In the last 4 years, I have spent a lot of time learning about courage and bravery. I have witnessed it first hand, and I continue to see it daily.
Bravery is defined as: Having or showing courage.
Courage is defined as: Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty
With these definitions in place we can apply both to the smallest things in our lives, and to some of the biggest obstacles we will ever overcome. A child’s first steps, a fight to beat Cancer, revealing our sexual orientation, living an authentic life.
I have been a part of all of these life experiences in the last four years, I have witnessed the fear, the pain, and the desire to take these challenges head on. I cannot imagine the strength and fortitude it took for each of these people to take on life events, and to come out on top.
Many people don’t come out unscathed, many people give up on their journeys, does that make them less brave? I don’t think so, I believe it just means that they aren’t ready yet, and when the time is right they will resume their fight, and will eventually come out on top. They are brave for starting it in the first place.
I am not brave, I am not courageous. I fight my demons on the inside afraid of judgement. I keep them locked in, waiting for the day when I am brave enough to deal with them head on. I can’t imagine being free of the pain, yet, the pain of unacceptance seems that much greater.
How do we decide who is brave and who isn’t? Is a soldier brave, or the woman begging for money? Yes, that’s right, her. The one who swallowed her pride to beg for money to feed her children. She is brave in my book. Is bravery something that should always be rewarded? Perhaps we should be handing out more medals, what about the transman who takes his life in his hands every time he leaves the house afraid that he will be persecuted because he is living his life as himself. What about the child who is disabled, and endures taunts and jeers from classmates daily, should we not afford both of these people medals for bravery?
Bravery is a scary thing, being courageous is scary, I admire people who are both, and pray one day that I can count myself among their ranks.