Building walls to hold back a flood is easy; keeping patched the cracks which water pressure creates is much more challenging. I compulsively establish these defenses. The best I could until recently claim is the hard-fought knowledge that weaker fortifications give in faster, and that there are far worse things than being drenched.
Here are five ways to say the next thought:
The pride of not giving in, however, motivates my worst excesses. I would rather sabotage myself than give in to a difficult realization of truth. Being the song of the drunkards is at times more palatable than singing my own songs. Failure sometimes comes with a large and appreciative audience, while walking a narrow road necessarily leaves little room for companions. I’d rather hurt myself my way than heal myself someone else’s way.
For that reason, I have not written any poetry in two weeks. I felt that it would be too revealing of the misguided melancholy and beleaguered bitterness that I have harbored. I did not tell myself that, particularly; I phrased it too myself as “Too moody” or “Too personal” or “Too close to situations involving other people for propriety’s sake”—and while that last one may have been true, the other two are cop-outs. I didn’t want to deal with acknowledging that I am becoming something. I rather liked being the messy thing I was.
It is particularly sad that I could convince myself in the face of change that I actually liked liked the ways I was; I did not. This is further complicated by the fact that my ability to build walls was the quality in question: my brooding, struggling, stubborn reluctance to just admit the truth and instead wallow in a false creation of uncertainty has/had been with me so long that the idea of relinquishing it felt more like an abnegation of self than a liberation. This is how I deal. I don’t know how to deal otherwise.
A threatened man will fight, and that’s where the argument comes from. It is not hard to see that stubborn pride is a malicious mistress. But it is my horrible idea, and I’ve used it for a long time. Admitting and accepting the truth in humility does not allow for the devotee to wield power. That’s the reason it works; that’s the reason I recoil. I like power.
But I want to be humble, peaceful and stable. Until recently, I have idolized instability (which often goes hand in hand with power): at first publicly, then—upon chastisement— furtively. And I will build more stubborn walls that stop me short on the path to those desired characteristics. But I will build smaller and weaker now; I no longer want to win. I can’t win. I can keep fighting all my life, or I can give up to the one who made everything.
Sometimes it takes losing hard to see that you can’t win. I am, it appears, not one to subscribe to the easy lessons. But to torment myself by trying to hold back all the cracks in my wall, or to let the torrent of truth come raging through, was no longer an option. Not just the wall, but the will to wall, broke. It is time to acknowledge that I am becoming something else. I know what the name of it is, but I don’t know how to apply humility, exactly.
Perhaps only in this situation is the will to wall gone; I am not so optimistic or foolhardy to think I will never again struggle with pride in any area of my life. (That may be a prideful sentence.) But there is a real victory in my soul’s Atchafalaya victory, and it is one to be cherished.