It’s happening and you cannot stop it. Life will challenge you and you cannot escape.

I just sat down to write but I don’t have a plan of what to write. Finding—no scratch that—MAKING the time to sit down and write is by far the hardest part of writing for me.

But now, I’m sitting pretty because the hardest part is out of the way. Ok, what to write… Since I don’t have a clear vision of what i want to write, i’ll explain how i start. I use writing as a way to assess the state I’m in, to figure out what’s going on inside me, or to figure out what’s got my panties in a bunch. Regardless of what I am after, I just start with a simple question. This simple question opens the door for me to explore.

So what will the question be today? I don’t know, but i want to write about my insides, hmmmm. I’ll start with…

Why do you want to write about “your insides”?

Because lately, they’ve been quite interesting. There is a lot going on in my small world, including a lot going on in the lives of people close to me and when I watch people face challenges in their own lives, I become more and more intrigued by mankind.

No two people are the same, but our similarities with each other are everything.

It’s interesting how many people I’ve witnessed wanting so badly to be different, for their lives or circumstances to be unlike anyone else’s, so that they can insist on feeling as if it’s too hard for anyone to understand them.

Yet, at the root of that thought that keeps being repeated for them “I’m unlike any other so it’s too hard for anyone to understand me” is a screaming, crying human begging the world to see and understand them.

I’ve witnessed time and time again people putting up an arm, like a sword, to keep people from getting closer, to keep people from being able to truly see the real person beneath the armor. Many people do this, my friends do this, shit i do this.

I see this as a form of self-destruction, self-sabotage, self-mutilation and self-harm. But I don’t see this as WRONG, i see this as HUMAN and i see it as necessary. Fear convinces us that we are alone, that we are too far out for anyone to understand us, and that it’s better to just keep to ourselves and keep our shit to ourselves.

If you keep to yourself (keep your armor on) you don’t get your shit (your blood) on anybody and nobody gets their shit on you. Except that’s not true. Your shit IS you. It surrounds you. It exudes from you. It gets on everything you touch and seeps into every space you occupy.

If you think it’s better to keep your shit to yourself so that it doesn’t affect other people, you are delusional. Your shit is already affecting other people. YOU affect other people. Until your death, you can’t escape the world or it’s people. No matter how much you keep to yourself, know that your skin does not contain the mess within. You spill out into the world and onto people whether you mean to or not.

Take responsibility for your shit and everything you are going through. Work to heal your wounds by letting them breathe, by sharing your battle stories, by letting people see the real wounded human that you are. We cannot learn to understand the armored soldier who’s ready to fight. We can’t see his face, to see the pain. We never see his eyes, therefore we never see his soul.

The ironic thing about keeping our swords up, and our armor on is that the weight gets exhausting, the wounds stay wrapped up tight festering and the arm holding the sword has no strength left to wield it. Sure the armor keeps you together and the sword protects you from people getting too close but now you are weak, and you can barely defend yourself.

Taking off the armor is like setting down a weight, plus it lets the wounds breathe and heal. Putting our swords down enables us to take a break, to gain some strength back, and to use the arm for other things—like reaching out, instead of keeping everyone out.

My writing all of this started by acknowledging that people all around me are facing some tough situations. Challenging, tough situations stress us, wound us, and reveal the deepest, darkest things within us. Fear and pain thrive in stress, in wounds, and in darkness. It’s the tough and challenging times that bring up the toughest, most challenging things that exist inside us.

So what the cuss do you do when the tough and challenging time is upon you? You accept it. You accept that you are scared, that you are wounded and in pain. The only other thing to do is, deny it, suit up in your armor, and pick up your sword. But why do that? Are you going into battle?

You can battle through this or you can live through this. When you battle through, you fight. When you fight, you fight to win. But what does it mean for you to win here? You cannot win life.

You also cannot win against fear or pain because they are not your contenders. Fear and pain are your teachers. Rather than battle through, live through this and learn from each and every teacher that appears along the way.

Whether you win this battle or live through this hard time, you will not get out of being human alive. And when you die, you go alone, with all that stuff you’ve kept inside you. You can go with fear and pain scaring you all the way to death, or go with love and acceptance for the life you lived and learned from.