Thursday, June 01, 2006

Courage

Things are black and white to children. It simplifies their universe. There is good and there is bad.

In my youth, I used to think that most people could fit into either the "Strong" category or the "Weak" category. The Strong would survive, and to continue to make it in the world, the Weak would have to learn to be Strong or drown in the torrents of pain and manipulation. With Strong came the toughness, the lack of empathy, the "me for myself" mentality. With Weak came the tears, the malaise, the taken advantage of.

But is it possible that there is a third category...one that a lot of the people I know and love fit into. One that I fit into too?

The Weak But Brave.

I guess today I feel a little tired of being called "Strong", as if it is something I was born with, like nice coloured eyes, or having long legs. If I had a dime for every time I've heard "oh, but you've always been the strong one" I would be a rich, rich woman. What if I am not STRONG, but Strength for me is a choice, every day? What if I am scared, worried, overwhelmed and intimidated like everyone else, but go on and go on because I know there has to be a better way? What if I am discouraged and uncertain too, but upon seeing what is right (though it be scary and hard), I do it anyways?

Not because I am strong, but because I am brave?

I want to tell those people who call me "strong" as if it is an insult, that bravery is a badge that you earn, by making the right choices, by using your mind in cooperation with your heart, by learning and by teaching and by listening. I am not just "STRONG". I was not born with it. I have learned to be strong by being brave, no matter how much my tummy flutters and my head aches and my heart skips a beat and I want to cry. I care deeply. Too deeply. That makes me brave. Others depend on me. That too makes me brave. I have become what I am through the fire and through countless mistakes and though struggles to preserve my own dignity.

Lastly, I have stopped buying the whole excuse that one is weak and thats just how they are and why they make the same mistakes over and over again. Weakness is not by birth either. So long as you breathe, you have choices. Bad things just don't happen to you because you are weak, but because you are too much of a coward or too lazy to fight for what is right or to stick up for yourself. Stop lying to yourself that there's nothing you can do, because I can no longer help you if you believe you are, and will always be, weak.

Now that's black and white.

6 Comments:

At 8:26 PM , Blogger Kimberly said...

I have always thought, and still do actually, that you are one of the few strong people I know. That's not an insult. It's a compliment. While you may not realize it, you have always been a role model for me. You taught me both by practically smacking me in the head as well as by example that everyone has inner strength and only by tapping that can one succeed. Only the truly brave and wise see this.

So I commend your strength, your bravery and your wisdom. And I thank you for constant example.

 
At 8:44 PM , Blogger SincereCaramel said...

I printed this post out. I needed to read that. Thank you. I thought I was weak for being scared that i was making the wrong choices. Others make it look so easy and never admit that it is being brave and that is a choice. It is a choice.

okay so you have a new fan...

 
At 9:57 PM , Blogger jellyhead said...

I know what you're saying, and I think you're right - too many people take on 'weakness' as if it is a genetic disease.

But then, many people have the most horrible upbringings, where all their experiences lead them to believe they are weak, and no-good, and unworthy of happiness in their lives. That's hard to fight. And I don't think I can presume to know what I would be like, if I'd been raised in an abusive household.

I guess I must be one of those shades-of-grey people after all!

Great post - it's sure to generate lots of discussion!

 
At 10:03 PM , Blogger Motherkitty said...

I am forwarding this post to my sister in Las Vegas who can forward it on to her son. I totally agree with you about choices. My father was a "weak sister" and he lived a sad life. My nephew is a "weak sister" because of his poor choices and behavior. I don't know if your words will make a difference, but they are so true that hopefully they will have an impact on his decision-making processes. Thank you, brave woman, for having the courage to speak the truth.

Thank you also for bestowing that great honor upon me (you know what). I was truly shocked at the true series of events and trust that you didn't shoot that staple gun at someone enjoying a PB sandwich while you were in distress. I also hope everything is back to "normal." Finally, I give you the ultimate credit for taking on the task of reupholstering a large piece of furniture all by yourself. In that endeavor, I'm the coward.

 
At 10:26 AM , Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Very good post...we all have to make choices everyday and hopefully they are good choices that bring us strength.

 
At 3:29 AM , Blogger Alipurr said...

being brave when you are weak IS definitely being strong.....it is definitely hard to make the right decision over and over again. For lots of people, maybe they just claim weakness to avoid responsibility or to avoid making decisions that would mean they would have to use integrity. I really liked this post, because it encourages me to keep making good decisions and not worry about labelling myself one way or another. For me, sometimes it just comes down to getting off my bottom, and doing what I know needs to be done, whether it be put the shopping cart where it belongs or picking up that paper towel that missed the garbage can in my local department store. For me, the more I let these little things slip, the harder it is to do the right thing when big decisions come.

 

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