What are you?
This trip, as simple as the goal was when I began, has come to a point beyond what the beginning surmised. The subject matter, the comradeship, the experiences, has brought around an extra pound of resolve.
You are not what you say, you are what you are.
Simple as that.
I am what I am.
I do not regret my actions. I do not regret my ways.
I grow my beard because I want it. I grow my hair because I want it. I am solid. I am free. I am unnerved by the criminals and psychopaths and weak souls that I encountered because that is what I am.
I feel the truth and know the truth because that is what I feel. The reality of the world. The simple things are made whole by the knowing. By the instinct. By the lessons from my brothers and the history I have witnessed before me.
A man is a warrior, when a man is a man. He sees. He feels. He loves. He knows and, in the end, he does not waiver in front of a woman, an army or the very foundations of the Earth he rests his feet upon for if he does, he gives up his holy honor for lesser things.
I’ve looked in the face of a monster. I saw such a thing this night, a creature crawling with the guilt of an act she should be destroyed for, but our job was not to restrain her. Not to condemn her, but to, in our own way, to expose her reality. We did that, and not a single word of direct admission ever passed her lips. God did not grant us that, He granted us our intelligence to read between her lies, her steel conviction in her false words, and yet we all knew: she, us and the stars, of what she did many years ago and what may come later. Our microscopic cracks in the armor may pay dividends in the future, it may not, but I stood there, making sure the subtle act of confession, if it had come, would be safe. I listened and prayed that she would finally break and give a man wronged peace. It did not come, but it mattered not. I listened and I knew… I was there for a reason and that reason was to hear. To learn. To be the one to celebrate our small victory as the others thought too much of what could be. I was there warrior while they were the philosophers. I was the Spartan to their Atheinain. The Spartacus to their Plato.
I drank to our phantom accomplishment. I drank to live. I drank to feel beyond the petty cold and the crystals of snow that fell around me as I took in the taste of victory.
The fight we fought today, in our lives, in our souls, is not a simple clash of shields and spears and swords for history. Our civilization prevents that honor. We have lost the overt glory of such things. Instead, I was able to raise a glass to the monster, her lies and our small entrance into her twisted soul, and the glory of a single life made better, a single life made truth, by the simple act of having the courage to say: no, you are wrong. No, you are lying.
These things are forgotten in our world of relative reality. These things are in the ground with our distance ancestors. We take the flame and pass it slowly, by subversion, under the noses of our so-called betters who lost the honor of men when they took the reigns of power outside the wall of warrior pride. They never shed a drop of blood or sweat for what we do, nor do they care. They our outsiders. They are lost to the common man.
I take away from this trip for money a lesson all men should learn: stand and fight, for the pride of the battle matters not in victory or defeat, but the very act of participation.