Friday, May 18, 2012

My Total Truths: #2 Cut Your Losses

My Total Truths is a series based on my truths; a list of things that I know to be true and have served as mini life lessons in my experience. 

# 2 Cut Your Losses

"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."

                                        - Simon & Garfunkel
                                         "The Boxer"

This isn’t something I say lightly.

I am a fighter and a competitor and, to the core, fighters and competitors don’t believe in losses because a loss equals failure and failure is not an option. But in the past year, such immense milestones transformed my life that it inevitably made me see many things that I used to see as truths in a different light. And now, cutting your losses seems more like a winner’s strategy than a loser’s outcome.

One of the first things I should mention is that cutting your losses is a lot like emotional warfare and is not easy, especially when those losses you are cutting are people. It requires you to eradicate someone from your life that at one time might have been important to you, central to you, valuable to you. It requires you to really evaluate and be honest about who is worth keeping, who still makes your life better or whose time in your life has passed and is only still around because they have always been. I don't say this from a place of anger - if anything I say this from the corner of sadness and healing. I have realized in the last year that not everyone will stay in your life and not everyone should. And sometimes, cutting these losses is a necessity.

Maybe it’s as trivially put as blaming it on my pregnancy hormones or maybe its born from the significant changes that happen to us in the midst of such huge milestones as leaving your country, a death in the family, getting married and becoming a mother, but for whatever reason, at the times in your life when you are supposed to realize who your friends are, I realized who they are not. 

It is incredibly sad to me that when I think back to the single most momentous and meaningful year of my life, all of those miraculous memories will also stand alongside great grief. Some grief, like losing my grandfather, was unavoidable. It is a loss that has to be cut because there is nothing that anyone of us can do to escape the inescapable. But some grief was inflicted by people of supreme trust and total love. It is a loss rooted in selfishness, causing nothing good and leaving only heartbreak. This kind of loss breaks down even the strongest of fighters. 

But great fighters, and remember we are all great fighters when we need to be, come back stronger. And I had the most important reason to fight, growing inside of me. Life threw me too many punches in 9 months. I tried ducking and dodging, weaving and dancing, swinging and breathing and resting, but in the end, the only way to win the prize that mattered most, a healthy baby, was to concede those other fights and cut my losses. 

I needed my rest for the only fight worth fighting. And with planning a wedding "stress" and moving from the country "stress" and sitting in the hospital with my grandfather "stress" and then losing my grandfather "stress," fighting people who should have been in my corner seemed - well - not worth it.

It wasn't always not worth it, it just became a fight not worth fighting any longer. 

Being a fighter doesn't just mean being strong. It means being smart enough to know when to let go of the things that are unhealthy, draining, and damaging. It means knowing that not every fight is worth winning and not everything is worth fighting for. 

But knowing that no matter what the outcome, you are always a fighter.

Photo Credit:
Rocky Balboa: Jase Lam

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