the time i hear you associated with me, courage, is usually when someone is discussing my writing. more specifically, my blogging.
i've gotten lovely notes and messages from people that thank me for my bravery, for my courage in sharing. every time i get a note like that i am slightly stunned. it doesn't feel courageous to share myself. it doesn't feel courageous to open up. it doesn't feel courageous to shine a light on the things i am going through. in fact, i've always worried that i'm being selfish and self-absorbed. i've worried that i'm not being fair to people in my life. i've worried that really no one really gives two fucks about what my life is like and it is foolish to share it.
but to be fair, i've never been one to accept the words brave or courage. i've always shrugged it, you, off when people have pointed out times in my life that they see courage appearing. i'm not, i say. i'm actually terrified and weak and a mess.
maybe it is because i feel so weak, courage. maybe it is because society tells me that openness, while a good trait, is not a strong trait. maybe it is because society doesn't acknowledge the strength it takes to stay open. maybe it is because i am scared of everything, courage. i am about two seconds away from staying in my house and never leaving ever again, courage. seriously.
or maybe it is because i know, even as i write and as i share, there are parts of me still in hiding. i'm not fully open. i'm not fully present. or maybe it is because i am being open but that openness has, at times, led to more pain.
in writing this letter, i keep coming back to something brené brown wrote about courage:
“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant "To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart." Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences -- good and bad."
to speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.
that stops me in my tracks, courage. that feels big. that feels scary. that feels run away from it worthy.
because how often do we do that? how often do any of us tell all of our hearts?
how many of our issues would be better dealt with if we just really fucking shared ourselves? if we weren't trying to be other people, weren't trying to change ourselves, weren't trying to speak around our beliefs? how many of us would feel better, stronger, happier if we could step into ourselves and feel comfortable and supported while sharing our truths?
courage, i've been seeking you out lately because i want to do that. i want to tell my heart. i want to speak my mind. i want to have the courage to be who i am all the time. i want to have the courage to demand respect. i want to have the courage to share my opinions no matter the consequence. i want to have the courage to make mistakes. i want to have the courage to be the woman i want to be, to dream and hope for what i want to hope for, to believe i am capable.
i want the courage to believe in myself.
maybe the hardest part is knowing that you are already here, already within me. you, courage, are just waiting to be put to use.
maybe you already are being put to use.
sometimes it takes courage to get out of bed. sometimes it takes courage to say hello. sometimes it takes courage to make a new friend. sometimes it takes courage to say goodbye. sometimes it takes courage to roll your eyes. sometimes it takes courage to stay home.
who knows the ways i've used you lately, courage.
but i need to use you more.
because i so often feel conflicted between who i am supposed to be and who i really am. sometimes i can't even grasp the conflict, i just feel it deep down. i so often feel like i am supposed to change who i am--people in my life have expressed that they want me to change who i am. i sit and i wonder how i can become someone else--the type of person that seems to have the things that i want. i wonder how i can take every negative someone has shared about me and eradicate it.
i want the courage to say fuck that. i want the courage to disappoint others. i want the courage to say you don't know me. i want the courage to say fuck you. i want the courage to say, fuck it, i'll do it myself (clearly, courage to me, speaking my mind, telling my heart, includes the word fuck a lot).
i want the courage to create my own path, be my own expert, live my own life.
courage, i know i am repeating myself. i know i am rambling. but, really all i'm asking is that you don't abandon me. don't give up on me, courage. stay there, push me, guide me.
show me that i can stay open, that i can share it all, that i can be who i am, and still be loved and understood.
give me the courage to accept you, courage.
give me the courage to be unapologetically me.
(this is day fourteen of april love)