As I prepare for my last year of being an undergraduate student, I cannot help but go back and consider how far I have come. It was a few years ago when I first came across William Ernest Henley’s poem, which I have included below. An arduous time for me, this poem brought me strength, it became my mantra, I believed if I repeated it often enough strength would come. And so it did. And here I stand. Strong. Determined. Tenacious. And most definitely unconquered.
It took me some time to understand that I was indeed the captain of my soul. As I searched desperately for others to save me, it only became clearer that I was my only savior. This was a hard pill to swallow.
While coming into my own (as I like to think of it), I have lived through life’s trials and tribulations and joys and delights and felt them deeply. I have come to respect and love myself, which is not subject to other’s opinions. I have stood strong against protest from some that were closest to me as strength changes you, and sometimes scares others. Through it all I have gained empathy for myself and others.
I am a work in progress, always.
Aren’t we all?
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.