I’m not brave.
If I were being honest with myself, I’m a coward.
I fight when I know I can win and I’m defensive when I know I’ll lose.
That’s a hard thing to admit but this week its been so important to be able to say and here is why; you are rarely the presumption you put upon yourself.
Discussing the motivations of Letitia to my mother she criticized my analysis of the heroine of Behind the Veil.
“Yeah, Mum,” I replied. “Its because she’s a coward. She’s afraid and hiding behind self-preservation so she doesn’t have to face the truth.”
“No, she isn’t.” My mother cuts me off, and she’s adamant, she doesn’t give a shit it’s my story, she has her own theory. “Letitia’s so very brave. She’s willing to face what she’s most scared of, what terrifies her beyond all other things, in spite of her fear, that’s what makes her brave. No one else can do this but her, no one else risks as much as she does, and she does the right thing. She’s the bravest one of them all.”
I’d never heard my mother talk about a fictional person I created with so much emphasis. Or felt like my cowardness, my excuses, my depression and anxiety, mattered so little. It wasn’t because it didn’t matter. And it was because I was brave.
Bravery isn’t when you know you’ll win.
Courage isn’t there for the confident.
And valour isn’t for those who don’t doubt themselves.
But that didn’t change I was all of those things. And none of them.
I was a coward.
I kept a 9 to 5 job under the conviction that’s what it was to be safe. I wanted to be me, but I had to have someone else’s approval.
I was the lion in Dorothy’s story.
I was hiding behind the shadow of social media’s self-importance to pretend I had something worthwhile.
When all that time I had something more.
Do you know I’ve written over twenty books.
When I do a tally, novellas included, its closer to twenty five books now, but that’s not important.
Do you know I found within me the strength to self-publish three when I had no idea what I was doing?
And do you know that they sold well?
Being brave and courageous is never about the moments you’ll know you’ll win.
They’re about the moments you think you’ll fail.
I just quit my job without another one to go to because without details I thought I was doing the right thing. It turns out that wasn’t the case and I still don’t regret my decision.
I could be scared, terrified, left wondering if I’ve made the right choice.
Like Letitia, the coward. Except according to my mother she isn’t.
I’m a coward.
But I’ve let go of convention to do something I never thought was possible. I gave up security to find myself, and the part of me that knows my stories *MATTER*.
I was brave when the lights went out, the beasts are coming, the darkness has my soul and I don’t know if I’ll ever escape, if I’ve given the light up on a dream that will morph into a nightmare reminding me of all the stupid decisions I’ve ever made.
That’s what bravery looks like.
That’s what it is, to be a coward… and follow your dreams anyway.
The next time you’re scared, the next time you’re letting fear hold you back, you remember this, the grit in my teeth, the panic failure is at my door, and still is, the dread I will drag my life down into fiscal regret and half imagined dreams…
…and despite all this my stories matter. No one can take that away, from me, or from you, so while I’m down here, I’m smiling, because I have something no one else has, not hope or false promises.
I have conviction.
I am a coward…
…but I am still here.