to make it out I have to go through. A warrior changed is a warrior still. And the second thing is that it most certainly is NOT true that when you are at the bottom things can only look up. Face down is face down and tweaking your perspective doesn't change that.