Let me introduce you to Vlad. I think this is a powerful post with an important message .
Please give him a warm welcome as he is digging deep within to share some of his life with you today.
In the clearing stands a boxer,
and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev’ry glove that laid him down or cut him
‘Til he cried out,
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving,”
but the fighter still remains.
– From “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel
This is possibly my favourite lyric of all time, from one of my favourite songs of all time. It is followed by a powerful refrain that always makes me shut my eyes and just feel. This lyric is not only visually stimulating and heartbreaking, it is an incredible metaphor for fighting through all that life throws at you. It often creates a lump in my throat.
In My Life
Life has thrown me two suicides (one a very close friend, the other a family member), a tragic death in the family, and being semi-publicly kink-shamed by my exwife in a very successful process to deflect attention away from her affair. People love judging kink far more than they love judging affairs. It was a hard lesson to learn.
During the first of these events – a suicide – I stood up to the challenge of holding the families together; of being the strong one. The comforter. That set the precedence for the subsequent deaths; strong ‘Uncle Vlad’ being there. It doesn’t mean I didn’t feel all those experiences as deeply as everyone else. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what it means.
I have always viewed those three deaths as vicious left hooks delivered by life’s Mike Tyson. Knocked me on my arse. Yet…sometimes you just have to get off the mat, dust yourself off, then look life right in the eye and say “Fuck You”. Accept one truth: that you have to let the pain go, and if you don’t you will lose the long game. Happiness becomes elusive as depression takes hold.
The kink-shaming event was, believe it or not, the worst thing I have ever experienced. The repercussions lasted many years (in fact – even to this very day, thirty years later), and brought me right to the very edge. I am ever thankful that when I looked over the edge, I didn’t like the view. I accept that life almost gave me a TKO, but it hasn’t yet.
The fighter still remains.
At one time or another, almost all of us have experienced anger, shame, hurt and pain. It can pull a person into a pit of mud and it can keep a person there if they are not careful. However, even with help, at the end of the day it all depends on perseverance, inner strength, and staying true to yourself and your beliefs. Fighting on while ignoring every scar in your mind, body and/or soul.
The message is pure and simple:
Leave the pain behind, but always keep the fighter.
Header image – copyright Vlad Lioncourt.
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This post has been linked to the two memes below as well as Music as Muse.