Brave

To be brave, I want TO BE BRAVE.

I am not brave, certainly not today. Truthfully, I am fearful, afraid, scared; brave isn’t even in my make-up bag, not today. I now and then talk a good game, with years of practice my lips move and I sound as if I don’t care, or I might instead retreat into silence, find my place of quiet and stay mute. But brave? No, I am not brave, not today.

Whenever someone says to me, you are brave I find myself searching, looking over my shoulder for who they are addressing; it can’t be me I am not brave. I am a survivor, to that I can agree but I am most certainly not brave. Life has thrown some curve balls; I have caught most of them with my chest, or my face or worse my heart. I let those balls batter me into submission, time and again sometimes even shouting defiantly, “Throw another one, I will do better next time”.

Brave, no I think rather I simply missed the ‘flight instinct’ in ‘Fight or Flight’. Oh hell, I might have missed both in all honesty, since it seems I do neither the right way.

What am I afraid of? Why am I a puddle of abject terror?

Am I afraid of being alone? No, but I am afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. I am afraid of never being loved again. Sounds stupid when I write it or say it aloud, I am afraid that perhaps I have never been loved in my lonely-old-womanlifetime and I am simply afraid I will never know what being loved means.

I am afraid of growing old alone. I am afraid there will never be anyone in the world who will look at me and see me, who will find me beautiful and want me. Oh hell, that is happening now isn’t it so what will be different? Why am I so afraid?

When I look in the mirror what I see is a woman out of energy, worn down, tired and broken. My body isn’t what it was, well whose is? I get that, I really do except I will be 56 this year, I am by society’s standard Fat, Obese even. I don’t get to run away from this, nor do I get to hide from the judgment, it is the truth. My body betrays me every single day; this is a simple reality of my life, my world. My body is defined not by muscle tone but by every injury, my day by pain.

What would I say to a new maybe lover, “No not that way, don’t bend that or don’t look there and sorry if I wake you in the night screaming or pee on you during a seizure.” No, I can’t imagine having that conversation, except maybe to chase off would be suitors.

I am not brave; truthfully I am a mass of quivering and abject cowardice.

Comments

  1. To steal a well-known phrase… take it “one day at a time.”

    Also, feel whatever it is you may feel . . . just be kind to yourself in the process.

    Lastly, you are loved and part of something so much bigger than all of this. You are never alone; loneliness is only something we fabricate and is something we can control. I say this as someone who is continuously challenged by this very same fear, but even so, I know the answer is to stay connected to everyone and everything around me . . . to be aware of the opportunities for feeling connected. Lovers come and go. That’s true. But love itself is constant and in abundance. There are so many important friendships and relationships to experience that have nothing to do with co-habitating or romance but are absolutely fulfilling on a human level and certainly grounded in love.

    And just like the earth is constantly healing itself in the wake of devastation, we, too, have that ability. I think nature is the supreme example of all of this; its so full of hope, so resilient, so beautiful even when cycles are nearing their end. Try to keep your heart and mind open, Val. It does take effort (especially to reach out and connect with others when you feel like crawling in a hole) but I think it’s worth the effort and even critical to a healthy state of mind.

    • You have said more than a heart full with this. I know, yet still I think I will keep my hole open for that every now and then crawl into. Tis my nature to want my alone time, they aren’t long just necessary for rejuvenation.

      Thank you so much for this needed reminder of the connectiveness of my world. The many friends I have out in it and the wonderful healing available through it.

  2. Bravery comes in many shapes and forms. Just surviving in this world is brave, without including what you have been through. Hell, I wish I had half the courage you have.

    Oh and as for aging …if it weren’t for goddam mirrors , reflections and instagram I could pretty much convince myself I am still youthful.

    Oh for the love of g ….my cat just jumped on my lap covere in poop…gotta go…ewhhhhh

    • Okay, the cat thing? Mine does that frequently and I am always tempted to fling her across the room. I don’t though since she is unable to help herself apparently.

      I get the all shapes and sizes thing about bravery, really. Just having a moment about it these days.

      Do you mean you aren’t young and carefree? I would have never guessed!

  3. This aging business is downright terrifying. It’s brave to get up every day and keep going with hope and humor, as you do. It’s brave to try to make a difference in the world, as you do. Even when our big girl panties have to be Depends, let’s pull ’em up and get out there!

  4. All I have to say is that the brave can die … a survivor LIVES!

  5. What are the characteristics you see in being brave? How could you bring these into your perspective of getting old?

    Liked your post.

    Shakti

    • You would have to understand the entire history of where “brave” comes from in relationship to how others see me. To this, you would have to read far more than this single post.

      In relationship to growing old, it is more in relationship to growing old alone. Even this, has far more to do with my own personal history.

      I am glad you liked it, even without the history.

      Val

  6. “Courage to me is doing something daring, no matter how afraid, insecure, intimidated, alone, unworthy, incapable, ridiculed or whatever other paralyzingly emotion you might feel. Courage is taking action…..no matter what. So you’re afraid? Be afraid. Be scared silly to the point you’re trembling and nauseous, but do it anyway!”
    ― Richelle E. Goodrich

    Val,
    YOU. Inspire. Me.

    Love Love Love Xxxxxxxx

  7. I imagine you’re tired of hearing people say you’re brave or strong, Val. But, it’s true. Considering all you’ve endured, it may seem like you’re only purpose on Earth is to be tortured. But, I feel it’s to prove the indomitable nature of the human spirit. That may be of little consolation right now – and perhaps even sound condescending – but life is filled with so many mysteries. I understand the concerns about growing old alone.

    • You are right, I do tire of it. But, I don’t feel as if my purpose on Earth is to be tortured; shockingly there have been some spectacular days. No it doesn’t sound condescending at all, I get what you mean. I am just pouring my heart onto the page, spinning it into the cycle. This, this hurt it will simply become part of life. What is next? Don’t know, just don’t like the word Brave right now.

  8. You don’t have to feel brave to keep moving forward and help others move forward. You’ve helped me many times. xx

    • Oh, thank you I am so glad when I visit you I am a word of encouragement. This makes me feel better! It truly does. Moving forward? Yes, I will do that, soon I will do that. For now, I think I will just get through the days as they are handed to me.

  9. Betrayal is a killer, as are feelings of failure. These are not your doing. You have not betrayed love nor failed to love. I wish you well, Valentine. I know this place you are. Hopefully a good resolution is in the near future. Keep the faith.

    • This will pass, is that trite? I hope not. This will pass one way or the other. We, together have battled the demons of other peoples expectations and our own. We simply might be at the end. I get that, yet still it hurts. I don’t know that there is betrayal so much as a giving up, shrugging of the shoulder and turning of the back. I suppose that is betrayal, isn’t it.

      I don’t even know what the resolution is I want today. Isn’t that terrible.

  10. oh! Valentine……the fact that you wrote this shows that you are brave. I think most of us modern men and women wear this mask of bravery, a kind of put on nonchalance, as if we have no self doubts. We like to appear ‘put together’ always. As if we don’t care what others think or feel about us. That kind of ‘bravery’ is an act. Real ‘bravery’ lies in knowing and admitting to being weak. Because at the end of the day that’s what most of us are. Weak and afraid that we won’t be loved or appreciated. I get every word of what you say. My friend! I often feel the same. Just that in my dictionary its called ‘being brave’

    • I think I will appear put together on some level. I have to, but not everyday and not all the time. My public face, well it is what it has to be. But the reality? It is my authentic real true self and somehow it has to be freed of the constraint of what everyone else seems to want.

      Maybe part of this is just speaking from the heart, I do that. Maybe my heart simply isn’t all that different. I am okay with that too.

  11. Bravery is completely over rated, Val. And whenever I’m facing one of life’s shittier moments, I always want to meet the “oh, you’re so brave” crowd with an icy stare and an eye roll.

    Sometimes it’s time to just feel and be scared. Be sad. Be angry. Sometimes you don’t need to be brave you need to be able to let yourself be miserable because if you “strong it out” it just comes back later, differently.

    You will come to your answers. You will heal. You will survive. You will love and be loved. You are loved by all of us trying to figure out how to ease your pain.

    Love you my friend.

    • No shit, the overrated thing. I think I will stick with, looking over my shoulder at who in the hell they are talking to. Not walking through this storm, not without slickers and likely a few bruises along the way. This time though, this time I am saying when it hurts, when it stings. This time, I am not braving it out.

      Thank you so much Elyse. You know I see travel in my future. I see weekend hops to cities I love. Your’s is likely on the list, be ready!

  12. Everyone is vulnerable during low times – it just that some have a better ability to hide it than others. I appreciate Red’s comparison of brave and love, so look into that mirror and say BE STRONG to that image.

  13. You are definitely brave Val, okay so you are not feeling that way today but from where I am looking you are, and as for your question of “What would I say to a new maybe lover?” The answer to that is absolutely nothing, he will love you as you are with no thoughts or questions, you worry about how you appear to a new man, well I say don’t even go there. When you meet that new man in your life he will want you for whom you are and love you no matter what, I mean none of us are perfect, certainly not me but then judging books by covers is something that I have never done, and anyone that looks for perfection has a flawed mindset. I prefer a real woman not some bimbo who thinks her figure is something to be worshipped, curvy and gorgeous is always best but hey enough said or I will be getting into hot water or something 😉 lmao

    Seriously though Val of course you are going to be loved again, and of that I have no doubts of as you are a very sweet and lovely young woman, yes young, fifty five is not old these days and fifty six is just another year, even into the sixties and seventies it is not old and you ladies always fair better than us mere males. There is a lot more to come in your life kiddo so grab those sexy cowboy boots, the wicked one’s that you have had for years and… Well there are some really wicked times ahead and you had better believe it or else? 😉 🙂 😉

    Be good today and no looking back or feeling like there is no happy tomorrows because there is and all you have to do to enjoy these new and deliciously sweet times is to be there 😉

    Andro xxxx

    • These are just thoughts, just my heart speaking. Just where I am in the circle of what ends and begins. I am still where I am, still married and still hoping in some small part of myself to fix what is broken, still hoping it is not shattered though I feel shattered right now.

      • Thoughts from the heart my great friend and yet real feelings and I wish you the best way forwards, your husband needs to see you, the reality is that you are together and whatever needs fixing can be realised but it takes two 🙂 You are a sweet woman Val and deserve a lot better than what you are experiencing right now, I just hope that he wakes up soon 🙂 🙂 xxx

  14. I think you may find this guest posting on my blog today helpful, Val.

    http://wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/middleage/

    and this one, if you didn’t see it already

    http://wp.me/p1LY0z-19Q

  15. Touching and heartfelt post that we all identify with, ultimately no one wants to live or die on their own.

  16. Val with friends like those who’ve commented you don’t need a comment from me – they have all said such wonderful things that apply to us all.
    I’m sure you know that hoary old definition of courage – grace under pressure. It always sounds to me that you live your pressured life with grace, that you throw yourself wholeheartedly into life and living.
    It seems to me that the only person who doesn’t love you is you… and when you really feel that love for yourself, you won’t feel any of the stuff you fear.
    It’s been said that the challenge of our age is to move from our head to our heart, from thinking to feeling, and it’s one we all face. But when you’re in your heart, all is well, and it is anyway. You are loved. It’s just that you don’t feel it at the moment….

    • I like me most days Valerie, honestly I do. I find fault, but I don’t dislike me. I might not love the me in the mirror, but then that is simply a reaction to scars and fat, a reaction to what I wish I could change. It is a reaction that is in part a hope that this time I will last long enough in the gym between surgeries. My reaction to the image in the mirror is oft times more fury than anything else.

      Social views though and historical views, they still hold sway no matter what; yet still most days I still like me. I am feeling blue though. I throw myself headlong into life, you are right and I want to keep doing that. I don’t want to end mean and angry. I want to continue to be peaceful, to be mostly happy.

      This though, this has taken me off the rails. My heart is a bit battered right now.

      Your thoughts, they are always most welcome and appreciated.

  17. simply writing this and sharing it is unbelievably brave.

  18. Is it strange that I feel like I could have written this? I mean…I think I did write it , in some way or another. I’m 33. Not obese. But, I am afraid. Very afraid. For all the same things that you said. It isn’t about age. It isn’t about body. It isn’t about our weaknesses. I guess it is about our humanness. And first, accepting our our humanness means accepting we aren’t perfect…and then admitting that someone else with have to come to terms with our humanness. We struggle to accept us…why would anyone else bother?

    I SO GET this.

    But, I also know that you may not be brave this second, but you are STRONG. Strong, and beautiful and inspiring and YOU make the world a better place. I know. I know because you have made my world a better place and helped me to be brave when I didn’t think I had an ounce of brave left.

    I guess the moral of this story is that it shows you are amazing and human and quite in touch with your humanness.

    I can’t make you brave, but I can wholeheartedly say that I understand. One million percent. I get it. And I am not so brave either.

    Life is scary.
    The unknown is scary.

    But, you are still wonderful and amazing and deserving…and I KNOW that one day bravery won’t be necessary because love with finally be present.

    All my Love ❤

    • No it isn’t strange at all, when the rug is pulled out from under us we all feel the same things. Betrayed, hurt, lost and fury. I am not at fury yet, perhaps because he is still here and unsure of what he truly wants. My desire doesn’t seem to be important, only what he wants.

      He might be surprised, I don’t want this. I don’t want to be alone but I don’t want this marriage this way.

      Funny isn’t it, directly after I posted this I thought of you. Life is scary as hell.

      Love back.

      • I think that maybe we are soul sisters….living and breathing parallel lives in different states, bodies and generations.

        Life is scary. And, as far as I’m concerned, bravery isn’t necessary. Just persistence and a willingness to move forward.

        As far as marriage…and the pieces falling apart. I think we both know I’m definitely not a good person to offer advice. But, I just remember, the day I called my dad sobbing about my ex leaving, he said to me, ‘Candy, you can love someone as much as your heart wants. BUT. But, you can never make anyone love you” and he is right. We can love…we can’t demand to be loved back. If people choose not to love us…that is their loss. And I one million percent believe it is their loss. YOu and I are both fighters. We are smart, articulate and passionate. People choosing not to love us ARE losing out. But, the only thing we can do it decide what we want and decide who we want to be, and start to act like the titles we give ourselves. If I could go back, I think that I would have pushed couples therapy…and if he hadn’t gone, I would have gone alone. I couldn’t make him go, but I could have dealt with the loss differently. Hang in there. Life suck and life is hard. But, we are a lot more stubborn than life (and the men in our lives) know. Regardless of what happens, we both stand up, put on our crowns, fix our lip gloss and move forward. ❤

        • I know, everything you are saying I know. I know it in my heart and in my mind. I will absorb it and my humor will start to move through the pieces. My pragmatism will start to work for me. I have always known, a bit of me at least, this might not be forever.

          • Just to preface anything I write for at least the next 72 hours, I am OVERLY bitter, angry, hurt and sad.

            But, remember that everything is not meant to be forever, Even when we think that it should be or really want it to be…forever doesn’t always happen. It sucks come to that realization and it hurts working through the process. Embrace the emotions…but, I guess, respect the idea of nothing lasting forever.

            Sending you tons of hugs and support…and I’ll FB you my phone so you can call if you ever need/want to

            Candy

  19. Val, I recently read “Man’s search for meaning” by Viktor Frankl which I strongly – strongly – recommend, if you have not read it. Or if you have, then read it again.

    The trick is not to not be afraid. The trick is to feel the fear and do it anyway.

    Give of yourself to those around you. Give to strangers. Give and give and give. When you have nothing left to give, give some more. When in doubt as to what to do next, volunteer at a child cancer unit, or a burns ward, or an old folks home. When in doubt, do something you have never done before. Travel to a new city. Move to a new city. Look up an ex you really liked, just to share a laugh. If more happens, bonus. Proposition a stranger. Take up something you know you can’t do, and enjoy the surprise when you find you can.

    Bravery is not a natural skill, it’s a learned one. Never was “fake it till you make it” truer. And, “just do it”. Get out there and do, even though every fibre of your being is screaming that it wants to be back in bed, head pulled under the covers.

    Reach out. There are a thousand hands waiting to lift you up.

  20. Val I have said this hundred times and will say this again-
    YOU ARE BRAVE
    Being brave isnt about fighting werewolves or shark….
    more often than not it is getting up in the morning and living the day when every pore of your body says give up, don’t get up
    YES YOU ARE BRAVE-
    cos you are like this ocean rock on the shore..waves keeps hitting you, weathering you, restructuring inner you, but you are still there standing by the ocean giving your life every chance…….
    Giving up is easy and anyone else may have,in fact i have met very few people who have gone through the dark you have and still here..

    YOU MAY FEEL YOU ARE WEAK TODAY
    YOU MAY FEEL YOU ARE NOTHING BUT DARK
    YOU MAY FEEL LOVE IS AN ILLUSION
    YOU MAY FEEL YOU ARE ALL ALONE
    BUT TODAY WILL GO JUST LIKE YESTERDAY DID
    AND THE DAYS BEFORE THAT
    AND YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS
    YOU WILL COS YOU ARE A FIGHTER
    YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEING
    SOMEDAYS IT’S OK TO DOUBT YOURSELF
    FOR WHEN THIS SHADOW OF DOUBT MOVES
    BOY…..DOES IT MAKE YOU STRONGER
    YOU WILL GET UP
    YOU WILL
    YOU WILL
    COS YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE WITH
    YOU ARE NOT WHAT OTHERS DO TO YOU
    YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO AFTER THAT
    YOU ARE WHAT YOU ARE WHEN YOU ARE ALONE
    YOU ARE A FIGHTER
    YOU ARE LOVE
    YOU ARE MY LOVELY SIS
    YOU ARE BRAVE
    BELIEVE IT OR NOT

    sending love n hugs your way
    always with you 🙂

    • Soma, thank you so much. I love this, though it made me cry they were good tears. They were cleansing tears. This was so much what I needed to hear.

      • I was going to put a comment of my own on the bottom of this list, but when I read Soma’s, I knew she said it best, and covered it all.
        You are a fighter, and very brave, Val, or you wouldn’t be here today carrying on with the rest of us.
        You are loved. Everything you read here from your fellow bloggers is a form of love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud or arrogant.
        Start to speak positive things to yourself…claim them.

        Love and hugs always! xxx

        • Thanks Deb! One of my worst faults, terrible I know. I am not kind or patient with myself. With others, yes always but with myself. No, I have a terrible time with this.

  21. I’m with you — I am not brave. Though, I’ve been told countless times that I am. Maybe bravery is one of those qualities that we can’t see in ourselves, and can only be seen in us by others. Who knows. All I know is that life mostly terrifies me anymore.

    Though, I differ from you in that I’m not afraid of being alone. Yes, i suppose that’s easy to say since I’m not alone, but, even before I met Julian, I figured I’d had my two chances at love, and neither had worked, so I was resigned to the fact that love wasn’t for me, and that I’d be alone forever. That has not been my destiny, but, I do know that if something were to happen to my relationship with Julian, I wouldn’t be afraid of growing old alone. I’m more afraid of the idea of growing old, than of growing old alone. Not that I want to be young forever. Mostly, it comes from seeing my mom, and her friends, going through all the trials of aging, and thinking “So this is what I have to look forward to?” My mom turns 90 later this year, and, I think “I don’t want to be that old”. Alone or not. But, I can understand your fear.

    And, I understand the wondering if I’ve ever really loved, or been loved. But, I don’t think most of us realize that we try to live up to some ‘ideal’ of love, that love is supposed to be this, this, and this… and, then when it isn’t, we think we did it wrong. But, love isn’t this, this and this… it’s alot of other things too, things we don’t always recognize.

    As for the peeing during a seizure thing… all I can say is I’ve been around… especially when I was in my 20s, and I’ve seen a lot of things…. and, there are websites devoted to people being peed on for pleasure… so, I’d scratch that right off your list of things to worry about someone not finding attractive . 🙂 🙂

    Here’s another Big Ol’ Hug from Denver.

    • I needed that giggle John, thank you. I am afraid though, well that whole thing with deviants liking it I would have to keep them off the list and still have the conversation.

  22. I want to tell you they are all hobgoblins, but if I did, I would end up with egg on my face. I look good in many things, egg not being one.

    I want to tell you I love you. I do, you know? It is not the same.

    I want to tell you I know better because I do. There are a few more clicks until you get to the place where you otherwise disobedient spine stiffens and says effoff. When you are there, you radiate the beautiful personality which cloaks would-be suitors’ eyes in righteous glasses which see you as nothing shy of gorgeous. Why? Because the inner you shines through whatever wife beater and pair of yoga pants you can pry from under Scarlet’s sleeping rump. Because none of that matters.

    Bravery is for people who like the fight. I am content to be the lover not the fighter. You, my darling, are definitely a lover. Take off the gloves. Tremble a bit more. Come daylight, it is time for a new wardrobe, hold the armor.

    I love you.
    xxx

    • Yeah, neither of us look good with egg it just isn’t a good look for us.

      I wish I could say I am content to be the lover, but you know though I don’t like the fight if I thought I could change something tangible I would be willing.

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