“It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.” This is a quote from Emiliano Zapata, but I heard it first attributed to Che Guevara. And it is Che, his life, how he lived it, and how much that quote means to me that I thought of first and what my thoughts will always come back to. So much for Zapata.

That quote is about fighting. Not just fighting for a group, or fighting for a cause. It is fighting against anything and anyone that dares to try and destroy you. It is fighting until you win, even if that victory never comes. Fight for freedom, fight for the right to live and exist, fight for the right to matter. I fight. I fight to matter, I fight to exist as I am. I fight against everyone who would have me change, to be more socially acceptable. I fight for my right to stare down the darkness others choose to ignore and to throw that darkness into their faces.

My mind is always moving, shifting. I used to say it was like a controlled A.D.D. Now I have a better metaphor. My mind is a shark. It is focused, a predator. It shifts, always looking for the next target. But like a shark, it cannot stop. Because when it stops it dies. This isn’t just me going out on a limb to extend a metaphor to the bitter end. This is me realizing the darkest moments of my life were when I would dwell on something. When my mind would stop moving, not to devour, not to enjoy, just to dwell. I stayed still so long darkness almost swallowed me. Depression, suicide, hating the world. It may be a teenage cliché but I was no teenager. I was 12. But I fought. I won. Now I can look at that darkness, all those things people don’t like to admit exist. Sadly, I live in reality, because I see both sides. But I fight to stay on that razor’s edge, that ethereal in between. I dance on that edge.

No one is promised tomorrow. No one is even promised more then what they have right now. We only know death is promised to take each of us one day, one way or another. The only way to be sure of how you leave, to make sure you leave not with a whimper but a bang is to never be on your knees. Even when life throws all its garbage at you. Even when there is no hope. Even when death is facing you and nothing in your last moments can change your fate, you stand, you fight. Many people will say they live like this, that they live by this, but until that moment comes, no one really knows. It is only in those rare moments when we are left with nothing that we can see who we really are. We don’t have time to wear a mask, to make up a lie and play a part. We only have time to show the hearts we hide on our sleeves.

Now I may have thick glasses but I plan on dying with my eyes open. I plan on looking death in the eye. I plan on dying fighting. I plan on never breaking, on never compromising who I am for someone trying to break me. Yeah, I plan.


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