I wrote this late last night, compelled to record my thoughts. I want to do that more. Get ahead of my anxiety and unafraid to post words & art that are less than perfect.
It's 12:30am and I'm thinking about bravery.
Until this year, I thought I knew what bravery meant. I always pictured that scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he took a leap (or step) of faith. I always thought it was kinda obvious, a trick of perspective, or maybe it was the kind of magic that only happened in movies.
Brave is doing the hard thing. Is being your authentic self. Is going out and taking the world by storm. Brave has become a buzz word uttered by women who found themselves and want to help the rest of us. It's where we want to go with our art and our lives. It's a constant quest, a striving to be more.
But I never understood the journey that brings you to that place. How bravery is really about being terrified but persevering through the fear. It's standing on the edge of your life, of everything you know, and walking away. The path before you is a faint line in the ashes of all you know and there's about ten feet of visibility. Anything past that is in a thick fog rolling in from the east that leaves you damp and cold as you walk. Birdsong and crickets and nocturnal critters scurry around in that inky black of a new moon's night and oh, yeah, you can barely make out the stars above.
I never fully respected the phoenix that rises from ashes. Never realized how hard it is to pull yourself back together after your life has vanished. There's little bedrock to start from and no building materials. There is the next step, the next pile to turn into brilliant feathers. There are fears to face and a steely determination that gets you through it. It's everyone telling you how strong you are when all you want to do is break apart.
Bravery isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. And it never ends. Being brave means facing all your fears and limiting beliefs and running anyway. It's hard and messy and leaves you gasping for breath. Bravery is doing what needs to be done no matter how tired you are or how terrible you look without make up or how much you don't think you can do it. You have to do it.
Bravery is realizing there isn't really a choice - you can't turn around and go back but you can't stay here.
So, like Indiana Jones, you close your eyes, clutch your truth to your chest, and go for it.
And that's what I'm just beginning to learn.