What lies below is a sample of the guest post I was asked to do for Christy at Running on Sober. She’s been kind enough to let me into her friendly blog space for a monthly discussion on bravery and courage. I’d be honored if you read the sample below and then finished the rest of the article by clicking here or the link below.
For those of you who are already RoS fans, thanks so much for reading, commenting and sending gifts of chocolate!
And, since I want/need content for future articles, please share your own brushes with bravery and courageous conquests. Leave a comment below or a private e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I know I’m not the only courageous scaredy cat!
Courageous vs Brave from The Braveheart Chronicles
Is there a difference between being brave and being courageous? If so, what does that difference look like? Would bravery and courageousness fight on the same side of the battlefield or face off as equal, but opposing adversaries?
When I think of brave, pictures of soldiers defending their country, lion-hearted gladiators wielding swords, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games color my thoughts.
But when I envision courage, I see common people fighting injustice, speaking out and letting the world see who they really are all while waging internal battles played out within the private spaces of their souls.
Exactly the same only different, right?
My first encounter with bravery came when I was five during the first day of swim lessons. Mom had bought me a pretty white bathing suit decorated with bright, red strawberries and spotted lady bugs. I had been so excited to finally learn to swim and refused to take the suit off for the entire six days leading up the first lesson.
Come Monday, I was splashing happily, making new friends and couldn’t imagine anyone happier than I was that day. At least not until the diving board entered into the equation.
Big, scary and . . . high.
I climbed the ladder only to drop immediately to my knees once I was far enough out to be suspended over the water. I crawled to the edge never moving my eyes from the plank in front of me. Once there, my legs somehow found their way to a vertical position as I stared into the chlorine-blue abyss dotted with outreached hands and encouraging voices below.
“Jump, Michelle! You can do it!”
Why did my belly feel funny? Was my heart beating outside my body? Why was I so scared?
The next fifteen minutes were spent in a delicate dance between almost leaping and tummy tingling paralysis. The only thoughts in my head were the fear of drowning and the horror of disappointing my watchful mother. Like the flimsy board, five-year-old me was teetering with indecision and angst.
Somehow I managed to look over at my mom perched at water’s edge. Her eyes were locked on mine with an unmistakable seriousness typically reserved for spilled milk and sibling discord. Her words were deliberate, forceful and non-negotiable:
“You need to jump. That is your only choice and people are waiting on you.”
The physical fear of drowning was trumped 100 times over by the fear of disappointing her.
So I jumped.
Once my little head bobbed above rescuing arms, I was able to catch my mom’s look of simultaneous relief and pride. She told me later, “You were so brave! I love my brave girl!”
Most of my life has been a pilgrimage of seeking quests to show others that I’m courageous, noble and brave. Looking back, I can see that the jump off the diving board was the first in a series of many events meant to demonstrate false bravado all while covering up the many things I was (am) truly afraid of.
I’m a chicken-shit in a brave girl’s body.
Please read the rest here…this dive into the deep end is just getting started!