13 Pavements

Monday, April 9, 2012

On Being Brave

On a bleary-eyed night last week, my smattering of scattered thoughts were suddenly made coherent by my television. 

In my insomniac state, I sat clicking through what is normally spectacularly bad viewing at such a horrid hour when Meg Ryan, a la You've Got Mail, went right ahead made sense of what felt like months and months worth of wordless feelings in just a matter of sentences.  "Sometimes I wonder about my life.  I lead a small life- well, valuable, but small- and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it or because I haven't been brave?"  And a part of me went, "Oh my gosh, YES.  But how did you know?"

And then everything became simultaneously crystal clear and ridiculously messy. 

Be not confused, I love this little thing I've got going on here.  The big things are solid; my spouse, my child.  The two best decisions I've ever made.  But with many other things, okay, with everything, I'm just not very brave.

I am strong, I think.   I can do hard things.  But I am not brave.  They aren't the same.  I suffer severe trepidation concerning almost every detail of my life.  I try to keep a lid on it as to keep the crazy at a minimum around here.  Much of it is silly, really.   My lack of bravery has caused me to put up walls and barriers. It makes me play by the rules a little too closely.  It makes me fear trains and snow and mirrors  It keeps me from saying what I want to say, writing what I want to write.  It puts me in uninspired routines. It's put my hair and my clothes in a rut out of fear of weird looks.  I've thought if I change things or think outside the box, suddenly my whole identity will be skewed.  No one will know who I am! True story. ( Do you see how silly this is?)

I'm not brave because I don't want to be judged, ridiculed, mistreated, or gossiped about.  I don't want any negative connotations floating around me.  I have felt that playing it close to the vest and abiding by the rules (self-imposed or otherwise) would shield me from all that.  But you know what?  It doesn't.  And I know this.  I am judged, I am gossiped about, people will question the decisions I make.  No one is immune.  Sad truth of life.

I see a lot of me in Olivia.  She is braver than I will ever be for a hunderd different reasons and she has a unique joy and happiness in life that is incredible.  But her tender heart, the way she watches groups of children, the way she approaches certain situations... they are all me.  It brings alive a panic way deep down inside me.  There was a lot of hurt in this little heart of mine growing up due to these fears and I don't want that for her.  And so, I think maybe I've had enough of this nonsense.  I can't teach her to be brave if I am not brave myself.  Lead by example!  And stuff, right?

I do.  I do lead a small life.  And I like it.  But it could use some polishing.  My finer qualities could use some adjustments and my less fine qualities could use all out overhauls.  So, that's exactly what I'm gonna do.


  1. I've said it before and I'll say it again: "You've Got Mail" is the most deeply philosophical film of our time.

    I think everyone has those barriers. Humans are vulnerable, by nature. I was confessing what a mess I was to one of my friends last week - crying, a complete failure at everything, blah blah - and she said, "You? You're one of the ones that has it all together!" We look at other women and think they have it all together while we are falling apart. But you know what? Nobody has it all together. Behind closed doors there are cobwebs in the corners, sticky floors, and obstinate children. Rest assured, you are perfectly normal (in your perfectly abnormal kind of way).

  2. You go girl! I LOVE when insight comes like that! Please give Bubbs a really late birthday hug for me... make it extra long since it's so late :) Please also tell Olivia hi from Lydia and I. Cute story: Jon asked Lydia who the cutest girl in Idaho is. Then Lydia asked Jon who the cutest girl in Washington is. He guessed a couple names and then Lydia yelled, "Olivia!!" She still loves her SOOOO much!

  3. You are Brave. Bravery is being scared and doing the hard stuff anyway. You have done exactly that. I know.

  4. I love your usage of language to so eloquently portray your thoughts. This is just a moment when you are not quite remembering who you truly are, as all of your friends KNOW otherwise. Who you see yourself as not is who you are...Brave, living a big life, making major inspiring differences in your families' and friends' lives. Just remember who you are... Someone once said that no success outside the home can compensate for failure in the home...I like to think of it this way All failure outside the home can be compensated by success inside the home, yours is truly a success! You just keep going and proclaim to all of your persistence & bravery!

  5. Strong <> Brave

    Thanks for the illumination :)

    Nice blog!! Adding you to my blog roll...