Monday, June 22, 2015

I Don't Give Up

I want to give up every day. I want to give up on life, on love, on happiness, on dreams, on myself, on the humiliation of being beaten now over 30 times in a row at chess by the same person. Every day. But, I can’t. I won’t. I want to, but I won’t. I don’t give up.

I’ve had people tell me all my life they believed in me, but they lied. As I tried to avoid watching everyone I know honoring their fathers and celebrating with their families yesterday, I hid among the aliens on my XBoxOne playing Destiny. Even there, I couldn’t escape facing another temptation to give up.

Casual readers can skip the next few paragraphs, because unless you play Destiny you might not understand the gravity of what I’m about to write. Those who do play, just shake your head and continue on.

Yesterday I woke up determined to have a good day. I’d been a little stressed lately, extremely lonely, and my melancholy had effected my playtime. However, I was buzzing with excitement at 7am ready to conquer the things I’d recently failed, namely the Level 35 Prison of Elders. By this time I have tried to beat Skolas five times and have failed every time. Yet, ALL my friends have fought on to victory, claimed their banners, received their rewards, and sent me their wishes of sympathy. Some tried desperately to help me out, but I still failed to claim the victory. Most of them, now complete with their goals on Destiny moved onto The Elder Scrolls and left me behind - still incomplete, still failing to meet my goals, still battling the desire to give up – every day.

By 9 am, after cooking my son breakfast, doing a few light chores, and making sure I would be comfortable, I jumped onto Destiny ready to win – no matter how long it took. I wasn’t giving up.

By 3:30 pm, after zipping through the first five levels and then facing Skolas again - and again - and again - and again - and again - and again (get the picture), the trio I was with decided to take a little break, get something to eat, and re-energize to continue our fight. We tried strategy after strategy, each time getting closer and closer, yet not quite enough to bring the beast down. We were hopeful we would finish soon, yet determined we’d stick it out, no matter how long it took. We were nearly 6 hours in already, too much was already invested to stop now.

I stayed in airlock (This is the waiting station at Skolas. We couldn’t log off. Logging off would mean we’d have to start all over and go through 5 levels again just to get to the point to battle Skolas), and kept moving around to keep from lagging out, talking with my friend in game chat, and just chillin’ until our third party returned. However, the universe had other plans for me. My friend and I were booted from the fire team and sent to orbit. Thank you Destiny servers – you can kiss my ass! Our third player didn’t return in time, and due to inactivity (he was away from his controller) was kicked to orbit too. Bottom line: we lost our place, our check point.

I was devastated. 6 hours. I’d put in six excruciating hours. My wrists hurt, my fingers were stiff, my shoulders ached from six hours of intense battle. Now my stomach hurt. I mean, it literally hurt like someone punched me really hard. I left the party chat, stepped away from my game, and didn’t even make it to my bed before the tears of frustration began to spill down my face. I’d failed… again… for the 6th time… after 6 hour. I tried to reach out to a friend for encouragement, but got a pithy remark reminding me how fast he completed the challenge, and advised I wait till the new DLC comes out, level up, and then go back to beat Skolas - meaning I was a shit player and couldn’t do it at my current level, which happens to be the highest level in the game. He wouldn’t even play with me to try again. I don’t blame him, who’d want to play with someone who’s tried and failed six time already?

I felt like shit. I felt like giving up. I felt like the weight of the world, the weight of the stress that’d been gnawing at me for days, eating me from the inside out, finally came flooding out. Why had I been stressed? Why had I been so intense? Why did I walk around with this huge knot in my throat? As I lay on my bed and stared at the sunlight beaming down on a branch just outside my window, I let the thoughts I’d been trying to suppress rush to the forefront of my mind. I was alone. I had no father to celebrate, to honor. I had no family that needed me anymore. I had just spent two days with some of my kids – and their presence (which I loved more than I can ever say) reminded me just how lonely and isolated I’d become, and it was of my own making. I’d pushed everyone out of my life, except my kids.

I thought I was going to die. I’d been diagnosed with cancer. But, I didn’t give up fighting, and I beat death, and now I’m forced to face the shattered mess I’d made of my life. I realized I had surrounded myself with people that couldn’t disappoint or hurt me by giving up on me – because that’s what had happened. All the people I pushed out of my life, that I had loved and thought loved me too – had given up on me. They let me walk away, alone. They didn’t fight for me. I fought alone. They just left.

Fuck them! Fuck every single one of them. I don’t need them. Clearly the last few years have proved that. I didn’t give up on me. I might have created a mess, have to start all over in a lot of things, but I didn’t give up. I get up every day and I fight for my life, for my happiness, for my health, for my passions, for my dreams, for my heart. Some days are harder than others, and some days I fall back a few steps, but some days I take off running. I love, even when I know I’m not loved in return.

I wiped my tears, washed my face, grabbed a bottle of water, and jumped on LFG and found me two players. I took control, led the battle, and kicked Skolas’ ass in less than 50 minutes. Don’t ever tell me to give up!

I - don’t - give – up! I also don’t hang onto what’s given up on me.

I will eventually conquer the things that are important in my life, or I will die trying. I will someday find someone who will fight for me as much as I fight for myself. Someday I will call out, “Check Mate, Bitches!”

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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