What does it mean to be brave? I bet if you asked 100 different people, you’d get 100 different answers. And from the answers, you could tell a lot (or a little) about the person who gave it/them. Some might say bravery is serving in the military and sacrificing your liberties (and possibly life) for the country. Another person might say bravery is going on a blind date. And another might say its wearing white after Labor Day. Is that still a thing?

I think that’s all brave. And I wouldn’t do any of it. Well–maybe wear the white–but only because I often times lose track of days and months. You know how it is. For the first three months of a new year, you write the previous year on everything. And by the time you get in the habit, the year is coming to an end, and you gotta start dating shit for the next year. I know that can’t just be me.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines brave as “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.”

The 100 people above would define danger, pain, and courage differently as well.

Bravery is the dear friend who’s losing her life to pancreatic cancer but is as joyful as ever and stronger in her faith, not at all fearing the passing of this life or the beginning of the next.

Bravery is the friend who has a neurological disease that’s slowly robbing her of all functions and killing her slowly but she still greets everyone with a smile from her wheelchair.

Bravery is the friend who moved across the country from everyone and everything she knows to start a new life in search of peace, happiness, and unity with people of like minds and experiences.

Bravery is the friend who got rid of everything she owned, packed her car, and decided where ever she stopped, she’d plant new roots and start over.

Bravery is the friend who lives halfway around the world with 3 of her 4 children, fighting her soon-to-be ex husband for her life, all the while trying to stay sane and faithful in her own living hell as her mother’s body is overtaken by pancreatic cancer 12 plane hours away.

Bravery is the friend who moved away from everything and everyone she knows to get off drugs, stay off them, and enjoy the family she ran from.

Bravery is the man who pretends to hold it together for his wife as he watches her deteriorate from cancer.

Bravery is the friend who moved across the world to start college and pursue her dreams while her family is at war with each other.

Bravery is the friend who told his family he is gay and will not be marrying any woman in this life.

Bravery is the friend who hides his marriage from his employers who’d fire him for being gay.

Bravery is the friend who moves to a closet in the Bible-thumping south to be near his mother.

Bravery is the woman who admitted defeat and let her husband run around until they could go their separate ways.

Bravery is the friend who doesn’t tell an acquaintance who’s mourning the loss of her boyfriend that her beloved tried to rape her.

Bravery is the friend who put her job on the line to protect the truth from the lies of the powers that be.

Bravery is the friend who quit drinking and risked death in detox to enjoy his baby boy.

Bravery is learning how to live sober and having and feeling emotions.

Bravery is the friend who found a way to tell her mother she’s bisexual and has found happiness with another woman.

Bravery is the friend who buried one twin newborn while learning to care for the other.

Bravery is the friend who found new love after her newlywed husband passed away.

Bravery is the friend who can function as she mourns the loss of her only son who saved people from drowning in a boat accident on Lake Erie.

Bravery is the friend who cares for her elderly parents alone while the rest of her family is absorbed in their own lives.

Bravery is the friend who’s 57, never married, and hasn’t given up on love.

Bravery is the friend who has been abused, bullied, and mistreated all her life but refuses to be consumed by hatred.

Bravery is the friend who always wears a smile despite working with and for power-hungry assholes with control issues who don’t actually wear the pants in their families.

Bravery is the friend who risked the best friendship she ever had to admit the truth of her love and adoration, slightly hopeful, only to be completely destroyed by what she believed was her biggest fear.

Bravery is the best friend who didn’t feel the same but didn’t want to lose her or have anything change.

Bravery is the friend who freely discusses her mental health issues to ease the comfort of those who silently struggle.

Bravery is the friend in her early 40’s with 3 young children, 2 of which are extremely autistic.

Bravery is the friend who sits in a courtroom with her son who watches the fate of a man who sexually abused him.

Bravery is the friend who raised a daughter with no mother of her own.

Bravery is the girl who was impregnated by her father in high school.

Bravery is the 400 lb friend who blocks out the silent judgment and criticism in the gym everyday.

Bravery is the friend who continues to put one foot in front of the other while every part of her world burns to the ground.

Bravery is the friend who doesn’t worry where he, his wife, and their 6 kids will live once his landlord sells their home.

Bravery is the friend who chooses life and unbearable pain over death.

Bravery is any motherfucker who crosses me! ha!

Seriously–bravery: there’s a lot of it going on. In a world full of opinions, judgments, and make believe, it is brave to be exactly who you are, say what you feel, and do whatever makes you happy. We’ve all got this one life, and without the risks, what is there?

Be brave. Take some risks. Get hurt. Admire the wounds. And be proud of yourself. Life is hard, but it’s all we’ve got.


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