“Brave” can be a word people call you when you’re dealing with something rotten. I’ve gotten it a few times when I was facing something I hadn’t asked for. It’s a nice thing to say, but I don’t think it’s quite right.
It can make you feel silly. You’re not prancing around in a cape. You’re not on some epic quest. You’re not battling villains. You’re living life, just like everybody else is – the only difference is that at that moment, people can see that yours has some rotten stuff.
But the thing is, everybody has rotten stuff. You just don’t usually see it. (And when you hear about other people’s lives, there isn’t another that you’d swap your own for.) When hard stuff shows up, that’s not bravery. That’s just life.
Real bravery involves choice. Real bravery is speaking your truth. Real bravery is honesty. Real bravery is when you volunteer to do something you don’t have to, to help someone else.
So perhaps bravery isn’t so much about the hard stuff itself – but about talking about your hard stuff, so that other people don’t feel so alone with theirs.
P.S. Here’s a theme song for this post, and maybe for life in general: Sara Barielles’ new song “Brave”. Thank you Ashia for finding it!
P.S. 2 If you don’t like Merida’s Disney Princess makeover (let Jon Stewart tell you about it), sign a petition here.