Dammit, I feel the taste of blood in my mouth, a bland coppery taste as I hit the cold hard floor for the umpteenth time. He’s been knocking me around for so long now, I can’t even tell how much time has passed. He’s the most awful, greedy, selfish and narcissistic enemy I will ever face and I’m not sure if I’m up to it. I need to stand up, though, if I don’t, I’m finished. He lashes another kick to my side and I swear I hear my ribs crack under the pressure of his foot. He walks slowly across the length of my body and stops near my face, he looks down on me and smiles in that mischievous way of his. He raises his right leg and brings it down in an attempt to stomp my face into a bloody pulp. I roll at the last second, and then—

True strength can only be achieved by overcoming one’s self

That was said some 1500 years ago, a truth that still applies to us today. Upon my first encounter with this quote, I looked at it skeptically, I mean, why and how could you overcome yourself? And if you overcame yourself, then what would you be after?

But perhaps, I thought after, he didn’t mean it quite literally. We live in a world with all sorts of evil and vices and it’s easy, even natural for some to give in to the deep dark recesses of ourselves that indulge in these depravities. But there’s another part of us, the sometimes more silent one, that rages against this, the side that pushes us towards the path of the light.

This quote, however, seems to be based on the premise that the most natural side of us, is the selfish, greedy and narcissistic one. Working better with people is one of the aspects of myself that I’ve been trying to work on. When I’m faced with a difficult person or situation, my first reaction is to lash out and find someone to blame so I can lash out some more. But deep inside, I know that it won’t get me anywhere and yet I find myself by default, acting like Anger from Inside Out (which, by the way, was a solid animation). On some good days, though, I find myself doing the opposite, I take a step back from the situation and lash out against the part of me that wants to lash out.

So, are human beings naturally good or is our goodness a simple side effect of not wanting to do bad? Whatever the answer is, we as individuals seem to be split in two and we’re locked in a constant battle for supremacy over the whole being. So maybe the writer was trying to say that for us to be truly strong, and have complete control over ourselves, we must continuously overcome ourselves because we’re always going to have that side of us that wants to give in and that’s why we must keep struggling. “A house divided cannot stand,” is a popular quote that seems to apply to us too. You can’t be strong on the outside, if you’re divided on the inside.

I spit my blood diluted saliva unto the ground, I think I spat a tooth out too, but I’m past caring, that’s not what’s important. I wipe my mouth with the back of my right hand—the only hand I have now that isn’t broken. I walk to my fallen opponent who is a broken husk at this stage, with a calm demeanour. We fought for a long time but I finally won. I’m supposed to feel triumph but all I can feel is anticipation. His left leg twitches, an almost imperceptible movement, but I see it. My opponent may be fallen but our fight continues.

And maybe one day, Anthony will go down. But for now—I tighten the bandages wrapped around my knuckles— I’ll just keep fighting.

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