The Sword And Shield Of Truth (Happy Birthday To My Wife)

“I wasn’t born nice. I have to try really hard to be that way.”
—My Wife

Some people tell us exactly who they are, leaving us with the choice to believe them, accept them, love them, or leave. These people do not try to be someone else, they do not hide their truth, and they do not expect that everyone will like them. They are who they are and they wear their flaws, fears, and insecurities on the surface right along with their desires, demands, and affection.

Being truthful about who they are does not necessarily mean that they like it. It simply means that they admit it, they own it, and they live with it. Being the first to acknowledge their flaws is both a form of strength and a protection because, if they can tell us about their shortcomings first, we cannot later say that we were deceived, unwarned, or strung along.

These people are not for everyone. Many of us need softness, illusion, grey areas, and even uncertainty in our relationships where we can hide in the shadows of the unspoken and unexpressed, never really knowing others or revealing our true selves. This allows us to ease our way into and out of intimacy, vulnerability, and the sometimes harsh, blinding light of honesty.

The truth is not always kind. It is not always careful. It is not always gentle or forgiving. The truth is what it is. If we can learn to live with it and with those who wield it as both sword and shield, we will have a powerful ally who will be forever faithful, who will never let us down, and who will fight for us and protect us at all costs.

Happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, strong, and always honest wife and mother to my precious daughter.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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