Invictus is a poem that when I first read it, & each time I read it, it gives me chills. I cannot think of a greater depiction of the taking back of our power as survivors than this poem. To me it is a representation of myself in this stage of my life. These are the words:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley
Full Stop, I am very aware that the lines where he says I have not winced nor cried aloud as well as And yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find, me unafraid can not ring so true for some. I'll be honest, I have cried aloud to God, my therapist & I have been afraid. Yet I find tremendous strength in reading this poem. I find strength in the truth that my head is very bloody but here I stand with it unbowed. Tears stream down my face & leave a trail through my blood covered skin but my soul remains unconquered. I have been so covered up with darkness I could not see the light & yet I kept going even at a crawl. Through it all I have realized what the ending of this poem says...
It matters not how strait the gate- The gate of my life HAS NOT BEEN STRAIT. It has been riddled with obstacles to overcome. I was just telling my therapist that although I know how to do the hard things, I'm tired of having hard things to do. Yet I find a way to get through the gate & I will continue to find a way.
How charged with punishments the scroll- Punishments is not a word I would use with my current mindset but if I am 100% honest, I have felt like I was being punished for nothing. This emotion can also creep in on me when I hit some really hard stuff & can't change how I feel immediately. When I look at this though, it lets me know that no matter what comes my way...
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul- Isn't that beautiful? It ends with empowering the reader to know that they steer their ship, & not their abusers.
While I understand that it takes time & work to get to place where you feel this wholeheartedly, I want you to understand that you are very capable of getting there. You are worthy of all of the effort it takes to get there & as long as you keep pushing forward, setting boundaries, loving yourself, seeking safe others, building a safe space within yourself, & trying, YOU WILL GET THERE. So please, if you take nothing else away from this post, know that you are the master of your fate & the captain of your soul. Stand firm in what you need even if you tremble as you say it. Believe that you deserve good even if you have to say it 24 times a day. Because even when you don't know it, I do & I will support you as you learn it. I love every single one of you!
In support of your journey...