A few days later, I came across this on my Facebook feed:
When I read this meme, I began to understand why I might not identify with being “brave,” even when others suggest that I am. What is broken in the world that we equate living an authentic, fulfilling life with “being brave?” Bravery is, by definition, "the quality that enables someone to do things that are dangerous or frightening.” Why should it be dangerous or frightening to live a life of integrity and value? Shouldn’t it be more dangerous and frightening to live a life that isn’t our own, pretending to be a person we really aren’t? (Anyone watch Orphan Black? haha)
But then I remember what it was like when I was in the closet. I was so desperate to be “normal.” I spent so much energy trying to fight against myself and reject who I was-- to be someone else. It was exhausting. It sucked the life out of me. Still, I was almost 25 years old before the agony of living that life grew greater than the fear of accepting myself for who I was. Once I did accept myself, however, it became almost immediately clear that the only way to live was authentically.
So while my actions may appear to be brave to some people, in reality they are only the result of my fear of not living a completely authentic life.
Something I've begun to do lately is read poetry. I plan on sharing some of my favorite discoveries on this blog at some point. And while I am no poet, I enjoy the challenging process and made an attempt at it. Do your best to withhold judgment:
Do not think me brave.
That I scoff at danger,
and chase the rush of thrills.
These eyes are alien to me.
They search endlessly
for some invisible unknown.
Perhaps it is in the ever-expanding heavens.
Or in the deep blue of the roaring oceans,
full of mystery, and of hidden titillating worlds.
But it ne’er be in the morning still of the lake.
Nor on the white frozen plains, hard like glass,
bound to echo the longing gaze of hungry eyes.
No. I cannot be still, not now.
Contentedness is to forever be a stranger—
A fate most terrifying.
Therefore, do not think me brave.
It is only all that I can bear.