Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Courage {Prompted}

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The following post is part of a writing exercise that my friend Kathy and I have undertaken together. We choose a weekly topic from a list of prompts found here. I intend to use a varying array of writing styles and techniques, and to limit my editing. I invite those of you with blogs of your own to participate with us.  And as always, thanks for reading!

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napolean-bonaparte

At first I thought this week’s topic pick “courage” was going to be the easiest topic ever. After all, I’m totally courageous! I possess so much courage that I….well I…I definitely did…

Wait.

Here I am, with this deliciously blank page in front of me, all ready to talk about the most courageous thing I have ever done. Certainly it was the act of picking up my life on the east coast and moving to California, right? I thought so. But the more I really consider it, the less courageous it seems. I mean, we left what basically amounted to a crappy life, for a really good life. Bad weather for good. A house that was a money pit to a home we love. A 9-to-5 commute to the office for a flexible-hours home office. Frozen peas for Farmers Markets.  You get the picture. We moved somewhere that basically made it easier for us to live. Big freaking whoop.

Going somewhere that’s easier for me to be happy might be considered efficacious, or even adventurous. But not courageous. A “courageous” move for me might have been driving to Alaska in January or relocating to a foreign country that speaks a different language. That would take some courage. And also some major survival skills that I don’t happen to possess. But I moved to the land of beaches and palm trees. I mean, come on. Easy-peasy.

So what’s so courageous about moving to California? The fact that we cashed in our life savings and drove across the country? Nah, we were lucky to have the money so readily available to us. Most people don’t have that. Besides, we both have jobs that we can do just about anywhere so there will always be more money.

Is it because we left all of our friends and family behind? In this hyper social-networking day and age when practically everyone you know is a text message, Skype call, Facebook post or nights-and-weekends phone call away, that’s hardly brave. Also, moving to a different state is pretty much as rare as a penny. And moving to California is even less rare…I mean, I can’t remember the last time I even met a native Californian. Everyone ends up here.

In all reality, this relocation wasn’t courageous, it was just the fulfillment of a longtime personal desire. Nothing a little gumption and some cash flow can’t handle.

So what makes me think I’m such a courageous person?

Am I courageous because of all the times I’ve spoken my mind instead of bowing down to people who have wronged me? Because I went to school for art instead of something “practical” or because I ended a bad relationship when I was scared to do it? Am I courageous because I’ve run an ultramarathon? Because I run even when people call me fat? Does it take courage to forgive and move on from your shitty childhood? A home you don’t want anymore? An unhealthy friendship?

What makes me assume that anything I do is so singularly amazing? I mean, I’m not exactly slaying dragons or saving kittens from burning buildings in my spare time, so what is so special and courageous about who I am and what I do with my life? What makes me such a fucking hero?

And why am I always questioning myself?

Well, maybe that’s just it: questioning. Maybe there’s something to be said about that guy saving kittens from burning buildings in his spare time. Most people would say that’s a courageous act, but when you call him a hero he’ll scoff and say he was just doing the right thing. Maybe courage isn’t something you recognize on a day to day basis. Maybe it’s not something you can see and pat yourself on the back for doing. Courageous people are the ones always asking themselves the important questions, and answering with honesty instead of bullshit. Maybe courage is about admitting that you’re not a hero just because you packed your shit into a car and moved, bought a house and raised 2.3 kids, or because you lived past 30 without bleaching your hair.

Courageous people do. They act. They think critically. They accept mountainous challenges. They problem solve. They don’t ask for help they could do without. They do things that are against the norm. Courageous people are the ones who just do what needs to get done. Not for accolades. Not for hero status. And the most courageous people will probably never consider themselves so, because they were just doing the right thing.

So I’ll just end by saying I’d love to be courageous someday. But I’ll probably never move to France, so if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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2 thoughts on “Courage {Prompted}

  1. Pingback: Courage {prompted} | River Ramblings

  2. Pingback: The Question Of Character And Courage | We dream of things that never were and say: "Why not?"

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