Things 2017 Taught Me

For the Warrior Within You

The world is a shitty, cruel place comprised of a multitude of shitty, cruel people. That much is certain. But what we so often forget is that we have the power to change that. We have the power to refuse to let the pain and suffering harden us and turn our hearts cold. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. And here is what that means:

Chase the things that make you feel as if the sun's rays have made their home in your chest. Be a beam of light in a world drowning in darkness. Be positive, uplifting, understanding, compassionate, and fair. Be kind in a world where cruelty is so often the mode of operation. Rely on people. Open up your heart. Allow yourself to love and be loved. Be vulnerable every once in a while. Help those who can't help themselves. Be a friend to the people who society has decided deserve to remain friendless. Defend those who are attacked and abused daily. Refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice and oppression. Do all of this with a kind, open heart. You will not regret being a source of light and kindness during a time of darkness and cruelty.

But at the same time, you have to look out for yourself, because at the end of the day, the only person you can ever truly rely on is yourself. Do not rip your beating heart from your chest and offer it to people who will just throw it in the dirt. Stop living your life to please other people—do what makes you happy. Care for people, help people, but don't go to the ends of the earth for people who wouldn't follow you across the street. Don't run yourself ragged trying to save someone who doesn't give a damn if you yourself are saved. You are not a doormat. Do not allow people to tell you how much you're worth. (If there's one unfortunate skill you've honed over the past several years, it's knowing when people are lying to you about your worth.) When people try to tell you who you are, you shove back and say, "No. This is who I am. And fuck you for trying to tell me I'm not." As much as you want to be a gentle ray of sunshine who does no harm and instead deals only in kindness, sometimes you have to raise your voice, plant your feet, and tell them to go to hell. Go to war for yourself, love, instead of only going to war for those you love. As much as you want to be a savior for everyone else, you must save yourself first.

Remember who you are. You are a warrior, a queen, a fighter. The blood of the stars runs in your veins, and the moon itself sighs in admiration as it watches you set off to conquer kingdoms and topple empires. You have strength in your heart, courage in your bones, and iron tucked beneath your skin. You were not made to be passive, submissive, compliant, complacent. You were made to defend, to protect, to fight for what you believe in and for what is right. Your eyes may burn with the fire of a thousand dying suns, but that glow pales in comparison to the conflagration raging in your heart. Be the savior you so desperately wish would enter your life. Pick up your sword, little brave. Don your armor. Mount your war horse and ride into battle, sword raised, eyes glinting like the moon over a stormy sea. Find your enemies, slit some throats, show them who you are.

And once you have fought your battle and won your war, wipe the blood from your cheeks and the sweat from your brow. Take off your armor, remove your sword, and put them back in the closet until you need them again. Let the rage run off your skin like rain slips down a window, and replace it with a blanket of gentleness and a crown of compassion. Give them the chance to treat you as you ought to be treated; but when they do not, rain hell down upon them like they have never known. Stay golden, stay warm, stay kind, until their behavior calls for something else.

"The world is a shitty, cruel place." Agreed. Now make it better.

"The world is comprised of a multitude of shitty, cruel people." Indeed. Do not become one of them.

If you do not put your foot down, if you do not stand up for the weak, if you do not seek to save the lost, if you do not aim to fix what is broken—then who the hell will? 

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Things 2017 Taught Me
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