You. You’re reading this but you don’t think you’re brave. But I see you everyday. Bearing up under intense work KPIs from 9am to 5pm. I see you as you rush in your car to pick up your kids. Your second job. Or first. It depends how one looks at it and which day. You just need a warm dinner, a glass of wine, and sleep…but you’ve got three boisterous kids to cook for, get ready for bed and prep for school tomorrow. Each morning, you tussle with yourself. You feel exhausted and would rather hide under the sheets than face a new day. But eventually you peel the covers off, chin up and face another day. Yes, you are brave.
And you over there. You’re reading this too and you’re thinking, well, that’s not me. I’m single and I can’t even face my days. She’s brave, I’m just a coward. I’m just an ugly looser.
Well I’m not so sure! I see you everyday. Most of your friends are married. And happily too. Most of your colleagues your age are married or getting married. Each day they go home to someone to chat with and share their day, but for you interaction with the human race ends when you hop in your car (or public transport) to go home. Yes you feel lonely, but I see you making use of your time getting a new degree, starting a business, offering to babysit, engaging in various activities and even catching up for coffee with your married friends. Oh yes, you’re brave. You could curl up in your shell and wait for Mr handsome knight to come breaking down your door, but you’re taking your life by the hand and doing what needs to get done. Everyday. You turn up to work and do a great job. You’re brave.
And you, life’s going well for you and you’re thinking, I might have to be brave if things weren’t going well, but right now, its all good and I don’t think I’m actually needing to be brave right now. Therefore, I’m not brave. Just not yet.
I see you too. You seem to be surrounded by friends or family that have lots of stuff going on. Major stuff. You seem to have it together so they call you to chat or cry and you offer a listening ear. You make that drive to be there for them, it’s the least you could do. It would be nice to get a ‘happy’ phone call but you suppose life does suck for them right now and you shouldn’t ask for too much. You, my friend, are brave. You could just ‘hands-off’ and mind your life and just refer them to a doctor or psychologist or ignore their call because its getting too much. But you offer your time and are there for them, asking nothing in return. Yes, you’re brave for them.
I came across the quote above and it stole my breath away. You may have noticed that I have been quiet for some weeks. My usual schedule of work + 3 kids + blog + business was heavily underpinned by having hubby around to share the load. Well, recently he went for a quick trip and I took some leave, intending to return to full swing when he returned. Well, the winds blew differently and he ended up hanging out there for much longer than expected, so I had to return to work and attempt to wear all the different hats on my own. As though the winds not blowing my way wasn’t enough, the salt began to get in my eyes because I couldn’t make my lectures anymore and I had exams coming up (an accounting module..eeek), then my dishwasher broke, and eventually I became sick. Oh and due to circumstances beyond his control, hubby did not have an ETA just yet. Beauty!
However, as things usually work, everywhere I turned, I saw the word BRAVE. Every ladies catch up I went for had the word as a theme. For mother’s day, I was given a gorgeous mug with the words, “Brave women run in my family”. I became convinced that these reminders were very timely, so I looked up the meaning of the word brave. Here’s what I found
That was it! I was standing in the storm and all natural inclinations where to huddle up, and stagger away to some shelter to wait it out. But no! I had to STAND. I had to do this…I had to cope. Yes treacherous winds were in my eyes and my vessel was beginning to drift to a destination I didn’t want, so I had to adjust my sails. I might need to wake up earlier. I had no idea how I would pass the course, but I wasn’t going to give up. If I had to talk to the VC, I would. Ok, I could handwash the dishes till I could get the dishwasher fixed BUT dear God please don’t let the car or the washing machine break down because then I would be stuffed for real
I supposed I could take public transport and use a friend’s washing machine, but PLEASE sweet heaven, don’t let it get to that.
I changed my schedule, it took a couple of weeks of adjusting and readjusting but I finally got to where I was running like a machine. I reached out to beautiful friends who agreed to babysit on the weekends so I could at least attend the tutorials. I took up any offers to sleep over with the kids at a friend’s place on the weekend so I could chat and recharge and focus on someone else. Eventually, things clicked and hubby cut short his trip some weeks before my exams.
I have done the exams and I have done very well in the course. Who would have thought?
Many days I didn’t think I was brave. We are not brave only when we’re dealing with big issues like cancer or loss of a loved one. Those require immense bravery, yes, but most times we are brave when we wake up and face the day without knowing what it will bring.
Hey, keep being brave. The world is better because you’re here.