April 12, 2008 § 1 Comment
When Anne Lamott spoke in St Louis several weeks ago, she began with listing things she did that were brave. There were three distinct things:
- She went to Africa.
- She got a tatoo (and it really hurt).
- She took ballroom dancing lessons with her surfer boyfriend.
Having thought about it now lo these many days, I wonder what I have done that’s brave, last year, so far this year, even yesterday. Anything? Anything at all? Three things? or thirty? or thirty million?
I am not the bravest person. I shrink into my seat at the merest indication of suspense/murder/ghosts at the movie theater. I freeze when sirens pass me. I shudder watching people sky dive. I get sick climbing backless stairs, especially spiral ones. I spook myself walking the dog and worry over the blackness of the backyard, an area that has never been one of my “safe” places after dark. I cannot function, no, indeed, I feel faint when asked to ride a roller coaster, even if the kids entreat me,and I think even if God asked me to.
So, what have I done that’s brave in the past 12 months?
- I wore a skirt to work. (shy, shy, shy, screamingly shy)
- I wrote an intense article completely beyond my realm of knowledge (about wine!) and got it published.
- I went into a crowded NOLA restaurant alone in the French Quarter, was seated, city style, between two couples, ordered soft shell crab (which I’m not sure about – do you eat the shell?) and enjoyed a glass of beer and looking around while leisurely enjoying my bowl of jambalaya. This is a couples’ world, you know. People typically do things in pairs, at least. (OK, yeah, I’m in no hurry to repeat restaurant experiences without HM; but he was at a conference.)
- I accepted a major undertaking at work, again, on a topic about which I know nothing.
- I sent off a query to a local publication. Let me just say that it was ballsy. I’ll tell you later what it is about; trust me – it’s a little nouveau, a lot edgy, a bit crazy. Adding to the bravery factor: I’ll be calling said publication next week, requesting a meeting about my idea.
- I got a massage. Several of them. HM gave me a packet of gift certificates for them. The thing is, I really went. I didn’t leave them in my drawer to expire just because I am so damn shy. I gave in to an hour’s massage each time. This took major talking to myself.
Surely there was something really brave that I did, though I cannot think of it at the moment. Perhaps daily courage adds up to some bravery, though not of the medal type. If I could just get over that dark part of the backyard…
And you – done anything brave lately?