Bloody, broken, but unbowed

I want to say something to you. I want to say something to my friends. I want to say something to anyone who needs to hear it. 

If you are tired, it can be good. It can be because you have worked hard. If you are dejected, it can be good. It can be because you aren’t satisfied with the status quo and want more out of life. If you are sad, it can be good. It can be because you know the world should be better and it upsets you because it isn’t. 

You don’t have to be happy all the time. You don’t have to be happy most of the time. That’s a great lie fed to us by social media and pharmaceutical companies. Always being happy makes people complacent. It makes people stop working. It makes people stop being the best they can be.

One of the best examples of being happy killing drive is the story of the average heavyweight champion. Boxing is hard. It’s tough. It’s easier to eat ice cream and watch Netflix. It’s called hunger but not for Rocky Road. Hunger makes you fight. It pushes you to succeed. When you lose that hunger, you lose that drive and then you lose that fight. 

You can feel the system is rigged. You can feel the red tape will only tie you up and drown you in a sea of paperwork and ink. It’s easier to give up. It’s  easier to sell your soul to the company store. To die a little more each day under the fluorescent lights of drone and drudgery and to exist on a diet of sugar and Amazon and alternating between doom scrolling and watching cat videos on TikTok. 

It is what it is. It can’t be stopped. The machine is too big. The entire modern world is designed to make you fat and complacent and to feel bad if you feel bad. Social media algorithms glorifying stupidity in an effort to normalize the behavior. To normalize bafoonery and crash what it means to be independent, a free thinker, an entrepreneur, a thinker, a risk taker. 

Be a drone. “But Brawndo’s got what plants crave. It’s got electrolytes.” 

The machine can’t be stopped. No. But your part in it can be.

One of my favorite poems is Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul

No matter what happens in your life, do not stop fighting. Do not let the cruel and the ignorant break your spirit. Do not let the litigious make you afraid of doing what is right. Do not let the world change who you are.

Believe. Be proud. Be tired. It’s ok. 

Do not bow your head. Do not bow to the mobs. Do not bow to the politicians. Do not bow to the parasites. 

Take risks. Tell someone you love them. Do something for passion and not money. 

Make yourself the right kind of tired. Because that kind of tired means you are making a difference even if you feel like you aren’t. Even if it’s growing a single plot of grass in the desert of the real world. To change one life is to change the world.

That’s all I wanted to tell you. I’m going to go to bed now.

I’m tired. 

And it feels good.  

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He had been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)


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