Becky Says...

June 11, 2001

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The Poem

Dammit. I am now apparently going to have to go on a one-woman campaign to stop people from associating Henley's "Invictus" only with Timothy McVeigh.

It's my favorite poem. I don't say that lightly, either; I've come across a lot of poetry in my time, and written some myself. But that one I learned in eighth grade, and have loved all these years.

That poem told me that I could do anything I wanted to---that I could rise above anyone who taunted me, or tried to make me feel left out and unwanted. I could rule my own life.

It did not tell me I could go blow up a building. It did not lead me to believe that anything negative was an appropriate means to reach my goals. It did reiterate that there was Bad Stuff in the world, but reminded me that I could get past that, with my own "unconquerable soul."

In some of the darkest days of my teen years, that poem looped through my mind. It perhaps kept me from doing stupid things, or things that would have caused pain to me or others. It told me that in the end, I was unconquerable so long as I didn't let the bastards get me down (too much).

It gave me comfort, and reinforced hope.

These days, it helps me remember that it's okay for me to have my own business. It helps me remember my life is important in the grand scheme of things. It reminds me I have a life.

So please, people, think of positive things when you hear that poem. Think of a miserably unhappy kid who did not kill anyone. Think of an adult who votes at the ballot box instead of with a truckful of explosives.

Think of all the lives lived with courage, not with bluster.

Text © copyright 2000-2001 Becky