by William Ernest Henley
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 ran across this poem for the first time in a while today (thanks Maura Kelly!). The last time I read it, I was not as self confident as I am today. I thought, 'Well of course I determine my own fate. I make the choices, after all.'
Yet it didn't resonate with me like it does now. I still don't think I've been through any considerable hardship, but I think that I know better who I am now. I know who I can always get help and support from. I know how to ask for help when I really need it (though I'm still working on that). I know the things I value most, and I know what I can give up and what I can't.
Though I believe that the me that I am right now is a product of a million influences, the particular combination of parents, friends, teachers, and ideas is what makes me my own unique self. I'm proud to be that person, and I don't think it undermines my free will and choice as long as I understand where my decisions are coming from. I've always believed I am the master of my own fate. I just had to discover who "I" am.