We wage wars every day. The most dangerous ones are waged within ourselves. It is these conflicts that break us. That change us. That keep us honest. Or keep us hiding behind an image. Personally, surrendering to this war of image and expectation would mean death. Waving the white flag would mean living a lie.
I will admit to doing things backwards in the eye of society. I have yet to live up to any expectation or standard that has been set upon me. Some people spend their lives trying to be seen as important, to gain some power, and some have even been so naive to convince themselves that they are smarter than others… I get it.
Everyone could “paint by numbers” and the result is we love the originality – the beautiful image of something that was created long before – and then hidden behind layers of color. If I can compare my life to paint by numbers, then I suppose I ran out of paint a long time ago. The war I waged against myself was just that, fighting against false image.
I once played house. But houses can be deceiving. For me, playing house externally looked perfect, but was quietly filled with rage. A naïve little girl, marrying a man for vindication, starving myself to obtain beauty, keeping quiet to remain safe. I have never hated an image more. I let the world I created inside that house engulf me. I was suffocating on an image that I caught so simply, like going fishing and catching a boot. That was when my battle really started, because tucking myself so tightly behind closed doors was far harder than waging a war.
I could find acceptance again without much effort. If I wanted, I could find a financially stable man who wanted a trophy wife. And I would spend my days playing the perfect housewife: give my vagina a lovely little home, have dinner on the table by six every night. I could scrub the toilet and condemn everyone living with less than what I have. In that perfection, I could pretend to be too busy to be myself. To take the accomplishments of my spouse as my own, and find acceptance in those who once saw me as this poor little jaded single mother of two.
Instead, I wage a war; A beautiful, quiet, sometimes messy war.
These wars, the most dangerous ones, reflect how we respond to the lives of others. Somewhere in time, character of a man was bound silently to how much money he makes. In my time I have seen many, and some of the poorest men have had the most character of all. Some people have taken on battles that ruin them, that consume them so much, that they just can’t bare to lead lives outside of that. I was once that little girl, so tired of fighting that I couldn’t think outside of myself. Consumption of this kind in excess can lead to trying to drown yourself in the bathtub I found strength to fight in the faces of my children, but not everyone has a reason to fight. Some people have dinner on the table every night at six and quiet houses filled with rage. People go fishing and catch all kinds of things.
It is my constant battle that keeps me honest to what I am on this planet, what I can be to others around me. In this dangerous war I am reminded that poorness is not a matter of material possessions, it is a lack of morality and character. Not all beautiful pictures are paint by number. Society has the power to do many things; it can set standards and sell wars, but remember that it can also leave you bloated and dead in the bath tub.
I had to forgive myself for my past. To hug the helpless little girl I once was. To be brave and continue fighting the never-ending war within me.