How are you brave?

Any attempt that I’ve ever made at bravery has been meagre. How could I ever have been brave in a situation? Trepidatious? Sure. Scared? Of course. Cowardly? Most definitely. But never quite brave.

Then again, if bravery is, indeed, acting despite fear or reservation, my general anxiety toward most things would mean that I’m forever brave. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, though. I won’t leave my apartment without first having showered and dressed. Those folks I see picking up delivery orders in their hoodies, pyjama pants, and socked feet in slippers, amaze me. How can they not be bothered about leaving the house looking like that? I’m more envious of them, I think, than I am sorry. Besides, I don’t really care that much. I just wouldn’t do it myself.

I don’t speak up often. When I do, I often forget what I wanted to say when I raised my hand. I’ll continue to talk, pretending that I remember. Eventually, I’ll have said something. My skin gets hot and the heat rises through my shirt collar when this happens. Moisture seeps from the pores on my forehead and underside of my chin. Afterward, I try repeating back to myself what I said, hoping to remember, while missing the discussion that follows. People have told me that I’m a good speaker.

Bravery isn’t so much of a virtue to me. Gumption should be more highly prized. It underpins most brave acts. Simply going forward without a plan or the necessary acumen is foolish. It’s best to be astute and resourceful. It’s that type of perseverance that leads to progress.


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