Perfectionist. Driven. Sensitive. Empathetic. Open-minded.
These are words that I might use to describe myself.
One word I have never used is brave.
Let’s talk about bravery for a minute. When I think of the word, I immediately picture kick-ass women who are breaking down barriers, cops and firefighters, and, generally, those take over the world-type people.
I don’t think of myself. Nope…I’m pretty safe. I am not ordinarily a wave maker. Non-confrontational. Not overly assertive.
I’ve always admired those straight-back, assertive women who hold their heads high and don’t take anyone’s shit. The warm, empathetic ones–yet, the ones who let no one walk on them.
I don’t picture myself. Based on my own definition, I am not brave.
…And yet, over and over, my therapist and a few others, keep telling me how brave I am. How strong I am. And, over and over, I dismiss this–Brave…haha. Sure, whatever.
The other night, though, after being told, again, that I am brave, I forced myself to sit and consider this comment. Why does she keep telling me I’m brave?
I am in the midst of a battle. A battle against past, developmental trauma. A battle against overthinking–against myself. A battle against physically overwhelming anxiety and lack of control. A battle against sadness, grief, and melancholy that threatens, at times, to swallow me whole, leaving me feeling helpless and hopeless.
It. is. a. BATTLE.
And, I am FIGHTING it.
Not always very well. Or very graciously. Certainly not on my own. But, everyday, I keep going. Keep trying. Keep…hoping.
Over the last month, I have done things I didn’t want to do–things that required me to be brave and just give myself a voice.
I have reached out for support.
I have stood up for something that I believed in, even when I found myself ostracized and swimming against the stream.
I have taken steps to protect myself from retribution, as a result of standing up for what I believe in. Admitted that I felt uncomfortable and unsafe.
I have shared, out loud and through writing, some fears I held close to my heart for too long.
I have allowed myself to feel…lots and lots of scary emotions. I have sat, in front of another person, and allowed myself to unravel and find my way back together. I didn’t run, I didn’t hide (for too long). I let myself be. I didn’t have answers–but I did have safety and the most amazing support. 💜 I allowed myself to just stay with my feelings and go with them. I didn’t love it–but I did it.
I have sought out medical help. I recognized that I needed a little extra help to balance out. The journey is a roller coaster–but the highs and lows do not have to be so high and so low. I can find safety in the middle. I am fighting the mental health stigma–it is hard to overcome. But, again…I did it anyway.
I have asked for help in my spiritual journey, seeking connection and answers that, frankly, feel confusing and scary.
None of these things are easy. All of them took a lot of deep breaths. A lot of facing my fears and staring them down. A lot of challenging my own self-perceptions.
I am fighting a battle. And, little by little, I am slowly winning.
I. am. brave.
(Thank YOU for helping me believe it. 💗 )