Where were you when you first understood what it meant to be brave?
Did you ask someone to dance?
Did you stand against injustice?
Did you come out to someone?
Did you poop in the bathroom of a bar?
My first understanding of bravery appeared at the Iszard Pool on Tinker Air Force Base in the mid-1990s. I was around nine years old, and jumping off the high dive was reserved for all those brave souls who committed to climbing countless ladder steps, only to stand on a creaking platform and simply jump with no regard for gravity.
And then I jumped some more.
And without truly understand that this was an act of bravery, I felt proud of myself. I defeated odds. I received the privilege of swimming with, “the big kids,” and eventually learned the reasonable risk of diving off the high dive.
…and quickly learned the reasonable risk of belly-flopping off the high dive.
While I know she needs no introduction, and acknowledging that this post is actually, in fact, not all about BB, let’s pause on this clip for just a moment (courtesy of Oprah):
When I first saw this clip, two questions came to mind:
Am I brave enough to love myself? Do I trust myself?
Are you brave enough to love yourself? Do you trust yourself?
I had dinner with a friend last week, and in setting up a conversation related to shame and vulnerability, I cited Brené Brown, as I typically do. Before I could go any further, my friend chimed in, “Im with you – I, too, worship at the alter of Brené Brown.”
We laughed. I felt safe.
Last night I attended a lecture with Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things, and now, Brave Enough. While Cheryl Strayed and Brené Brown have many similarities in the way they write and in the way they impact readers, there was one specific note that stood out to me differently than I expected.
In connection to pressing onward after the death of her mother, Strayed argued, “You have to decide what to do with the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen.”
This is bravery to me. This is self care. This is perseverance, and this is pressing play – even when the song is shit. Today, bravery is about trusting myself, and today, I commit to bravely loving myself.
Caring for myself.
Being kind to myself.
I hope you’ll do the same.
*photo via Cheryl Strayed’s new book, Brave Enough