Battle Fatigue

Activism of any kind is exhausting. Being the flea biting, the would-be slayer, the acceptor of hopeless mission, the one who journeys again and again into the lion’s den, will drain away the very stuff that sent you down this path in the first place.

If we look at the on going struggle as warriors, why shouldn’t we tire from battle? Traditionally those that chose warrior as a profession did so not just because it appeals to a need to do good, to protect those that cannot protect themselves, and a baser instinct to apply the force within ourselves to strike at those that do wrong, it was understood that this dangerous work had advantages. The righteous joy taken in the defeat of an enemy, the very things which they defended spread out for the taking, a time to celebrate with comrades all glorious in triumph, and the returning home as subject of honor and praise. Without these things, the warrior life can be a grim one.

When we must band together as guerrillas, few in number, poorly equipped, fighting an enemy so large to be beyond comprehension even by those who are part of it, or be the even more foolhardy one who goes alone, our victories, slight as they are, give us no plunder, no salt, no gold, only the celebration of our own band of fools. Is it any wonder that we tire? Should we not feel we are only receiving half measure of our commission?

There is no wonder in that we tire, the constant battle leaves no time for laurels. We must settle for our scars and scraps. But through that, are we not the truest of warriors? Those that sign on for the fight alone express the purest, most divine, of our guild. And what shall we do when we tire? Return to the fields, the dwellings, the people we defend and advance, and take comfort in them, knowing they surely need us.

We must find satisfaction, if not glory.



4 thoughts on “Battle Fatigue

    • I really thank you for this, because it resonates so completely. I used to say to my students that I may not see the end of the struggle in my lifetime, but in no way does it make the struggle invalid; quite the contrary. Now that in many ways the struggle seems to be moving into an active transitional phase, there is an impatience to get to the other side of it. Here I am reminded of the virtues attributed to your “warrior” in Arabic: “steadfastness” and “patience”; as well as the concept that “life is resistance”. in this regard, we are all united in this fight against the various oppressions and injustices that leave us “battle fatigued”, and it is this union that sustains us going forward. For it is often easy to forget that when we lean forward into the battle, we do so knowing that there are others behind us supporting and protecting us. We need likewise remember that when we lean backward—out of said fatigue, or sadness, or desperation—there are, yet again, others behind us, supporting and protecting us. And for this I am truly grateful.

  1. Well put, Addie. Does it help for o e wounded warrior to tell another, “Well fought, Sister” on her own way to rest? If so, so said.

    • I so feel you on the battle fatigue. It is important for us as individuals to step back from it from time to time as it can be seriously draining, emotionally, spiritually, physically.

      After I’ve stepped back for a while and then re-engage, it’s nice to see that my comrades have remained in the fight and continue to throw stones at this Goliath. We are a mighty, tenacious force. We strike fear in the baby pimps…

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