When I am brave, I will face the page every day with excitement and expectation. I will build a pile of pages, some connected by thoughts and themes, and some individual ones, standing alone with a purpose. A poem. An essay. A journal post just for me.
When I am brave, I won’t be afraid of writing just for myself. I won’t expect to be published. I won’t hope to be published. I will simply write because it brings me joy. Brings me purpose. Brings me a shape to my days.
When I am brave, I will write the hard stories. The stories about death and betrayal and how it feels to be left behind. To not feel loved enough. Good enough. Special enough. I have experienced all these emotions, as turbulent and as harsh as they are. They have ripped up my heart and damaged my psyche, but they have made me who I am: someone who loves so hard, accepts people for who they are…until they wound me again. I can forgive a lot, but I can’t forgive myself if I allow myself to be hurt repeatedly. I have a duty to protect my soft inner child, the one who didn’t understand why my father left me when I was 6 for a woman with a small son, why he came back but slowly drank himself to death. Why he didn’t love me enough to quit drinking. That still hurts all these years later.
When I am brave, I will forgive myself for the choices I made when I was young and didn’t know better. The choices made when I thought I knew what I wanted out of life, and how I got out of relationships I didn’t want to be in any longer. I will forgive myself for hurting the people who hurt me. And I will forgive myself for hiding behind my excuses, my reasons, and accept that I did what I wanted to do, and I don’t need to sugar coat my actions to make other people feel better. To make myself feel better.
When I am brave, I will look at my life with wonder and appreciate that all the pain and hardship were worth it. And I will love myself for surviving. And thriving throughout everything. I will count through the years and realize I am who I am because of the pain, that I would be an entirely different person if I hadn’t experienced those hardships. I love myself, so my life has been a good one, even if it didn’t seem that way at the time when the tears ran hot and my heart was broken and the stress made me drop 10 lbs in a month and I made even worse choices when I was hurting so much.
When I am brave, I will own my grief and my anger. I won’t apologize for who I am.
When I am brave, I won’t wait to start living my best life. A creative life.
When I am brave, I will know I am brave. Right here, right now.
I am brave.