In response to Claudette’s Weekly Writing Challenge #6: Bravery
#71. I am a coward. A coward is one who does not put him/herself in a place of possible danger, be that physically, mentally, or emotionally. I am terrified of heights, and I avoid them. Although I know that it is possible to overcome such fears, I make no attempt to do so on this one. I prefer to simply steer clear of high places. Which makes my life a bit difficult at times. I love the mountains and travel. Flying is an incredibly difficult thing for me to do, and I haven’t done it in years and may never do it again.
A very long time ago, I read something in a work of fiction that has stayed with me, even though I forget the title of the novel and its author. It was about being grateful for being a coward. In the book, one of the characters was facing into an extremely difficult situation and came to the conclusion that a coward is lucky to be so, because all a coward needs is courage. Courage is the ability to proceed, even knowing that the outcome is not favorable.
Sometimes when a coward hesitates to act, he/she may only be gathering courage. Acknowledging the very real fear or, even present danger. A coward always knows when he/she is being a coward. They might side-step that reality with excuses and false reasoning, but they do know. And we all have those moments of hesitation, sometimes they last too long and the opportunity is lost.
In the book, the character reasoned that only a coward needs courage and that each time he/she becomes aware of that tendency toward cowardice, what is really happening is that the individual is giving self the opportunity to choose to be courageous. Sometimes we are, sometimes we are not.
#72. I have been courageous in the past. I flew to Las Vegas and back four years ago. I flew to San Francisco and back alone, about 11 years ago. I drove through the mountains several times because if one is on a road trip and heading for Montana, one must drive through the mountains. So, although I can and do admit that I am a coward, I know that I can and have been courageous enough to overcome my fears and could do that again.
Back to the story. The character reasoned that brave people don’t need courage, they have their bravery. Bravery is the willingness to fight, no matter the odds, and do so with the conviction of ones beliefs, so one simply heads into the fray believing that one will win because one is in the right. In other words, standing up and acting is more important than the outcome, or the possible danger involved.
#73. I am brave. For me, personally, one of the bravest things any individual can do is to break their silence. Speak aloud the things that have not been said, especially when the topic has been forbidden, write about ones personal truths, and thereby, take a stand against whatever comes of it. I do that on a daily basis, each time I write.
I am exploring those things that I was taught were off-limits. Putting my need to understand first, regardless of the consequences. That is one of the reasons I can so easily admit to my cowardice. It’s real, it’s my personal truth, and it doesn’t change over time. It is who I am. Yes, I have tested those truths. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. That just makes me human.
But, I also know that there are certain topics and issues that I will not back down from, or walk away, without first saying whatever I think needs to be said. Or, write whatever words need to be written. And ironically enough, I don’t see that as bravery, I see it as a solid piece of who I am and what I know I will always stand up for.
#74. I am and will always be a student. In the story, as the character made his/her way through all of this pondering about bravery, cowardice, and courage, I applauded the reasoning, and for me, the explanation. So much so, that it became a cornerstone of my existence. It was there when I first began to write and scared myself silly at some of the things that I was writing about. It is still there today, as I worry about how well this blog will be received and if these words will be heard and understood. And it has been there every time I hear that voice in my head that says, “What will people think?”
#75. If I live my life always worried about what others might, or might not think, I will never move again. That would be complete and utter cowardice. Although I am a coward about heights, I am also aiming at wholeness. That in turn means, I am a brave coward, sometimes in desperate need of courage.