How many warriors do you know? I bet it’s a larger number than you think.
Aren’t they glorious things, though, warriors? Covered all over in battle-scars, blood, sweat and glory; paragons of such desirable virtues – strength of character, perseverance, determination, sheer bloody grit and an indomitable spirit – quite the attractive, swoon-worthy figure.
We’re quite used, historically speaking, to celebrating the most awesome achievements of those in our societies. The supreme and most excellent have always been celebrated, partly because we’re grateful just to know them (and have them on our side) and partly to inspire the faceless masses to strive to do better.
To try to calculate the number of warriors the world has ever seen would require some unbelievably tricksy mathematics, after all, everyone knows that to create a valid equation, one first must determine the parameters of the components.
But how to define a warrior?
Perhaps by example (I’ve got some awesome ones, all of whom I’m honoured to number amongst my friends and acquaintances):
- A woman diagnosed with primary infertility, who’s reconciled to her situation, and is no longer trying to conceive
- A woman who’s miscarried multiple times and is still trying for her first child
- A woman who has two children, but whose daughter was stillborn a year ago
- A man whose autoimmune problems took his job, his physical and his mental health, yet who wants to remain positive about the future
- A number of women whose children have varying degrees of special need, some diagnosed, others not, who have picked themselves up and carried on, fighting extra battles on behalf of their kids
- A woman who blogs and engages despite the disparity and astonishment caused by comparing our abundance to her third-world home
- A woman who has six children and an autoimmune condition to manage
- A woman whose breasts tried to kill her, and she had to get new ones constructed from other bits of her
- A woman who tried (and succeeded) to love her baby while swamped by post-natal depression
- A man who, in spite of his disability, has managed to get fit and down to his target weight, and has become a jet-setter
- A woman whose bipolar tried to kill her, yet who takes life head-on
- A man who gave up his everything to go and live in a foreign country in order to marry the woman he loves
These wonderful people are truly battle-scarred, sweat-stained and often exhausted, yet they somehow find the energy, positivity and capacity to go further than just managing the challenges they face in their daily lives, and actively try to make the world a better place.
They are strong, hilarious, vulnerable, incredible people. And they (we) all think each other has it worse, counting our plusses and slogging through the fractioned parts of life.
And on those days when I find it too much to think of my Neverborns, and the world through the Can’t Have Kids glasses is a dark and frightening place, these warriors are there for me, with a word or a picture or a song or simply to say “I understand” and I marvel.
Because here’s the astonishing thing – in my loneliness, my hurt and my perceived isolation, I’m not alone.
Or we’re all alone, together, and just need to reach out to one another, take hands and take comfort and solidarity from the presence of another warrior who’s closer than you can imagine.
Because secretly, I think we’re all staring at each other across a Mobius strip.