I asked my friends things that they were NOT scared of. They answered:
- Meeting strangers.
- Deep water and ocean life
- The glass ceiling
- Going gray
- The 15L Bus on Colfax
- Learning about myself
- Public restrooms
- Running a marathon or climbing a mountain
- Trying new recipes
- I’m not afraid to try
It was an interesting question, and quite honestly, if I were to be asked the same thing, I am not sure what I would say. Because I am often described as “brave” for things I have chosen to do in my life: moving, traveling, changing careers and thigh tattoos. But the majority of those things were done completely afraid, and often, teary eyed.
Rarely, is the unafraid person the bravest. The truly brave ones feel the fear, I know that’s true. It’s brave requesting directions when you don’t know the language, or raising your hand to ask another question when you think most of the class already get it, or posting your poetry on Facebook. It’s brave to meet strangers and let your feet dangle into the deep water and to climb the mountain. when You are not brave if you already know the way and the answers and the reactions that come with vulnerability. You are brave when you do not.
Yet, I often hear those who label others courageous and strong are the same capable souls telling me that they were not brave enough to write the book or finish the art or quit the job, and followed the statement with, “I am just too afraid.”
Beautiful human, you can only be brave when you are afraid. There is no other way.
If I were to ask my friends the question again, (and surely I will, because conversations never start with, “Tell me the story of the time you were so comfy, Sweetie.”) I will phrase it like this: I want you to tell me about an instance when your hands shook and your voice cracked, but you kept on talking and finished your soliloquy.