Being brave looks different from person to person. Brave can mean giving your heart away when it has been shattered before. Brave can mean saying no to someone instead of being everything for everybody. Brave can mean risking your life and marching into battle.
For others, brave is not as romantic or heroic sounding. For me, being brave means looking someone in the eyes when my hair doesn’t feel “just right” and when I don’t have a brush of eye-liner on my upper eyelid. Brave means being seen as I am. So imperfect. So real.
I think I was born with an extra dose of vulnerability. Fragile and sensitive. Looking into someone’s eyes with a naked face or when my hair’s not braided just so or if it’s hanging down my cheek the wrong way, feels very exposing to me. We all have safety blankets. At least that’s what I’ve come to understand. It just so happens that my safety blanket is to try and hide under my own skin. It’s a pretty relentless and unachievable safety blanket.
And that’s a good thing.
Because we were not born to hide. I may have been born with an extra gene of vulnerability, but with vulnerability comes bravery and change. We were made to be brave. It’s in our DNA. We’re designed to fight off bears, march into battle, sleep in the wilderness, and perhaps most importantly: to show up and allow ourselves to be seen as we are. Beautifully broken.
Songwriting and recording my album Serenity allowed me to access and express my true, authentic self. I’d become a stranger to the person inside. I remember standing in the studio with my quivering lips an inch from the microphone, so unsure, so timid. But it was there in the studio that I unmasked the hidden darkness of my mental illness with my whole heart. It was the most daunting, vulnerable and emotionally exposing experience of my life.
But it changed my life because for the first time, I showed up and allowed myself to be seen. It’s the bravest thing I’ve ever done. And because I broke through the chains, I became free.
Ask yourself: What does an act of bravery look like to you? Do you enter into the opportunity to be brave when you’re given the chance? Or do you shy away and retreat into your turtle shell?
Being brave is a choice.