Hey Beauxs! We hope you’re enjoying our “Independence” issue. We wanted to create a space where we could explore the definition of independence as it refers to you, the reader. Some of our staff presented the question of what independence meant to their mostly SGL friends, followers, and subscribers and the results suggest that, for the most part, independence is not only the ability to pay bills, but to pay them on time, being satisfied with being alone, a sense of discomfort in the company of ‘needy’ people a sense of realism and a firm understanding that “no” is not only a determiner but a complete sentence as well.
Other responses indicated that independence can be defined through fidelity, having “many irons in the fire”, a refusal to ask for help of any kind, and finding no issue in doing things alone. And just in case you were wondering, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Sagittarius, and Capricorn are the most independent signs of the Zodiac. As important as it is for us to be independent, it’s not something that we’re all born with and in some cases, we have to teach ourselves how to function outside of the strings that accompany dependence.
English poet William Ernest Henley is most remembered as being the author of the poem Invictus. The poem was originally published without a title and had been reprinted under a variety of titles such as “Myself”, Song of a Strong Soul and “Captain of My Soul”. It wasn’t until Cornish writer Arthur Quiller-Couch, after adding the poem to The Oxford Book of English Verse, gave it the title Invictus which, when translated from Latin means “unconquered”
A little history always helps.
With all that being said, or better yet, written, we’re going to spend the rest of this month’s Essentials examining this piece and correlating it to the ways in which those of us who struggle with independence can use a breakdown of Henley’s Invictus as a guide.
“OUT OF THE NIGHT THE COVERS ME, BLACK AS THE PIT FROM POLE TO POLE”
Life wouldn’t be anything if it weren't lived without a challenge or two. Where some people see these challenges as problems, the others see them as opportunities for future achievements. The “night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole” serves as a metaphor for these challenges.
Bills are due, rent is late and you’re almost certain that you just used the last square of the last roll of toilet paper. You’re as sad as you are uncertain about the direction your life is taking, and you’re constantly anxious. The all-too-thin walls of your apartment serve as a constant reminder that your neighbors on both sides and above you are living the sex life you’ve always dreamt of for yourself, and you have no clue how to overcome any of this.
Life’s challenges are met one step at a time and stressing over things we can’t control is a fruitless effort. In instances like these, our best bet is to recognize the importance of focusing on the positive. Regardless of how banal it may sound, keeping an optimistic eye open to life’s positives aid us in changing our mindsets and allows us to retain our sanity.
I THANK WHATEVER GODS MAY BE FOR MY UNCONQUERABLE SOUL
Know, that whatever god or gods you pray to have equipped you with a defiance so divine that it allowed you to overcome the challenges of coming into existence. According to Mel Robbins’ TEDx, the odds of being born are one in 400 trillion. While half of your DNA was comfortably resting inside of your mother, the paternal portion of your genetic code (the sperm cell) had to overcome some very specific challenges to get you to where you are now.
Only about half of the 250 million sperm cells evaded the hostile acidity of the vagina into the neck of the womb, and even fewer of these sperm cells make the transition to hyperactivity ( you can Google this later). The long of the short of it is, is that completing the journey from insemination to fertilization makes your very existence nothing short of a miracle.
Remember this the next time you feel doubtful of your ability to do anything because you’ve already beat the obstacle course of conception which gave your soul a physical form to cling to. Adversity is one of life’s constants but no matter how annoying any form of it may be it's still an essential building block of character. Our physical vessels have been equipped with souls that are only as unbreakable as we command them to be. Hold fast to this notion as it will, more times than not, exist as the difference between victory and defeat.
N THE FELL CLUTCH OF CIRCUMSTANCE….
We’re going to take a page from Tiffany Haddish’s unwritten (but publically shared) book of secrets and reveal the truth about a circumstance. A circumstance, at its core, is more than a determinant condition or position. It is anything we might encounter that can be changed by choice and not chance. Such, we can always change our circumstance. There may be some who disagree with that, which is okay- it just means that they have found comfort in the habit of being a victim of whatever their particular circumstance may be. What’s important here is remembering that we are not the victims of our circumstances as much as we are their controllers.
“Under the bludgeoning of chance/my head is bloody, but unbowed.” Henley’s choice of imagery best describes any case of one downtrodden by misfortune who has not conceded due to events that transpire beyond his control, much as a hardy prisoner beaten by his captors would not allow his head to bow in defeat.
UNDER THE BLUDGEONINGS OF CHANCE MY HEAD IS BLOODY BUT UNBOWED
Here we see Henley utilizing an imagery that best describes a feeling of downtroddeness and misfortune. Have you ever heard of P.U.S.H (Pray Until Something Happens)? It’s an acronym used by many to encourage the use of faith in instances where rock bottom is the only thing you see when you look up. Again, life is filled with obstacles but the independent Beaux takes life lashes with a strong back and an uncanny will.
The entire theme of this Henley’s Invictus is centered around expressing a will to survive, a them that, if properly analyzed, will motivate the reader to reach deep down to the depth of his soul to find a workaround to life’s shitty trials. We encourage you to consider the theme anytime you encounter a situation whose solution evades you.
To quote the incomparable Alexyss K Tylor Wilson in Dinero Red’s “Arrogant“, “If they close the front door, god damn it, bust a hole in the wall. If they patch up the wall, god damn it, dig a hole in the ground...” Your job, well, all of our jobs, is to do whatever we can to overcome-at any cost. There might be a war wound or two afterwards, but you can, if you choose, decide to wear them as badges of honor.
BEYOND THIS PLACE OF WRATH AND TEARS LOOMS BUT THE HORROR OF THE SHADE
This is a line that some would suggest indicates that our fight against life is never over. Have you ever cleared one hurdle only to discover that ten more are laying in your path? If not, then you haven’t lived, but if so, you know exactly where the suggestion stems from. There will always be something else, another challenge, another obstacle, another mountain to climb. While our independence doesn’t grant us total freedom from everything, it does allow us to decide how we will deal with whatever comes our way. Think of it as an ever-growing checklist, the sooner you complete one task, the sooner another will be there to replace it.
AND YET THE MENACE OF THE YEARS FINDS AND SHALL FIND ME UNAFRAID
It would seem that by now, a body would grow tired of the fight. There’s a mountain of truth here, but it's irrelevant because the moment we stop going balls to the wall is the moment when we concede defeat. This concession strips us of our independence as it stimulates an environment where someone else can start making our decisions for us.
The 28th law of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power encourages its readers to enter action with boldness. The only way any of us can achieve this is to relinquish whatever fears we’ve associated with the thought of overcoming the challenges that face us.
Fear is conquered through action, and the first action is to understand why it is we’re afraid. What if we’re unsuccessful? What if our plans backfire? What if our efforts are in vain? A progressive understanding of fear tells us that fear is as natural as it is essential to our safety. This is why it's always best to go with your gut because doing otherwise could prove detrimental to your survival. However, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to avoid whatever it is you’re afraid of. Don’t take any of this the wrong way, because fear is natural, the challenge here is to identify ways to face it as cautiously and effectively as you can.
IT MATTERS NOT HOW STRAIT THE GATE, HOW CHARGED WITH PUNISHMENTS THE SCROLL
“Katy bar the door” was first used in the work of another poet, James Whitcomb Riley. The phrase is found in the poem “When Lide Married Him” and is an analogy suggesting the arrival of trouble. Let it come. There are consequences to each and every action we take. This is why we encourage you all to take them with apprehension and know that there will always be consequences. What's equally important is that we hold ourselves accountable for our actions. The punishment here shouldn't always be seen as a negative, but as a consequence for the decisions we make, and when the independent Beaux makes his decisions, he's prepared for, and anticipates the consequences.
I AM THE MASTER OF MY FATE, I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL
Nobody can write, co-write and produce you better than you. The independent Beaux might not be able to predict or control the challenges he is faced with, but if nothing else he can control the way he faces them. He remains certain that his circumstances do not define him. The independent Beaux views his circumstances as metal bars waiting to be bent by his magnetic will. His faith is not without action as the result of that would be to grant someone else the ability to make decisions about the things he can and cannot do.
The independent Beaux is trained to go and strives to always be ready to overcome any obstacle foolish enough to block his path because he's got things to do and time is always of the essence. He is headstrong to a fault and will be found dead before he's found not giving it his all. He is calculated, he is determined and beyond all of that he is prepared to deal with hindrances in an effort to maintain the autonomy he's worked so hard to attain.
Remember this, always.