What does it mean to be brave?
Being brave has meant different things at different times in my life. When I was younger being brave meant the same thing to me as making hard choices. Deciding where to go to college, if I wanted to serve an 18-month church mission, what I wanted to major in college--all of these things seemed hard and brave.
Being brave has meant not being angry at God. Choosing to be grateful and positive despite lost dreams, hopes, righteous desire seemed brave. Watching friends emerge for Postpartum Depression stronger and more empathetic. Watching natural disaster devastate land and people's home, wars ravage souls, and enduring actual hate crimes and prejudice.
Bravery, at times, means the same thing as change. Deciding to join AmeriCorps as a VISTA and move across the country, working in downtown Boston, being far away from family. Watching friends relearn to speak, walk, grow their hair back, and more. Great and small change requires bravery, doesn't it?
Lately, to me, bravery has meant being uncomfortable. Meeting a good looking guy at Verizon (no, not Eric...see previous post) texting him, him giving me his personal number. Actually trying to have conversations on Tinder (rather than just validating myself with matches). Trying to figure out ways to let guys know I'm interested in them. Putting myself out there is seriously so exhausting and uncomfortable...and brave?
But when I look back over my life I believe, woven in between all these experiences, bravery looks more like vulnerability.
Allowing myself to let someone in, for them to see my genuine weakness and tears. Watching a friend vulnerably battle breast cancer at 28. Walking away from unhealthy relationships. Being honest with myself and others regardless of the outcome. Listening as friends are open about their dashed dreams, their loneliness, their righteous desires--unmet.