July 11, 2017
They are mine. They represent me both physically and emotionally. People judge me based solely on how I present them, how I carry them, and how I employ them. They are the foundation of my strength, just as they are the window to my weakness, and I may never fully comprehend the power they hold. They are battle tested and always ready. They bear the scars of internal and external wars gone by, where they emerged stronger from each skirmish, through victory and defeat.
I have foolishly doubted them at times. I have thought they would buckle under the weight of change, the pressure of the grind, and the burden of self-doubt. But they persevered. I thought surely they would crumble in the face of insurmountable failure, ill-advised missteps, and gut wrenching rejection. But there they stood, only emboldened by the adversity. And I had no doubt they would fall under the crushing disappoint of missed expectations, falling short of my potential, or worse yet, letting people down. But they unwaveringly remained, vigilantly waiting for the next challenge.These are my shoulders. They have never been broken. I have tested them at every turn, only to find that the very things I thought would break them, only built them up over time. Their weakness only lies in my mind, and even at that, they will continue to carry the weight of the world, whether I believe we can or not. They exist to show me there is nothing I can’t handle, that there is no adversity I can’t overcome, and that I cannot be broken, no matter the odds…but they beg me to try to prove them wrong today, tomorrow, and forever. – CPT Ryan