Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Courage

As I start this post I’m not sure exactly where this is going. There are a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head, all related in some way, yet they can also tend to go off in diverse directions. I’ve toyed with these ideas for a while now, some for just a few days, some for weeks. So far a coherent and cohesive way of presenting these ideas has escaped me. Now I’m just going to throw them down in writing, and maybe somewhere along the way they’ll turn into something, maybe they’ll start to come together.

Where to begin? Courage

Main Entry: cour•age
Pronunciation: 'k&r-ij, 'k&-rij
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, from quer, coer heart, from Latin cor
: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty


This is a word I’ve seen attributed to me lately right here in the comments on this blog. My initial reaction is to scoff, to downplay, to downright disagree. However, I am finally (oh I know you’ve waited a long time for me to see this) seeing that I do have positive qualities and one of those is indeed courage. I often do not give myself enough credit for things that I do, particularly if I am comfortable doing them for then I shrug it off as no big deal. Then again I don’t give myself credit for doing the things with which I am uncomfortable either, telling myself I was lucky, or it was a fluke, or I’ll never be able to summon the courage to do it again. I am indeed my own worst critic. Well, to hell with that. It has come to my attention that whatever negatives there may be in my life, I have done things in my life that others would fear enough to avoid or at least dread so yes, I can rightfully claim courage as one of my attributes.

Examples of Courage:
• Well, y’all saw one right here on this blog. Yes it took courage to bare my fat butt to the world, even anonymously. I wavered before pushing the button to publish that post Even after it had been pushed, I debated deleting it. Instead I summoned the mental strength to withstand fear of negative comments and of offending my readers who are already few and far between.
• Did I ever tell you about the weekend I spent with 20+ other women I’d met only online and that this weekend holiday was held on the opposite coast from where I was living? Yes I did. I flew from the West Coast to the East Coast, rented a car at the airport, and drove to a beach house rented by a gaggle of women I only knew from a message board on the Internet. I had never spoken to any of them except through email and the message board. I went all by myself. Most of the others there knew at least one other person there in real life. I never wavered in my decision to go until I had made it all the way across the country and had driven almost to the house. I seriously considered not showing up and spending the weekend in a motel all by myself, but I didn’t. I pulled up in the driveway, walked in the front door and summoned the strength to persevere, to venture on into the unknown. I had a wonderful time, absolutely great.
• Now this one seems such a little thing to me, but I know people who will absolutely refuse to do it: eat out in a restaurant (and not the fast food kind either) all alone. I have always been comfortable going out to eat by myself and never felt the least bit self-conscious about it (one of few things about which I didn’t feel self-conscious) until someone pointed out to me how brave I was to eat out alone, how they couldn’t do it, blah, blah, blah. So I got a little self-conscious, for a while, but then I got over it pretty easily since it was never really one of my bugaboos to begin with. I went back to enjoying myself, eating out at my own pace, smiling and chatting politely with the waitress, and eavesdropping people watching.
• Strangely enough, but I understand not too uncommon for shy people, I actually enjoy public speaking. Oh sure my palms get sweaty and sometimes my knees shake a bit, but I have never shied away from public speaking. Well, actually that isn’t true. When I was in college I was required to take one public speaking class. I was not comfortable, and even at the end of the semester did not feel as though I could handle even the small amount of public speaking I might have to do in my chosen profession. So what did I do? Took a second public speaking class. Unlike many of my peers who were just glad to get out of that basic public speaking class, I signed up for the next level course in the same subject. Had that class not helped I very well may have signed up for yet another. I have become more comfortable speaking to groups because it is not like speaking one to one, no eye contact is required. I can simply look out over the crowd and focus on no one person. For me, the bigger the crowd the better. Just don't ask me to speak to half a dozen or less. That's when it gets too difficult. Oh wait. We're focusing on success here not failure. It's a challenge to get over that negative put-me-down mindset.

I guess all of this is just to say that I need to appreciate myself more, focus less on the things with which I struggle and celebrate my successes. So as odd as it feels, I’m going to give myself a big pat on the back regularly. Because really I’m a pretty neat person, someone worth getting a pat on the back. Go me! I am one courageous woman.

Well, interesting to me where this post went. It kind of took off down one particular path, and I didn't really address all that I was intending, but I like where it went. And there's always another post in the future to address the rest of my thoughts.

8 comments:

Cat said...

you are a courageous woman and very cool :) it's good to see you recognize it too.

Fiona said...

Go you TS. It's about time you patted yourself on the back ;)

Steff said...

Those are great examples of being brave and having courage! You did it...in the face of everything...you did it! I admire that.

If you had a jar where you could pull out an example of why you rock I'd print out this post and stick it in there. :)

Trueself said...

Cat - Recognizing it has been difficult for me, but I'm working on it.

Fiona - Yes, it is way past time.

Steff - I like that jar idea. Perhaps when I get settled into the new house I will do just that.

Miranda said...

Hi, I followed you through the comment path. I have to say nice blog you have happening here.

I too am in a long distance relationship, met her online. We've been flying back and forth 3-4 times a year. It's hard, but worth it.

Also have met quite a few others from online. I think its the new age way.

Trueself said...

Miranda - Thank you for your kind words.

The long distance relationships are tough, aren't they? They seem to me to happen with increasing frequency as more and more of us connect online across the miles.

freebird said...

Yes, TS, you have courage. Congratulations!

Trueself said...

FB - Thanks.