Courage. Seven letters in a particular order that I’ve never been able to own. I can own parts of it. I can own "rage" and "cage" and "race" and "gear". "Gore" and "care" and even "grace". I could go on, but you get the point.
I’ve been told many times throughout this life that I am brave, that I have courage. I moved from flat out denial in verbal protest to quiet acknowledgement, but I did not internalize the idea that I was so. I merely felt people were being overly kind or that they defined the word differently than I did.
When years ago I came across the quote about courage not being lack of fear, but being afraid and going ahead and doing it anyway it almost stuck, then slid away. Not me …..
About nine months ago a friend and covener gave me a little metal medallion. On the back is printed "courage" and on the front is Goddess as tree. She said it was meant for me, it was my "turn". It is something to be given to one who needs it and then when no longer needed to be passed on to the next person. Whoever owns it knows who to pass it on to when it is time.
I inwardly cringed a bit when it was given to me. I thanked my friend and slid it into my purse. I moved it to other purses when I changed over. I was nagged by the prompt for this post last Wednesday while forgetting the medallion. A few days ago while looking for something in the pocket in my purse my fingers lit on it and I remembered the giving. I remembered the cringe and the "I am not brave" thought that flitted through my head. Not me ….
Last week at coven that word came up again. I mentioned never owning it. I said I tell myself it is not courage, it is simply doing what needs to be done. Surviving sexual abuse, mental illness and alcoholism in my family of origin, single parenting for almost a decade, raising chronically ill children. Sitting with the dying, speaking publicly and writing copiously about the abuse, the aftermath, the healing, and the forever broken parts. Standing out and firm and tall in my minority religious beliefs, in my belief for equality across gender, race, and sexual orientation. Speaking the truth as I find it, with care and love.
Done simply because it needs to be. I’ve had conversations with my daughter about how we simply do. How puzzled we are when others don’t. I don’t think she calls herself brave, either. I would. I would tag a lot of people with that adjective because I have seen them live it. I never tagged myself.
I received the medallion as we were to embark on our Shadow Work in the Autumn. Anyone who’s followed my blog through the fallow part of the year knows a lot of what occurred along the way. Had I been another seeing how it all unfolded for someone else I would have called them brave. Not me ….
Until my hand hit on that wee medallion again the other day. I remembered the conversation at coven and realized, finally, that "doing what needs done" is courage. It’s not the hero level of stories "brave". It is the getting up every single day and doing what needs done. It is the living of this life in the best way I can even when in my worst moments I fall so short of who I wish to be. I get up again for another day.
Me. I am. I am brave. I really should own the word, own courage.
My courage medallion needs a new home.
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