On Bravery

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?



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§ One Response to On Bravery

  • Nora says:

    does tonsil surgery count?
    or moving in with someone you don’t know at all? (that was two years ago, but oh well)
    how about being co-pilot in a nine-person plane when you are terrified of flying?
    being the only single gal in every wedding party you’ve been in and field the questions that will inevitably follow?

    that’s all i have “on bravery.”

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