We often think of courage as being exemplified by grand acts full of bravado. We think of courageous acts as the kind of acts that win medals and make newspaper headlines, such as saving a puppy from a burning building or being a war hero.
Yet when I look around me and within me, I see acts that won’t make any headlines or win any medals but are courageous nonetheless.
It takes courage on my part to write about some of the things I do on this blog because I’m making myself vulnerable and opening myself up to criticism (I would like to reiterate that my misadventures in internet forums and depression are not being written in real time. I would not have had the courage to write about those events around the time they were happening.) It takes courage to continue to telling my story when the people who bullied me on that forum continue to try to bully me in response to my writing.
It takes courage to submit my blog posts I write through another site for the approval of clients when I’ve been declined and disappointed so many times (I think it was especially courageous of me to submit a blog post about gay sex toys. That one was accepted.)
It took courage for me to reach out to old and new friends when I’d spent so many years in self -imposed isolation, when I was so afraid of being rejected.
It took courage on my friend’s part to send her daughter to medical daycare for the first time when they’ve never been apart from each other for so long.
It takes courage on her daughter’s part to be away from her mother in a strange environment, to submit herself to needles and procedures every time she has to go to the hospital.
It took courage for me to reapply to college after I’d dropped out multiple times.
It took courage for me to put myself out there in the world and volunteer when I was so afraid of performing poorly, of being judged by the people I interacted with.
It takes courage for the ESL students I volunteer with to sign up for ESL classes because they too are afraid of performing poorly and being judged. It takes courage for them to show up to class every week, when some of their peers are afraid to leave their houses, when they are living under an administration that tells them they are not safe and are not wanted in this country.
It takes courage for me to challenge that narrative I have in my head that I’m a worthless failure who’s a burden and a disappointment to everyone, that I’d be better off dead.
They say courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.
Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning and facing the day is an act of courage.