November 06, 2013

Attrition

Attrition by Merriam-Webster:

Full Definition of ATTRITION

1
[Middle English attricioun, from Medieval Latin attrition-, attritio, from Latin] :  sorrow for one's sins that arises from amotive other than that of the love of God
2
:  the act of rubbing together :  frictionalso :  the act of wearing or grinding down by friction
3
:  the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack <a war of attrition>
4
:  a reduction in numbers usually as a result of resignation, retirement, or death <a company with a high rate ofattrition>

There was a war going on in my life for years.  There was an attempt to wear me down and weaken me.  There were days I couldn't look in the mirror, not because I'd gained too much weight or started to age, but because I hated who looked back at me.  I didn't want to be me for a long long time.  That war is over.  There is no 38th parallel, no scalping of the leader, no...there is simply the one party walking away.  Not retreating, not running, just saying, "I'm finished here, I have no further business in this war."  I have successfully laid down my weapon and moved on.

This in no means detracts from the fact that I am still Warrior.  I will still do what needs to be done to defend myself, my family, and those who need defending.  In this particular sense I'm simply finished being raged upon.

You see, when you remove someones power over you, they begin to wither.  It doesn't matter how much power they may possess over anyone else, they still lose a little bit.  You give others power by allowing them to tear at you, make you angry or sad, make you believe you are something you are not.  When their reality becomes your own, you lose bits of yourself to them.  Many many people have the notion that they are defined by whomever they are closest to.  If your spouse is a cynic in need of some anger management then you become cynical or angry yourself.  If your closest friends are all bible thumpers or atheists then you tend to lean toward their ways of thinking, unless you have a very firm grasp on who you are and wish to be.  This typically doesn't happen in the first 20 years of life but it does eventually happen.  When it does it's a simple process of removing the negative from your life, walking away from the battle so to speak.  Sometimes they do it for you because they begin to see that you are not who they need you to be and you're no longer going to conform.



I've been walking down this path for a long while now, friends falling off left and right, new friends falling into step beside me.  I've learned I am not defined by those who walk with me, just as they are not defined by me.  So someone chooses to drop me off their Facebull page, OK no big deal, it's the internet.  It's not the end all-be all to life or friendship.  If that is someones definition of togetherness...well...OK then, I guess it just wasn't meant to be.  Someone who has wronged me in the past decides to make good on it, that's cool, as long as the making good is for the right reasons.  You can't offer up empty apologies that are as shallow as the one making said apology.  You can't ask for atonement and mix up the meaning with the word attrition.  Or maybe you can if deep down it's just a Freudian slip anyway.  The truth always outs itself no matter how hard someone tries to bury it.  And the word on the street is, the truth shall set you free.

But seriously, as my friends from back in the day would put it: either come correct, or don't come over here at all.  If your method of truce is totally self serving, why bother?  Why offer up yet another charade and disguise it as a genuine effort?  Perhaps I'm being too harsh, perhaps that's the best one can do.  There is such an idea that the best anyone can do is still not good enough.  C students don't get into nursing school, D history majors don't get a juris doctor, and the lazy bird does not get the worm!

"We're hired to do a job, to fill a role.
If we're hired to mop floors... we have to mop the floors.
If we have one leg, and we're hired to mop the floors, we still have to mop the friggin floors.
Do your job, no matter what you think your handicap is... or get out of the way for someone who can."  
Captain James T. Kirk

If your A game is not up to par, be it on a ball field, in a relationship, wherever, you do the things to make your A game better.  Make the effort to do something differently, do something more, do less, whatever it takes.  Sitting back for years on end saying that your actions have been controlled the entire time by someone or something else is the cowards way out of life.  Anyone past the age of 7 that refuses to take full responsibility for their actions is a baby, anyone past the age of 17 is a patsy.  Maintaining the war in an effort to constantly prove that you are the best while not putting forth more than modest effort is a an act in futility.  You might be great at waging that war, but you are not great at the thing you think you're fighting for.  Sometimes you have to look in the mirror and say, "hey, I'm kind of bad at this, wonder what I can do to make it better and stop trying to force it...."

In the end, when it all comes down, the smoke clears and the guns are lowered, take stock.  What did you gain fighting that hard?  Exactly what did you get?  Did you wear that person down to the nub you wanted?  Or did you just wear yourself out trying?  The hardest battles are within the self.  When you start projecting that battle onto others, especially those closest to you, guess what....you might find someone who pushes back.  S/he might push back so hard that you lose your footing and have to find a way to stand back up without help.  Wouldn't have just been easier to walk away or try to put more effort into your A game?  

Last lesson:  Never underestimate you opponent. Period.





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