I’ve gone by monikers besides my legal name. Nicknames, pet names, variations of my legal name, and so on. I’ve referred to myself as woman, victim, chick, survivor, girl, fighter, bitch, lady, warrior…
Warrior. I like that. It fits. It feels right.
I may not always win, but dammit I always get up. Bruised, bloodied, armor dented, beaten….I still get the fuck up. Shit happens and, like a cat, I twist around so I can land on my feet.
And I remember how I thought of myself when I was younger; probably in my early teens…
Those years were difficult. Home was not a safe haven. I had an abusive parent, and had to protect myself as much as I could. My survival tactic was to visualize myself as the guardian of a fortress. A tall, strong, stone fortress with numerous impenetrable walls. I guarded this fortress dressed head to toe in chain mail. Why chain mail and not actual armor? My understanding was if there was a chink in the chain mail, I could repair just that piece while leaving the rest of myself protected. If a full suit of armor was damaged, I’d have to remove a large piece for repair, leaving me too vulnerable. I don’t know how accurate this thought was-but it made sense to me at the time.
I’m an adult now, free from the abusive parent…but I still visualize myself as that warrior, that guardian of the fortress, dressed in chain mail. Wielding a sword and shield, ready to slay whatever dragon crosses my path.
I am a goddamn warrior. And I will keep getting up.