Being A Fighter Is Not A Choice
Just what does it mean to be a fighter? Is it reserved for the athletes who trade blows in an arena? Is it for the strutting person on the sidewalk, ready to take down anyone who crosses them? The answer: No and no. While all words have some level of concrete definition, this is one that is pliable and modifiable with context. As a constant, though, most definitions portray a fighter as one who overcomes, often actively taking on a challenge before them.
Personally, being a fighter entails resilience and perseverance, such that we take on battles we know we have a good chance of losing, and find determination in a goal and a confidence in personal strength.
Next question: Is everybody a fighter? I think, in at least some capacity, yes. I believe everybody “has fight in them,” at least a little. In some it is more overt, while it is more repressive in others, and it needs to be brought out in them. We sit in sports, work, and other daily aspects of life and competition. It is commonly that “edge” that a person or team needs to push themselves to victory. Then there are those who are, as a whole, fighters. People who, because of one reason are another, live and breath to overcome.
They are not born, though some might disagree. They are bred by circumstance and outlook; by action and reaction. I am one of these people. Through poverty, illness, boxing, and bullying, I have found myself beating odds that even I didn’t always think I would defeat. But here’s what separates a fighter from someone who has fight in them:
Fighters are made by overcoming a battle that is more than the difference between win or lose. To a fighter, that difference can be between lifelong failure or success, comfort or pain – even life or death- as it was for me. The strongest fighters in this world are not fighters by choice. To them, being a fighter is no longer an option, and the recognition of that often times sparks the flame that people get that take them from having fight in them to be being a fighter.
When my Crohn’s graduated to worsening conditions, I didn’t find myself with the opportunity to rest. The stakes were not low enough to “get ’em next time”. In those moments, with those symptoms, it didn’t take long to recognize that my opponent reached far deeper into my heart than my typically gloved opponent in the boxing ring. I, in part, was my own opponent, and I, with the odds out of my favor, was squaring up against an adversary who didn’t tire out, didn’t take breaks, and didn’t take it easy. It was either evolve or die. Sometimes it got to the point where I wished for the latter. But, with contemplation, my mind consistently realigned itself to overcome. I didn’t choose to be a fighter. I chose to live.
As many can observe and attest to, once a person transpires into a fighter, that is who they are. Their learned discipline and lifestyle soon becomes applicable and noticeable in everything they take on, from taking a test to hiking a mountain. Concurrently, without something to fight for, the fighter becomes frazzled. They learn to thrive and make the most progress when engaging in personal battles, regardless of whether or not they wish they had to battle at all. Some, like myself, find belonging and complacency in the fight, finding purpose in overcoming odds. That’s just who we are, for all of the aforementioned reasons.
They who are fighters are not often to be envied, despite glory and attention that is found with their feats. Remember that our struggles are just that – struggles. They are not always easy, they are not always romantic, and they are never battles that you yourself would wish you had. Glory and attention will never be fulfilling enough to erase the scars we acquire in our fights.
But no matter what your battle is, remember that the fight is always worth the goal. Remember that the very act of taking on the struggle qualifies you as strong enough to overcome it.
But, most of all, remember that you don’t have to fight your battles alone.