Chalk it up to ignorance or hubris, but in all the time since people have been telling me I am brave or courageous for sharing my story, I never took the time to actually understand the word or what they meant. The people who tell me that usually follow their words with “I don’t think I could ever do that.” And it leaves me baffled because my writing here – the things I want to share and what I commit to type – come as naturally to me as breathing. It doesn’t feel difficult. In a way, it has always made me wonder if what they really mean is “Don’t you know how risky it is to share like that?”
One reader in particular captured that feeling last week when she wrote to me, “I think the courage about you is in the honesty you demonstrate writing about your life: your foibles, your fears, your learnings, trusting that it won’t be used against you.”
Oh boy, I don’t know that I do trust that. I very well could get mowed down someday by what I’ve written here. Maybe I won’t get that job I really want or someone I admire finds my writings silly and judges me. Just like in any situation we make ourselves vulnerable – we run that risk. But I keep writing. And I keep putting myself out there in pretty much every aspect of my life. I don’t know that courage is a conscious decision or just a human instinct. I think it’s a beautiful notion though. We show courage by making ourselves vulnerable. Vulnerability is the preamble to love, and in that way, an absolute necessity if we want to connect with people. Scary, yes, but absolutely necessary.
My prime aim with this blog has been to connect with people and I have. So, I am gladly vulnerable. And if that is courageous, so be it. The alternative appeals to me none.