Tonight my father, a huge Clint Eastwood fan, and myself watched the Eastwood-directed film Invictus (2009). The inspirational poem that titles the movie, recited by Morgan Freeman as South African president Nelson Mandela, was written by Victorian poet William Ernest Henley.
While I am no fan of sport-inspirational stories, this poem caught my attention as few motivational pieces have in years. I found this poem both beautiful and relevant to the struggles of daily life, especially a life like mine, which is so fraught with the continuous downs of depression:
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.
I rarely feel like I have an "unconquerable soul," but sometimes I reason that I must, if I have not yet succumbed to the suicidal thoughts that have plagued me during the worst of my mental illness over the past four years.
As for now, I have hope because I control my fate. Many new beginnings await me over the next few weeks. I will be moving to an apartment of my own and attempt to prove to myself that I can survive based on the decisions I make for myself, not on decisions others try to make for me.