Monday, May 10, 2010

Courage is within all of us


I'm attempting another writing exercise, this time from the sisters over at Momalom. Today's topic is Courage.

I do not consider myself a brave person.

I'm scared of lots of things. There is the silly stuff that terrifies me, like big hairy spiders (okay, even the small bald ones) that crawl across our ceiling and, if my husband doesn't immediately squash it, I'm positive it will descend on its silken string and investigate my ear drum in the middle of the night; scary movies, especially if they deal with paranormal creepiness; mayonnaise; the sight of my hair after it air-dries.

Then there's the BIG stuff: Something happening to my husband or, heaven forbid, one of my kids; dying before I see my kids grow up; dying at all; not being a good enough mother, wife, friend.

And yet.

I have courage. I know this. Even though I might like to say things like,"It had to be done, I had no choice, if I can do it, anyone can," the truth is, we always have a choice, and not everyone can do what I've done.

We need to give ourselves credit and for once say, "Yes. I was extraordinarily brave." Even if the person next to us has done that very thing a million times - before breakfast. It's not about other people. It's about us, stepping out of our comfort zone and facing our fears.

It's not always about the grand gesture. It's the little things inside each of us, the small victories.

Here are some of my moments (and for some reason, I keep hearing the Cowardly Lion snuffle, "Courage!" after each of these):

Hauling my exhausted body, clad in extra-large sweatpants, to a new mom's support group when Sawyer was seven weeks old. I'm not a joiner, but I knew I needed to get out of the house, no matter how awful and embarrassed I felt about myself.

Going to a Team in Training meeting, thinking I'd sign up for a half-marathon, and ending up registering to run the whole 26.2 - and then doing it. Twice.

Telling my OB that no, I would NOT be getting an internal every week after my 36th week of pregnancy. Learning that this society has a very effed up perception of childbirth and deciding I would take control - as much as I could. Having a surprise home birth and then, with X, a planned home birth. No drugs. None needed. I learned I am far stronger than I'd imagined.

Advocating - again and again and again - for my son due to his peanut allergy. I don't like confrontation, but I will do it - EVERY TIME - in order to protect him, no matter what his teachers or other parents think. Even if my heart races and my stomach hurts and I have to see their eyes roll.

Watching that son disappear into his kindergarten classroom for the first time and not rushing the door to hug him one more time. Letting X run on his unsteady feet, because you have to let him go, even if you're sure he's going to take a digger.

Writing my truth. This is by far the most courageous thing I do (other than raising my children). Words, once out there, can't be taken back. I write things that maybe other people wouldn't: my ambivalence about my pregnancy with X, that being a mother sometimes really sucks, about my tummy cellulite. I speak up for those who don't. Or can't.

This doesn't always make me popular.

But it always makes me real, like it or not.

24 comments:

Jennifer said...

You do such a good job at "keeping it real" - it is one of the main reasons I love your blog. You continue to inspire as well as remind us moms that it is okay to admit we struggle sometimes.

mummyjanie said...

Great post. I like the line:

"It's not always about the grand gesture. It's the little things inside each of us, the small victories."

So true, courage is built out of the small wins. The small wins then give us the courage/skill/confidence to get through the really difficult challenges.

kirsten said...

I'M afraid of mayonnaise! We're like soul sisters! ;)

this is tremendous Cheryl. I don't know what it is in the genetic makeup, but it seems hard for women to admit to being courageous. And yet - we are. We are every single day.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Stopping from SITS! Sounds like a lot of courage to me.

middleagedcrazywoman said...

That's a lot of honesty, it's supposed to be good for the soul isn't it? I hope it brings you strength to continue - strong women are needed by those of us who aren't as strong or are just feeling our way to it.

Being an advocate for your children is hard - sounds like you are doing a good job of it for your children, even with the eye rolling...

M

plangirl/kelli said...

oh, I like it! : )

the mombshell said...

You are so right about societies perception of birth and it does take courage to stand up that! Also spiders suck!

Yankee Wife said...

I happen to be one that LOVES it! You are very courageous and keeping it real proves it. I don't consider myself courageous, but looking back on some of the things I've done I guess I am. I just didn't know it at the time! Ha!

sadiesmom said...

I love honest and it takes true courage! Just from this blog I know I need to put you on my regular blog roll! I am tired of reading (and listening)to mom's only talk about the positive in their lives! I'm not saying we should focus on the negative, but we need each other to be real. We are all struggling with insecurities, relationships, and our kids at times. Thak you for keeping it real!

Christine said...

My kind of lady! Enjoyed this post, and really I'm enjoying all the Courage posts that talk about the courage that comes from the everday and the important in our individual lives. It's a new outlook for me and I like it. I can really relate to your courage to tell your story, to write your truth. I'm walking that past too, and wow it's amazing.

Glad to find you here, looking forward to reading more of your Five for Ten posts.

TKW said...

Oh my God, it does take courage to look at my hair after it air dries. I am a Warrior!!

This post had me smiling and nodding my head the whole way through. I really enjoy your light touch and sense of humor. I'll be back!

Denise said...

Visiting from FiveforTen. I really enjoyed our post--and agree that we all must openly embrace our courage. This unleashes more and more. And as for the bravery to speak your truth--bring it. Always better than the alternative. Glad to meet you!

terry said...

Glad you joined the conversation. I learned something from you today. I learned to give myself more credit. That just because it's hard and I do it doesn't been I'm not brave--just the opposite.

Thanks for the reminder

terry said...

Glad you joined the conversation. I learned something from you today. I learned to give myself more credit. That just because it's hard and I do it doesn't been I'm not brave--just the opposite.

Thanks for the reminder

BigLittleWolf said...

Thank you for visiting my site today. And some of us much prefer real over popular.

It sounds like your courage is a packet of attributes, not the least of which is being yourself in a society that is much more comfortable with conformity rather than individuality - despite our own nifty press to the contrary.

Sarah said...

"Even if the person next to us has done that very thing a million times - before breakfast."

Oh yes yes yes. That's the thing with being brave, with making a decision (small or large), with making a change. It doesn't matter if your neighbor or your sister or that mom at the dang PTO meeting has done it and made it all seem effortless, now YOU are doing it and it's YOUR thing and it's YOU who must find the courage. And really, no matter how often I think...well, so-and-so can do it, I should be able to, too...I find confidence when I remember that people don't show their struggle quite as often as their success. They don't show their fears as often as their courage.

Terrific Post.

Privilege of Parenting said...

I really appreciate both your courage and your honesty about your fears, those help me feel more connected as I read, and as I live. Authenticity is the sort of courage that liberates and inspires us all to be brave and keep it real.

Shawna said...

I am so glad I found this post through Five For Ten! Wonderful writing: This part: "It's not about other people. It's about us, stepping out of our comfort zone and facing our fears." - so VERY true. Thank you.

The Mayor! said...

We can all find it within us just when we need it the most! And I can only imagine the courage it took for you to forge a path in the male dominated world of sports writers!

julie said...

Beautiful. Its wonderful that you recognize your courage. Its like the "I Can" book I'm working on with Middle. Recognizing just how courageous we are encourages us for the future.

Hmmm... I just realized that courageous and encourage are nearly the same. Coincidence? I think not!

Okay, that was totally cheesey, but, really, your courage can only encourage others to succeed.

BTW, I'm TERRIFIED for death. There are nights that I lose sleep over it. Its been a problem since I was a child. (and it takes a lot of courage to admit that, so pats on the back to both of us.)

Ugh. Its too late for me to be writing. 'night.

a li'l bit squishy said...

There is courage in the every day parts of life, big and small. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (PS I am a little scared of my airdried hair too!)

Pamela said...

Great post! I must say any woman who gives birth at home without drugs is courageous in my books!

Kristine said...

Thanks for the uplifting blog.

Stopping by from SITS!

http://ourporchswing.blogspot.com/

Lauren @ Embrace The Detour said...

I like you so much already! I'm two posts into your blog and haven't even made it to your "about me" page yet, and already I'm deeming you a kindred spirit. You words are so resonant, so real. Love this post.

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