The Contender

55 Degrees
The Contender
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The Contender. A poem by Kevin Shinn, ©55 Degrees, 2020

When a partner leaves, either through divorce or death, their physical presence might be missing, but any unresolved conflict doesn’t go away with them. In my case, I’m now forced into a one-way conversation.

When I was preparing to get married in 1990, the couple that did our pre-marriage counseling gave me this advice. They said in their many years of being together, the two things that were most important was praying together and resolving conflict together. I have new insight into this wisdom today.

I wrote this poem last June shortly after a session with my therapist who helped me identify the unsolved mystery. Her physical body was absent, but she left behind a lot emotional inventory for me to sift through without her. Much of my energy in therapy has been an attempt to resolve that conflict on my own, knowing that I have no hope of ever being able to properly resolve it together.

I likened my marriage as a boxing match with me as The Contender, going up against the 5 ft four, 110 pound Heavyweight Champion of the World. And if you knew her, you know I’m not exaggerating. She was an incredibly tough person. In the world of the Enneagram, it was Type 8 versus Type 4. Two very different kinds of strong going head to head. My greatest motivation collided with her deepest fear. And therein was the needed insight for much of the conflict that we experienced.

This was one of my earliest and certainly my favorite poem that I’ve written. I think it’s because it communicates something I felt for a long time but was not sure how to express. This is the beauty and necessity of poetry

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