About Bravery

“I didn’t feel brave”

I’m not sure you ever do.

How often do you hear something like that? You’ll tell someone that they’ve done something brave- conquered something that scared them- and the first thing they do is deny that it felt the slightest bit brave to them. They were terrified the entire time.

I wasn’t brave. It took me two tries to even go into that room- the first time I panicked.

I wasn’t brave. I had to hold my hands together, they were shaking so hard. And- oh god- when it was done I went home and locked the door behind me and curled up and cried.

I was awkward. I was scared. I was weak.

I wasn’t brave.

Feck that. I don’t think that brave feels brave. We imagine that bravery feels powerful- feels like facing your demons, overcoming them and triumphing.

I don’t think it’s supposed to feel strong. Not all the time, anyway. I think the bravest things we do are when we feel weak. Those times when you feel tiny and scared, when you don’t know how you’ll get through that thing you have to do, when you can’t look more than one step or moment ahead and in that tininess and shaking and nausea or whatever it is you somehow take that step and do a thing? When you’re a goddamn mess and the smallest thing is everything you can do?

That’s a hell of a lot braver than squared jaws, narrowed eyes and confident stares.

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About Bravery
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5 thoughts on “About Bravery

  1. 1

    Proudest moment of my young life when I realised that courage and not being afraid are bugger all to do with each other. The bravest moments of my life have been terrifying (some of them even for good reason) and some of the weak moments I’m hardest on myself over are the ones where I let the fear win and didn’t act.

  2. 4

    Khai is right. If you’re not doing something that is scaring you, then it’s not being brave. Whether it would be scary to someone else or not, the point is whether it is a) it is something that scares you and b) you are doing it anyway. That is bravery.

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