I’ve seen many movies in which the characters are paid or forced to lose. A conflict of conscience always arises, even when their actions are to save a loved one or the money is to salvage the family home, farm, or whatever. A true fighter doesn’t really know how to give in and doesn’t believe in cheating. They go all in, win or lose.
Some days, I would love to throw the fight. I just want to rest. In each of these movies, the protagonist knows that should they be found out, their careers would be over. They would have to retire or start a new career in something other than what they love.
I have been fighting all of my life, so I don’t really know anything else. I don’t think I could throw a fight if I wanted to. But, boy, on some days, I wish I knew how to say to lupus: OK, you’ve got this. It’s all you. And then I’d just sit in a chair and relax.
I allow myself moments in which I don’t try to find a solution to a problem, I just accept what is. But I don’t do that well, either.
Let me give you a bit of my “fighting” history. I grew up in inner-city Chicago, and pretty much whatever that conjures in your mind, you’re probably right. Gang violence, drugs, police brutality — it was all there, so I had to grow up fighting.
Then, I decided I wanted a better life. So, I had to figure out how to get out of my neighborhood and that way of thinking that comes with living in that type of environment. I went into the military, and I remember telling my mom that the only right a person has in the military is the right to remain silent.
It was in the military that I had my first major battle with racism, which could have ended a career. Our training instructor did his best to flunk out every black woman in my group, and we had to battle him within the regimented rules of the military. Later, I became an aircraft mechanic — a black, female aircraft mechanic in Louisiana. More fighting.
In pretty much every aspect of my adult life, I have been the only woman, or the only black person, or the only black woman, which meant … more fighting. When I got divorced, I had no idea it meant that I would have to raise two kids on my own. I decided to go into the competitive field of real estate, and I was determined to be a high performer. But there were obstacles there, too.
By the time lupus came along, I felt that I’d fought all I would have to in my life. I’d established a wonderful reputation in my career, I had kids attending and graduating from college, and I’d been doing my best to set myself up financially to retire at 50. Lupus had other plans: a new fight.
I honestly wanted just to take the sucker punch and lie down on the mat, peeking up only after the ref finished the countdown. I wanted to retire into obscurity. There have been so many times that I wanted to wallow, to feel sorry for myself, and to give up, but fighting is so ingrained in me that I just don’t know how to do anything but battle.
Lupus gives me a run for my money, but I think I am giving as good as I get. My doctor’s appointments have been showing good numbers, and I know that with enough punches landed, my body will start to feel the benefits. Until I can either learn how to throw the fight or beat lupus to a pulp, I won’t be giving up anytime soon.
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