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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Person I Admire

I've always had trouble accepting help.  We don't need to go into the psychosexual justifications for that now, though I'm sure it was a function of various elements of my upbringing.  I was just always the sort of person who would rather suffer through on my own than ask for anything from anybody.  One of the hardest parts for me of my military service was accepting the absolute necessity of accepting help from others, relying on others, depending on essentially complete strangers.

I can still recall with crystal clarity lying flat on my back in full gear when a battle buddy reached out a hand to help me up.  My natural instinct was to roll over, force myself to my knees, and find my way up from there without anybody's help.  But I took his hand - a literal helping hand - and was on my feet in an instant.  It always stuck in my memory because, though tiny, it was quite symbolic for me.

Let me tell you a story about a person I admire.  I don't often do this - in fact, I'm not certain I've ever done this - but I thought it might not be a terrible idea.  A sort of an anonymous PROFILES IN COURAGE entry, if you will.

This person was (I believe) a lot like me.  Refused to take help.  Didn't want anyone to see her vulnerable.  As a result, she got stuck in a very bad situation.  I've been in one or two bad situations in my life, and I wouldn't wish something like that on my worst enemy.  Well, maybe my worst enemy, but I digress.

This person decided enough was enough.  She picked up her whole life, packed it into three pieces of luggage, and got on a bus.  She'd never been on a bus before.  Never been outside of an XYZ radius of her home before.  And with nothing but three bags, a bus ticket, and the sheer grit of a fighter, moved across the country.

"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
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
'I am leaving, I am leaving.'
But the fighter still remains..."

I don't think I could do that.  I still don't think I could do that.  You know, not to make things political, but there's been a lot of talk on Facebook and social media these days about what constitutes "courage."  There are people who would like you to believe that only a man being shot at in a war is capable of courage.  And that is a kind of courage, and a tough kind of courage, and a very cinematic kind of courage, and the kind that lends itself to being used as an example.

But as a man who's been shot at in a war, I'm here to tell you that sometimes courage isn't sexy.  Sometimes it doesn't lend itself to being made into a movie starring John Wayne.  Sometimes the struggle is completely invisible.  Sometimes it's just waking up in the morning, or putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes it's a drama that doesn't seem like a big deal when you're on the outside of it.  Sometimes it's just being who you are.  And sometimes it's discovering where you belong.  And for that I admire my friend and anyone who can be courageous in that way.  That's a courage I don't have.  Here's to you!

Two fight songs in one post?  Yeah, that's right.  You got two fight songs in one post.

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