This is the last official blog post of “Fighting Dragons” before the annual post on Halloween that I put out every year to wrap it all up. I have grown in small steps and large leaps this year because I have faced my fears in the eyes and told them that they don’t matter. I have looked them up and down and I have waged a year long war against the things that terrify me. I have come out on top, with plenty of scars and new stories to tell.
The thing about life is that you can’t stop living it. No matter what happens. You can never give up on this. You and I are here for the long haul. Don’t let yourself give up. Dragons will come. Bad days will come. You can push through and come out of them on top. I promise you, you were made for much more than this.
When armies prepare for war, they don’t amble onto the battlefield with whatever was by their hands when the call arose. That just isn’t how things are done. They take time to truly prepare themselves. To train, to gather resources. To learn how to wield the tools they will need to conquer their enemies. They ration food and establish plans, then when a specific day comes, they go to war. Having been ready to go for some time. Each soldier patiently bating their breath. Some out of fear, some out of apprehension, and some… out of bloodlust.
Unfortunately for us, when the battle comes to ourselves we don’t have time to prepare. Some days, our enemies bear down on us at a moment’s notice and we must grab whatever we can to defend ourselves. Raw eggs, broom sticks, pipe wrenches. Whatever can wrap around our hands as we begin swinging errantly at the combating evil.
More unfortunate for us still, none of those things will work against dragons.
These foes, heralded in mythologies and folklore for their destructive and greedy prowess as if the two of them were linked hand in hand, are covered from head to tail in thick scales and will come at you from the skies, from beneath the waves, they will do anything they can to succeed. While I admire their tenacity, I have no respect for them.
I learned long ago that I should never bow to a creature whose entire life is shrouded in deceit and tyranny. So to that end, I began fighting back when these beasts came roaring after me.
Their fires burned my broom sticks, melted my wrenches and hard boiled all of my eggs.
But still I fought, bare knuckles bleeding as I tried with everything I could to cave in their rigid, spiny scales. To get the upper hand just one time, for one fleeting second, finding a moment where I could strike them in the heart and banish them from my life forever.
When that moment never came, I grew weary. I retreated. I found solace in the arms of friends and family who repeatedly told me…
“Everything is okay.”
No. No it isn’t. I was tired of being afraid. Tired of staying up every night because I feared those dumb lizards that were hiding in the corners of my bedroom or within the labyrinth of my mind. I could do nothing to stave them off and they grew more and more powerful, binding me to strings and swinging me around like their little puppet.
I had my maps. I knew where I needed to go. So any moment I had to break free, I ran as fast as I could to those who I loved and who loved me in return.
“Give me your strength.” I would beg them, through laughter or jokes. Through tears or through hugs. I would beg them every moment I was with them. “Help me.”
Without realizing it, they heard me. So they began to help. They would send me a message through the course of the day to inspire me. They would invite me over. They would show their concern for me, though it so frequently frustrated me. They were there. As they spent time roosting themselves within my home, I noticed one day that they would bring piles of iron into my den by day, while the dragons slept. When I would retire for the evening, they would hide them and work on that iron in secret.
One day, waking from a half slumber, my arms ripped and torn from the razor thin wire that had been stitched into my soul, I saw them standing before a forge within my home. Built around my fireplace, where I so frequently laid to warm my weary eyes. They left me precious jewels with their words. Metals to forge with their tight gripped hugs and handshakes. They took their leave so that I could forge a blade in secret. The dragons never knew.
When it was finished, I brought it to them and told them my intentions. That I was ready to fight and to kill the things I feared the most. They honored my ambitions and they helped me mold the long hunk of steel into something more fit for a wielder. They sharpened my blade as we sharpened our wits. They cooled the hot metal with soothing words as I came to them on fire with anger. They kept me warm at night with comforts, never truly knowing the extent of my battle.
I waited patiently, until the dragons returned to dance me around their bellies like a rag doll. I twitched and shuddered as the sight of them crept into my bones and chilled them to the core. I felt the heat of their throats as they breathed whispers of doubt into my mind. I panicked so many times.
But I had my blade with me.
I had finally had enough, one night, when I went to leave my home to meet up with a girl for a date and at my front door there was a dragon. Snickering, it whispered to me all the lies I once thought I had made up on my own. It told me how painful love could be. It told me that I was better to stay home and write because my books wouldn’t hurt me. It told me that I was wasting my time putting my heart on the line. It told me so many things, but the rest had fallen on deaf ears.
I had finally had enough.
I drew my blade and swung at the beast. Hewing a claw from his hand. He retreated quickly, never expecting defiance from me. His shock was not hidden on his face and I smiled. Blood freshly dripping from my sword as I left my home to have a wonderful evening.
The whole time, his friends and companions came to visit me. Whispering seeds of doubt into my ears as I spent the evening with someone I appreciated, someone I even loved.
Days passed and they became weeks, and the dragons had found a new fear of me. They knew I was no longer in the mood to be hassled by them. They knew I wouldn’t tolerate their jokes or their warm breath on my neck any longer. As the weeks passed I realized that the situation I was in was not what I thought it was, and I began to drift from the person I had previously been so attached to.
The dragons took that as a sign and lept towards me. Ripping into my heart as I listened to them joke and taunt and remind me why I don’t do those things.
But I didn’t listen.
For the first time in years, I had shut them out completely. I stayed silent for a few days, forcing them from my presence with my blade. Remembering that this life is a lot of things. It is ups. It is down. It is terrifying some days, but all of those things would be worth nothing if I didn’t walk away with an experience to share here.
So I hacked and slashed and went through this year murdering every dragon that dared to show his face at me. Till all that were left were the most powerful and fearsome of the lot of them. I am setting the sun in my world this weekend and staring them in their cold eyes.
I am not done fighting.
They know what is coming.
I will kill my fears before they kill me. Before they hamper me any longer, those dragons will no longer fly.
I promise you that. I will never stop fighting, for me, or for you.
If you can’t find your weapon, I will come to you and help you forge one of your very own. Something that you can lean on when you get weak. Something you can use to defend yourself. Something to inspire you and to remind you.
These dragons are simply moving sacks of blood. Those fears and illusions will taunt you forever and you should know…
Thank you for another amazing year. If you’d like to stay up to date on new projects I’m working on (Like my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel) you can follow me on Facebook + Twitter @alvatobiasbooks
Life is not meant to be awful, friends. Take up your swords and fight alongside me. I won’t leave you on the battlefield alone. We have a journey to take together.