Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Courage NOT a lack of fear.

There are times when fear is a perfectly rational response to whatever it is you are facing. Lots and lots of times. Whatever the Toxic Masculinity Handbook might say, fear is a valid emotion, and valid emotions should be expressed, not repressed.
No, courage isn't not feeling fear. Courage is facing your fear and doing the thing anyway. It's amazing how many people think themselves cowards because they experience fear. Fear is one of the wellsprings of all emotion (the other, of course, is love). There is no shame in feeling fear.

What may be a perfectly everyday activity for millions of people requires truly staggering quantities of courage for millions of others. If you have a mental illness, it takes a stupendous amount of courage to get out of bed, some days. Even more so when people refuse to believe, or understand. Even if you are not mentally ill, life throws all sorts of things at us requiring courage. It takes courage to calmly, gently, but firmly state your truth, especially when you know your truth will not be received with good grace through no fault of your own. It takes courage to embark on a new diet; courage to try to make a new friend, courage to love openly, deeply and without reservation.

Forget                                      Face                                                 False
Everything.            OR.           Everything              here's a             Evidence
And                                         And                         hint:                 Appearing
Run.                                         Rise                                                Real

If you know any French, you're probably not surprised to find out that "courage" derives from "heart", going all the way back to Proto-Indo-European. Old word, in other words. The important ones often are.

"Courage is the most important virtue, for without it, it's impossible to practice any of the other virtues consistently."
--Maya Angelou

Some of the most courageous things I have ever done:

  • married Eva. I wasn't scared of the marriage, but I was for damned sure scared of the wedding. So many opportunities to make an ass of myself in front of all my loved ones. Well, half of them. My mother and stepfather did not attend and they organized a boycott to boot.  From tripping over my words to tripping over my feet to lighting the unity candle and burning down the church, weddings are ripe for misadventure.
  • Related, standing up to my mother and stepfather and establishing that Eva was now my primary family. Although it's fair to say that anger can spark courage...
  • Met Kathy the first time. I was deeply in love with her before I met her -- so much so it frightened me. 
  • Changing careers after a lifetime in retail. The five weeks of Order Support accreditation was nerve-rattling in the extreme. (Coming back? Nowhere near as bad.)

NOTE: I will be away from the computer for the next few days. I will catch up on the missed blogs when I return. Wisdom, doubt, music and change. Wow.

1 comment:

pamala palz said...
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