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The Good Fight

November 11, 2009
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While I was in college I took a class called Folk and Fairy Tale. It was one of the best classes I have ever had. In a lot of the stories about love the men had to overcome an obstacle or win a battle to win the woman’s affections so that the couple could be together.

He would slay the dragon, rescue the princess, vanquish the evil queen or eliminate some mysterious curse to be with her.

I think this is a good metaphor for what really happens when two people get together. And I know there are a lot of ways a man will have to fight for me. Obviously there is no dragon guarding my door. In fact, my dad isn’t even very protective. But I do have a past and hang-ups just like everyone else. I have insecurities and bad habits.

And, to be with me, a man will have to win me. He will have to win me away from those things (and probably more that I’m unaware of). He will have to fight me for me. He will have to convince me that it is worth all the work and effort and really show that he is up to the task of being my partner.

I was talking to my friend Jerrod one night and relationships came up. I told him one of my epic tales of loss — about the boy whose dad decided I wasn’t good enough for him and subsequently made my life hell even after his son dumped me. Jerrod was sufficiently sympathetic.

“That’s awful, Crystal,” he said.

“Actually, I think it was lucky in a way. Of course, it sucked the way it turned out, but how often do you really get a chance to fight for the person you are with?” I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean he could have actually overcome an obstacle to be with me,” I said. “It was really a great opportunity. Because when you fight for something and win, the thing you fought for becomes more valuable.”

And really, it’s always a fight. But usually the dragons you have to slay are more reticent and subversive. Things like laziness and boredom; or the past. But in the case of the meddling dad the stakes and the sides were really well-defined.

He would have had to fight his dad to be with me.

And, he didn’t fight for me.

In the end he married the girl his father had chosen for him. And, for all I know they are incredibly happy with their two children (one boy and one girl) living the life his father had planned for all of them.

The thing is, like I said, in every relationship you have to fight for it to work. And I think as Americans we are a little lazy about the fight.

To slay the dragons and rescue the princess you have to be incredibly self aware. And so does the person you are with. You have to be able to identify the problems and then overcome them…before it’s too late.

Some of the dragons in my relationships have been obvious at the time, but most of them I only identified in hindsight. As I look back over my relationships each man was presented with an obstacle to overcome in order to be with me and each folded at the prospect.

Anger

Pain

Shame

Narcissism

Family interference

A lost dream

Indecision

Lack of ambition

Depression

Unemployment

Laziness

Fear

I could go on, but the point is, none of the men fought for me…or even for themselves really. And, in each case, I think it was an incredibly sad, missed opportunity. Whether we had ended up together or not, I think the men should have fought the fight, because the fight wasn’t just about me.

They weren’t all my dragons. And the dragons have not been slain. Which means…the dragons will persist.

I, on the other hand, have blood on my sword. But I know there are more fights ahead—especially for me and those who try to love me. As a result of my experiences, I truly believe that things are worth what they cost, and I think the Universe has been careful to make me expensive.

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