Defeat isn't a sharp pain. Defeat isn't focused. Defeat isn't a slow and dreary pulling. Defeat isn't running isn't a hump in the road.
Defeat is a deafening thunder strike that rips us wholly from all that is dear. Defeat encompasses and obliterates all that we want and strive for. Defeat is all of our energy and efforts being balled up in front of our eyes and squeezed, smaller and smaller, to the size of a grain of sand, and then to disappear before our eyes. Defeat is when every fiber of our being is told it is worth nothing.
Defeat shakes us to our very core. In a flash we go from a fierce warrior holding the line, to a lone fisherman drowning at sea, alone and suddenly empty. It's incredible how quickly all of that hopeful energy and focus, all of our planned actions are suddenly for naught. Something about having so much of our energy count for nothing can't but scar deeply. To focus and devote ourselves to a cause, an effort or a battle, and then to lose. As we invested that part of ourselves to the battle, so was it ripped out when we were pronounced the loser.
As that driving part of our soul is ripped away before our eyes, the haze of pain is too great to see anything but a blur of pain. Even separated from that part, the echoes of its goals, its hopes, and its intentions wrack our mind. But as time passes the haze begins to clear, we can set our pain aside from us and slowly, ever so slowly, begin to embrace our new form. We examine the gaping hole inside us and shudder at the thought of missing so much of ourselves. As we look closer though, we realise that this hole is no cauterized wound, burnt and inhospitable. The skin is tender, cracked and dry, but it is not infertile. Vague wisps of grass poke through the surface, seeking their way, ever so slowly, into the crevice. We soon realise that the hole is not permanent. It will not stay hollow. As we test our step we realise we feel lighter, less encumbered and more free. We can walk in directions previously limited, and even leap in ways we didn't know existed. As we start down a new path, with the exuberance and joy of youth, so does the grass grow faster inside our wound, saplings begin to shoot upwards and transform into adult trees, bushes and undergrowth spread rapidly to fill anywhere that light can reach. Soon we are whole again. Healed, but also drastically changed. We would like to think we're stronger than before our defeat, but that isn't always the case. For now we just know we are different.
Defeat is what molds us. Defeat is the hottest forge-fire that molds the strongest steel. Defeat allows us to regroup. Defeat breaks the pig-iron blade we spent so long forging and forces us all the way back to the mines to find finer mettle. Our first blade is never a masterpiece. Neither is our hundredth. Only after many years and many lessons do we learn to craft something truly great.
The greatest champion is but the product of a thousand defeats.