Courage. Bravery. Boldness. I’m told often by old friends, new friends and my family I have these traits. I wrestle with the thought though. Do I really have courage, bravery and boldness? At times I feel like I do, and the real me is shining through the brightest at those moments and these moments are usually when few are around who I’m fairly comfortable with; other times, in large crowds or around people I’m particularly scared of (those who’ve hurt me the most) I feel small, scared, timid, and shy . . . then I wonder, is that the real me? Is one real and the other fake? Is it possible to be both brave and cowardly? I don’t know. I was thinking about this quite a bit last night as I tried to fall asleep and then this afternoon I read a paragraph that might shed some light to this seeming-dilemma.
“I have often puzzled over the difference between a brave man and a man who is not brave, and it is a thing that will always baffle me. Indeed, I dislike to say this man is brave and that man is a coward, because often a man will do a cowardly thing that requires more courage in the doing than a brave thing. There are many who have done brave things because they were afraid to do the cowardly things they would have preferred to do. Also some are cowards about fighting but heroes over money; some brave before audiences but cowardly alone; some brave alone but cowardly before audiences; some deadly afeared of sickness but contemptuous of a storm at sea, and so on. When I think about these things, my brain is muddled; and I arrive at no conclusion, save that every man, somewhere, has in him the spark of bravery.”
–Chapter XXII of Arundel by Kenneth Roberts
I’m most scared of what I want more than anything. Do I have the courage to stand here and see what happens, or will I turn and run? Not a running physically, but a closing of my heart.