Throwing in the towel is easy. It’s so damned easy; you don’t even have to think about it. In real life, there’s no rising of the hands, a long monologue, or even an exasperated sigh. There’s no guidebook. It happens when you want it to. It’s a thought with a binary value: think zero, and it doesn’t happen; think a one and it’s done.
For years, I have taken little quotes and quips and tried to personalize them. I have a demitasse next to the hot shot full of Tazo tea quotes. On a bad day, I pluck one out and mull it around. Very rarely is what’s read what is interpreted.
Because of this mind game I’m always playing, I have a tattoo on my arm featuring a series of sugar skulls and a large quill pen. There is a quote running through it that’s simple – and likely, very familiar – “In Defense of Our Dreams.” I first heard this quote in a song that I initially thought was only fair. I then saw the song performed live. It was inspirational.
But, they weren’t my words. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve got a thing for using my own voice. For controlling my frame of reference by writing, and I will continue to do this until the day I die.
There are great battles in this world. There are great wars, too, but a war is different from a battle in one discernable factor: A true war is the culmination of all things in the favor of one victor. The nature of there being only one victor means at least half of the contributing conflicts in this war are likely to be a little contentious.
There is another battle that’s fought daily. Not the good fight against diabetes daily at every McDonalds in America; that war is lost. There is a battle in every single one of us. It’s the battle over red shoes or white; black ties or pink; crazy hair, or formal updo; decaf versus double shot. These battles comprise the Great War.
War, is never a good thing, but every now and then a man must go to it with himself to find out what he truly defends. I defend my right to live happy, write until I can’t live, and be happy until I can’t write. I fight to spend this life with the one I love, till hell is destroyed by trying to bring us apart, forcing its ghoulish occupants to become our minions for my grocery shopping and her pedicures. That is my dream, and that is what I am ever at war with.
Throwing in the towel is giving up the war within yourself; the war with yourself. It’s giving up the ambitions and dreams that you were raised with. It’s bidding adieu to the fairytale wedding, and the Boba Fett costume. It’s eating a fourth cheeseburger in one sitting because you just. Don’t. Care. It’s saying that you’re done being alive; that you’re now simply living.
I challenge you to look at what you’ve done with your life to this point. I challenge you to be alive – don’t just live. Look around you – see your friends, see what you love, see what loves you, and ask yourself what you are at war for. We all know who we’re at war with – we can never truly stop fighting ourselves.
But, if you don’t have an exit strategy on that battlefield, you’ll never be able to relish the small victories in the Great War.