Learning To Be Brave

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it seems to take tragedy to “wake you up?” I found out yesterday that an acquaintance of mine, her longterm boyfriend was shot and killed over the weekend. He had no enemies, and there seems to be no motive. I had met him once before, he seemed like a really nice guy. I am very sad for my friend and their families, and I hope they find the person who did this so they can have some closure.

It’s these seemingly horrific (and senseless) acts of violence that make you hold onto your loved ones a little tighter and thank god they are safe, at least for one more day. Mike and I had dinner last night and when we both saw one another, we just held each other close for a moment longer than we normally would, both considering the fact that life is short and sometimes we don’t always get the opportunity to say goodbye.

Even though I didn’t know my friend’s boyfriend well, his death has still really touched me. I had been thinking about what it means to “be brave” lately, and the news of his passing sort of shoved these thoughts to the forefront. What’s the point of being afraid of what tomorrow might hold, when you might not get the chance to see tomorrow? What’s the point of being afraid of chasing down your dreams when at best they could come true, and at worst they might not? Even if you fail you are still alive! I think to truly live means to take chances, even if they are scary. Does anyone really want to look back on their life when they are 80 and say, “Man I really wished I had at least tried doing ______”?

For many months I had been listening to CDs in my car when I drive for work and only recently started listening to the radio again. As a result I heard the Sara Bareilles song “Brave” the other day. I had already heard it several times before but never really LISTENED to it. This time I did.
I had to pull over into a church parking lot because I started crying. I felt like I had been slapped in the face with some of the lyrics… 
“Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy.
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing, bow down to the mighty.
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue.
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live, maybe one of these days you can let the light in.
Show me how big your brave is!”
I have been living a lot of my life out of fear, bowing down to society and society’s expectations, and you know what? It sucks. I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to be afraid anymore, I want to be brave and face life with fearlessness because we truly only have this one life to live. 
It’s a process, it always is. My brave is pretty small right now but I hope, with a little nurturing, it will become a lot bigger. I hope that when I am 80 I can look back and say “Man I was a badass when I was younger! I did all the things I ever dreamed about! (Or almost all the things.) I wasn’t afraid to go out and make it happen!” Wouldn’t that be a lot cooler? Yeah, I think so too.
How big is YOUR brave?

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