How are you brave?
My immediate response to this prompt is: I am not brave. It’s all a matter of definition.
Some define bravery as during brave acts like bungee jumping, hang gliding, rock climbing, skiing and so on. On this definition I am not brave at all, as none of the trials listed above appeal to me at all and I would definitely avoid them whenever possible.
Others define bravery as being willing to speak out either in support of your own interests or in support of others. Now here maybe I am “brave”, as I never have any problem in either of these areas. However, I can’t help asking myself whether this is “Brave” or just plain blunt, loud and/or overconfident. All of these traits are something that I have in abundance.
This probably stems from the fact that I am tall and have always been for my age. When I was younger this meant that people often assumed that I was older than I really was and as I got older, I either had to stand tall and speak up or try to hide and not be noticed (difficult when you are head and shoulders above everyone else!) Unsurprisingly I chose the former, probably encouraged by the fact that I am an only child and so had no competition for my parents attention from any siblings.
I’ve noted that some earlier posts have discussed being “brave” in the context of willing to take risks. Here, I can definitely say that I am not in the group of people willing to take risks – I am and always have been “risk averse”. So NOT brave if this is how you define being brave.
In my 30s, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) just as I was starting to progress in my career, which became gradually more stressful over time. This led me to having to use a walking stick, 2 walking sticks, crutches and finally a wheelchair. I’ve had to take some very powerful medications (some involving giving myself injections) and also undergone a whole battery of tests and being prodded about.
And this leads to my biggest disagreement with some people’s definition of being “brave”. The only time I am constantly told that I am “brave” is that I have continued to display a jolly demeanour despite the falls and bruises and obvious deterioration in my physical health – BUT this is not “brave” at least in my vocabulary, because it is just doing the best you can coping with the cards that you have been dealt. I do get miserable, but just don’t show it because it is not something that people want to see. I miss the things that I used to be able to do, but there is no use dwelling on it and you simply have to look for other things that can take the place of what you have done before. And it certainly opens your eyes to a greater understanding of what other people have to face every day.
It’s opened up so many opportunities to make use of my naturally loud & confident personality – I can now truly give “a voice” to those who are so much less fortunate than myself and are unable to use their own voices. NOT “brave” perhaps but having much more empathy.
Postscript: Well having spent most of today trying to sort out all the mistakes I have made on trying to post each day for the bloganuary challenge – I may not be BRAVE, but I am tenacious! PHEW …
Bloganuary 2023 – 2/2
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