What It Takes

What It Takes

Every Battle Makes Me Stronger

By Callie Oettinger | Published: July 14, 2017

I have no tears left to cry nor emotions to feel.

Instead of the heart keeping beat, the pounding in the gut plays metronome, a solid BOOM, BOOM, BOOM walloping the soul.

It doesn’t hurt, but Pain has numbed me.

I want to cry.

I want to scream.

I want to be back in my childhood room having a terrible two’s temper tantrum. I want to throw every stuffed animal, and book, and everything else I can get my hands on against the wall.

But I can’t.

I’m an adult.

I have kids.

I have a husband.

I have work.

And I have a choice to make.

Do I let Anger and Sadness and Rage overcome me?

Or do I let them go?

Or is there an in between?

Do I pick a few battles and let others go?

What to do?

My kids and my husband are my life.

If I have to sacrifice my work, I will.

But can I? Can I really let that piece of me go?

Or can I figure it out?

Can I really “have it all?”

Maybe I just need to “lean in” more.

Push harder.

Should I push harder?

And even if I push against that thing I’m fighting, it it really an opponent or just an immovable boulder?

In the past two weeks, Steve and Shawn have shared their raw truth.

The above is mine.

It is what my mind experiences as I struggle in all areas of my life.

Questions.

Doubt.

Confusion.

If you think that Resistance goes away when you reach a certain point in your career or your life, you’re mistaken.

The one thing I know for certain is that Resistance hunts all of us. He’s an equal-opportunity abuser.

Success is a magnet, not a shield when Resistance is lurking.

The other thing I know for certain is that the glorious feeling of slaying that bastard waits on the other side.

I don’t do Resistance.

I pound Resistance out of existence and then thank him for the workout.

And when he’s reincarnated (as he always is)? I pulverize him.

Every battle makes me stronger.

Posted in What It Takes

25 Responses to “Every Battle Makes Me Stronger”

  1. Mary Doyle
    July 14, 2017 at 5:13 am

    “I pound Resistance out of existence and then thank him for the workout.” Callie, if I knew how to do needlework I would put this on a pillow. I’ll have to settle for posting it on the wall above my computer because it’s a true warrior’s cry – thanks so much! Keep fighting the good fight – you inspire us all to do the same.

  2. July 14, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I pushed harder and harder and harder. I did it. My autobiography is complete and is one with a difference. Thanks to Shawn Coyne and Steven Pressfield.

    Point Of Origin- The Call To Return. There are two thought systems in the human mind. One offers an experience of a violent world and the other offers a planet of perfect peace. The problem of violence is not in the world, but in the mind of the one that generates the hateful images. Once the mind adheres to its chosen system, it has formed an allegiance, and is bound by a specific set of rules. Protagonist Rita Moon has to die to discover that she is stuck inside a loop of time that forces her to repeat a painful life over and over again. Her mind is sick and she must return to her point of origin to be restored. Now, with the help of a supernatural friend, she has the chance to face her demons, break the cycle of hatred and form a new allegiance based on the laws of Love. Her ‘yes’ to the call sees her reincarnate and the next loop of darkness begins. The clock is ticking; she has until midnight on her 40th birthday to succeed or repeat the loop again.

  3. July 14, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Thanks for your honesty, Callie! I really enjoyed this post!

    It reminds me of a blog post I wrote several years ago.

    I hope you don’t mind if I share.

    http://debbielkasman.com/blog/2014/1/18/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all

  4. July 14, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Wow, these past few posts have been pretty dark. I’m there myself after having quit my job to write screenplays full-time over a year ago. As I eek out an existence with a few freelance jobs and land my first screenwriting job for a tiny non-union network, I find that I can’t sleep. I lay in bed fearing madness. I sit down to the page and hope what little energy I have I can use to write some good scenes. I keep wondering why I’ve failed after nearly 20 years of writing and shooting. I feel like I don’t know anything about storytelling or understand the current Zeitgeist. The world seems to have come and passed me by. I keep wondering, “Is Steven right? Was he lying to me about resistance? Is it just plain ol’ depression masked as some heroic battle. I quit my job to turn pro, but I can’t say it’s made a difference. I just want to crawl back to my cushy old job and forget this turning pro business. I wish I’d never set foot in the student TV station in college and discovered this passion. It’s choking me. I thought it was supposed to bring life.

    • July 14, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Salvador,
      Thanks for your post. I retired from the military a two years ago, and am trying to make a living on my own.

      I was driving around Joint Base Lewis McChord last week to meet with someone about getting a cannon to my race (starting gun). I’m super stressed, always am this time of year–and I had this thought, “It is 0830 and nearly 60,000 people are arriving at their cube. They know when they have to arrive, when they leave, the left/right limits of their work. It is so f-bomb easy! Oh, how I long for that simplicity…”

      Then I realized that none of them had the opportunity to build something they held deep in their souls while sitting at this comfortable government job.

      Even Rumsfeld said, “Freedom is messy.”

      Keep up the fight.
      bsn

      • July 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

        Thanks Brian. I appreciate your response.

    • Harrison
      July 14, 2017 at 8:28 am

      You could make a cardboard sign that reads, “Will write screenplays for food” and stand on a street corner near a studio. Who knows?

      Or, you can make peace with this and get to work believing that you are going to get noticed.

      I hear your pain and it is something I fear also. So, maybe we need to kill that dragon.

      • July 15, 2017 at 9:13 am

        Thanks, Harrison. My dragon is that I’ll never be successful as a screenwriter. Maybe I need to fight it or befriend it. Thanks for your response.

  5. July 14, 2017 at 7:12 am

    Callie,
    Holy shit. Thank you. …”I am the master of my fate, I am the Captain of my soul.”

    I totally thought of Invictus as I read this, but your post is more honest/authentic. Henley described an ideal, you showed us your soul.

    Competing demands and responsibilities. Wondering which is more true to who we are, what our true mission is on this planet–and to remember to clean out the litter boxes.

    An example of my fight. As founders of an animal rescue, we have lots of dogs and cats in our home. More than most municipal codes allow…and I clean out the litter boxes twice a day. When I am scared, tired, frustrated, being a child–I have often looked at this chore with regret.

    A few years ago it occurred to me that I can also look at this chore as the opportunity to clean their toilets. They cannot do it themselves. They provide so much joy and love in our lives–the least I can do it ensure their bathrooms are clean.

    Thanks again for your vivid and raw post. I’m inspired.
    bsn

  6. fjr
    July 14, 2017 at 7:31 am

    This post had me worried in a way that Steve’s and Shawn’s didn’t. There are life events so large that you need to process them, sometimes over time. A sudden death, the birth of a sick child, the sudden onset of mental illness in an older child…I cannot tell whether your story of today is one of this.
    Taking some time to grieve, to be angry, to breath away from your normal day-to-day is not Resistance. It is humanity. That too makes you stronger.

  7. July 14, 2017 at 7:52 am

    One thing I’ve come to realize (part of this comes with age and experience) is that nothing in this life is certain. Not success, not even failure.

    Nothing.

    Thanks for sharing your heart and struggle, Callie.

    In the latest reincarnation of my life, I realized that as long as my ship is sailing, things happen.

    Resistance says, “Stay in the port. It’s safer. The open sea has storms, Kraken, pirates, enemy ships, reefs, rocks, and dangerous things you can’t even imagine, but I guarantee will kill you.”

    I’m on the edge at the moment…hanging on by my fingers…but at least I’m alive and fighting.

  8. Jennifer
    July 14, 2017 at 8:01 am

    Questions.

    Doubt.

    Confusion.

    And feeling like there isn’t a single square inch of room in my brain for one more thing.

    In my case, Resistance responds by saying, “STOP what you’re doing and browse Airbnb for a quiet lakeside cabin. Spend hours looking at places too far away that you can’t afford. Just ignore the hard work – you deserve it.”

    I’m ALL for vacations and taking a break but not when it’s disguised as an invitation from Resistance, a class A asshole whose intention isn’t to give me some r&r.

  9. Dick Yaeger
    July 14, 2017 at 8:29 am

    When IT happens, Callie, I want you on my team.

  10. Harrison
    July 14, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Perhaps the secret to unlocking the hold resistance has on us is simply to resist it.

  11. Monique
    July 14, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I feel this. Have known those moments. Perseverance becomes a question and stubbornness waits to be thrown under the bus. Then I pray and meditate and the energy rushes back. All our souls need to be refreshed daily. I know, for me, when I stubbornly insist on daily meditation time, Resistance gasps and dies it’s death for the day until it is time to turn to sleep. Has anyone else noticed how productivity and “the flow” increases and multiplies when we meditate? I seem to get way more done in less time, it’s insane. Incidentally, I seem to even get more real rest time. And coincidentally, I find that many of the things I want to scream over resolve themselves. Go figure. I write this as encouragement that there are tools that can fight resistance, so long as they’re used properly. Being in touch with our souls and it’s needs, and being able to surrender to the point that you can receive answers can be the source of miracles in our creative and practical lives. Keep up the “fight” everybody!!!

  12. Jere Ownby
    July 14, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Callie,
    I acknowledge and applaud your courage.

    You are a warrior, Callie.

    And, I write in the hope to serve the Truth.

    Many of us like to claim:
    EVERY BATTLE MAKES ME STRONGER.

    YEA!

    I respectfully submit that is not always true.

    Out of the millions of examples I could cite to support my contention, I pick this one:
    I submit that General “Stonewall” Jackson’s participation in the Battle of Chancellorsville DID NOT leave General Jackson stronger.

    Keep on fighting and being a warrior, Callie. Just know that it does not always work out happily.

    With respect,
    Jere

  13. BING
    July 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Callie,
    Thank you for your honesty. In fact I want to thank everyone for their honesty.
    For myself I am turning 80 this year. I’m just an old recovered alcoholic dope feign who thanks the Lord each morning. My God is a jealous God so I have to be on the watch of what I make an idol of. I’m betting the farm that God has got a very cool plan. My marching orders are to be a loving human being period. As we say in AA do not take yourself so fucking serious. I too am fighting the fight just like all of you. I’m considering getting a bumper sticker that says ‘fuck art’. My artistic sister said to me, ‘go for it’. I love paradox and humor. Love to all – Bing

  14. July 15, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Nearly 6 months ago a golf cart accident put me into an orbit of anger that I wasn’t aware that I could/would even have such anger within me. Knowing full well about Resistance as I am a Pro with it and knowing there is a message/lesson that comes with every thing in life; I needed to “back off” because evidently what I was doing, how I was handling “the stuff” thrown my way is not working. Not even sure when or how this light switch went on; the craziest thing Resistance was guiding me to be able to CONQUER Resistance. It is like OK what a double edge sword this is so in the process of learning “When patterns are broken new worlds emerge.” ~Tuli Kuperburg~ and didn’t Albert Einstein say (not sure) “doing the same thing expecting a different result is the insanity.”

  15. Christine
    July 15, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Shit, thanks Callie. Thanks for reminding me that my struggle is The Struggle. Now…. if you could just fill in a few of the details on that “conquering” bit. 😉

  16. Lyn
    July 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Yes, Callie. So moving. So true. What a soulful ride you took us on.

    The Resistance battle is always, yes always, internal. We all can benefit from the workout, if we so decide. In reality, benefiting is the only choice that makes any sense or has value.

    I had two children, both brought up in the same surroundings. They weren’t even a year apart. My little girl felt invincible. Learning to walk was a joy and each step a happy victory. But life was a battle for my son. Taking his first steps, he yearned, not just to walk but run. He’d lurch forward three or four steps, fall, cry and get up again. They both walked at the same time, around 11 months. One loved the journey. The other fought it. I loved them both, each unique and wonderful.

    My son passed away at age 38. My heart broke when cancer took him down a dark path, but after much soul searching, his end in this life was full of love. You see, death is Resistance’s grandest, most ominous illusion. It’s the Mother of fear and the most terrifying lie of all.

    My daughter lives on, seeing every challenge as an opportunity to grow. She’s fearless. She bounces back quickly. Always has.

    The human experience is wrought with pain, misery and death. By nature, it is finite. But we are not — not finite.

    Wisdom lies in learning to love the journey, discovering the present moment can be filled with beauty, peace and infinite space. The only one who can take your joy away is you. Ironically, the “you” who does that, isn’t really you.

    All I can say is, find your center. Infinity lies within, along with joy and peace. If you let them, the challenges help you rediscover who you really are, who we all really are. Each challenge is another workout. I love and share your perspective on that.

  17. July 18, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    I am reminded of why John D. MacDonald’s character of Travis McGee was so realistic: Unlike most private investigators, he wasn’t hardboiled all the time but within the space of a single book could have doubts and dark nights of the soul, besides being very self-confident.

    His happy best friend is the same, and in one book he is walking on the beach near home with Travis and excuses himself from any further socializing because he is rapidly becoming very dark. Travis responds reflexively “For Chists sakes!” As his friend walks away Travis says something like, “It is a part of Mayer I do not know, and very seldom see.”

    Callie, I like how you role model reality, and being honest.

  18. Tina Goodman
    July 19, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Callie, you wrote that your children and your husband are your life, but you will sacrifice your work if you have to. Sometimes we have to make tough decisions, and give something up for a while but not forever. The actress who played Catwoman on the Batman t.v. show stopped acting so she could personally take care of her son. She took on some acting parts here and there, but her son was her priority. She is a hero.

  19. Jim Gant
    July 24, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Callie,

    This is one of my favorite posts of all-time…thank you for sharing!

    Strength and Honor,

    Jim

  20. July 31, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks, Coach! I needed this. I also just shared it with a few thousand others. Hope you don’t mind. ;D