It has been almost one year since we moved here. As I think back on this, I still hear the reactions of friends and family to our plans to relocate. Specifically, I’m reminded of those who made comments about how brave I am. I’ve heard it before. Each time I hear it, I think it’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.
I was very (very) shy growing up. I was afraid of all kinds of things … animals, people, just about anything, real or imagined. My aunt had a story she loved to tell me – I was maybe two years old and my mom brought me over so my aunt could babysit. My mom set me down on a chair and left. There I sat for two hours. My aunt (who I absolutely positively loved) offered snacks, drinks, fun activities. But, I stayed right there. It was no reflection of my aunt. Did I mention how much I loved her? I was shy.
At the end of eighth grade, I was voted least likely to talk. My predicted future career – a librarian … perceived to be a nice quiet career, I suppose. My classmates were kids I had known since first grade. But, I was shy.
The idea of starting high school – new buildings, new teachers, new staff, and tons of new kids – scared the dickens out of me. But, I was tired of being the one who was “least likely to talk”. Even if it was true. I decided to try to reinvent myself. Almost no one at the school knew me. I could be more outgoing … more normal. I was still me. I didn’t change who I was. But, everyday I went to school and talked … out loud … to people. That was a big deal for me. Huge. But, on the inside I was always scared and wanted to go hide somewhere.
It’s always been like that. It still is. A self-diagnosed agoraphobic, I’m still very shy and oftentimes scared. But, by the time I started junior high, I was tired of my fear stopping me … holding me back.
I’ve done many things while still scared, sometimes terrified. Big things. Little things. Relocating my family halfway across the country where I knew no one … that was a big thing.
So, while preparing to move, I was told once again by a few people that they thought I was brave. (This might very well be their nice way of saying I’m crazy. I know this. I’m not fooled.) I disagreed with them every time. Then a friend from grade school – who I think of as brave, courageous, outgoing – said I was brave. (She also said I had a pair of male-only body parts. Which I know I don’t. Literally or figuratively.) It seemed so ludicrous. It just made no sense to me. It never did.
I sat down at the computer and looked up the definitions of brave and courage. I found a few quotes as well. Then I came to a new understanding of the words. To be brave or courageous can mean that I am still scared, but I don’t let my fears stop me.
I am brave! I am courageous! … And I’ll bet you are, too! Did you know you were? If not, I hope you know it now.
“Understand that it is okay to be scared or uncertain. However, right beyond those barriers ultimately lies your dreams.” ~ Josh Hinds