Defeat

Defeat: noun 1. An unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest 2. The feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals.

What can you do when you have been defeated? Do you sit back and accept your fate? Do you fight back and try to conquer your foes? Do you give in and move on? Do you uproot and start over? Are you allowed to be stubborn and refuse to be defeated? What are the rules of defeat? And how can I change them?

There is this feeling that washes over you, like a dark cloud hovering over your head, a feeling of frustration, low self-worth, and dejection. When you lose a game, you have been defeated. It isn’t that bad because it is just a game. Just two people moving pieces around a board. But the game I’ve lost is an important part of my life. Those dastardly foes – reality, politics, and ego – have thwarted me. They have won this round, unfortunately that puts me in a bit of a predicament. Human nature tells me that when pushed to the brink, our fight or flight instincts kick in. But what if they are both equal forces pulling you in two different directions? What if you can’t decide to fight or flee? What happens when you are paralyzed by the choice? Do you just get eaten by the angry bear, trampled by the wildebeest herd, or worse even slowly poisoned by a snake?

I was raised to fight back, to not accept defeat. In fact there was a magnet on our fridge that read “Failure is not an option.” We got that when we visited NASA in Houston. Every day when I opened that freezer to get some extremely fattening ice cream, I was reminded that failure was to be removed from my vocabulary.

But I haven’t failed. I’ve done everything possible to win the game. Is it possible that someone just played the game better than me? Or perhaps we are playing two separate games parallel to one another. You can’t fail when you refuse to play the game.

I refuse to give up. I will not accept defeat.

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