Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Battlefield of the Mind

My mother told me to choose my battles carefully and to accept the consequences of the battles I chose to fight. In Primary School I sat fidgeting waiting for the break bell but scared to death knowing that there was a fight waiting on the playground and wondering if I should join the fight and if the consequences were worth it. In Secondary School there were many battles to be fought out of sight but when someone snitched on us and we got in trouble we made her the 'enemy'for the rest of the school year and I struggled with my conscience wondering if the fight had been worth it. I fought the wrong battles, transferred the blame to the wrong people and refused to take any part of the blame or acknowledge the consequences. 

Then one day I was forced to own up to my decisions because there was no one else to blame. I had no one to whom I could transfer the pain when I was in labor at Nsambya hospital. I had recently turned 19 years and I was facing a daunting problem, alone. I could not call anyone to help because this was a personal journey, my own battle. The pain and blame could not be passed to some unsuspecting person. As my mother would say; this was my cross and I had to carry it. The decision was mine, the pregnancy was mine and the pain, the consequences, were mine. I spent 24 hours in labor and each hour was exponentially more painful than the last.

When Lionel was born, I realized that this particular battle was worth it. There were no grey areas at all: the consequences were a miracle. In my arms lay a healthy bouncing baby boy, my son. I never knew love like I felt that morning in March 1985. I marveled that my mother had gone through all this pain to bring me into this world and when I rebelled and hurt her she never stopped loving me - she loves me still. On that morning every word she uttered in anger when I first announced my pregnancy made sense. I knew for sure that she loved me as I loved the screaming bundle that kept me awake when I most needed my sleep.

At 50 I know that the battlefield is in the mind. We are weak and imperfect by nature and constantly struggle to validate our poor decisions. We only win that struggle if the consequences of the battle were worth fighting for.
feeling strong.

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