The Story of Her Braverism

You know the question people sometimes ask when they try to get to know you?  The one that goes, “If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?”

I hate that question.  I am not a very succinct writer (or speaker, for that matter {in fact, I may just be the wordiest person I know [hence all the tangents in brackets]}), so it’s impossible for me to describe anything in just one word, least of all my own complicated self.

Profile Picture CamilleOne word?  Oh, how to even begin…

But if I were to try to describe myself in one word, I would probably use “eccentric.”  Or “loud.”  Or maybe just “loco en la cabeza.”  {See what I mean about being long-winded?}

One word I would never think to call myself is brave.

I don’t like confrontation, and avoid it at all costs.  In fight-or-flight situations, I am a major flyer.  I run like the wind whenever I feel at all endangered.  By every definition of the word, I’m a typical scaredy cat.

Which is why I have been caught off guard lately when several people have commented on how brave I am.  Say what? I know, right?  Weird.

But it seems like, these days, a lot of people have been telling me how brave I seem.

My sweet neighbor, for example, couldn’t believe it when she found out I went to get all four wisdom teeth taken out and didn’t call her to come with me for moral support.

“Why would I have done that?” I asked, totally baffled.

“Well, you don’t have your mother here to take care of you—a scary surgery like that, I would think you’d want a mother to hold your hand!”  Her eyes started watering in what I could only assume was her utmost expression of pity on me, the poor little orphan girl who lives across the street.  Never mind that I’m 22 years old and married—I needed a motherly influence, darn it!

“I wasn’t all alone, though.  I had Kyle.”

“It’s just not the same thing, you poor dear.  You’re so brave.”

Last summer, I drove to Mesa, Arizona from Southern Alberta, Canada in Tamra Camry, round trip, all by myselfTwice.  I enjoyed myself quite thoroughly, and I’m honestly a little sad to know I won’t be doing it again this summer.

More recently, I’ve received a lot of comments from people saying how frightful it must have been to meet all those blogging friends, and how it takes a lot of courage to do something like that, and how they could never possibly do something so scary.

For a while, every time someone new told me how brave I was for doing such-and-such, I’d just shake my head incredulously.  “These people are insane,” I’d think.

But one day, I paused in a moment of self-reflection, and came to the conclusion that actually, I might be a wee bit braver than I’ve ever given myself credit for.

I’ve skydived.  I’ve coloured my hair completely blonde.  I’ve visited a friend of mine in New York for a week, and spent many hours perusing the city all by myself.  I’ve rappelled down the side of cliffs.  I’ve moved to Belgium to work as a nanny for French people I had only met on Skype™.

Louvre Garden Statues, Paris

I’ve stayed in an apartment in Paris and made my way around that amazing city all by myself for an entire week (with only 150 Euros to my name).  I’ve gotten hairs ripped from very sensitive pores with hot wax.  I’ve competed in a dadgum pageant—I’ve bounced around on a stage wearing spandex, and stood there in an evening gown in front of an auditorium full of people, and answered a question into a microphone.  I didn’t win, but for heaven’s sake—I finished.

And guess what?  I did not head into a single one of those experiences without a feeling of complete anxiety inside my self.  Each time, as I approached yet another moment that I suspected would change my life, I peed my pants a drop or two.  The day I boarded my flight to Paris, I hugged my dad and sobbed, completely soaking his shirt with my snot and tears—I was so scared.

According to the dictionary widget on my dashboard, a brave person can endure or face unpleasant conditions without showing fear.  By this definition, I am no more brave than I am a good dancer {I’m a lousy dancer, by the way}.

But my own definition of “brave” is a little different.  The way I see it, a brave woman should be able to endure or face unpleasant conditions, showing however much fear is necessary to get her through the day, but ultimately go ahead and do what needs to be done.

Brave?

Is there anything wrong with being brave?  Why have I denied myself the title for so many years?  Why have I always considered myself to be a total weakling?  I can be brave.  I will be brave.  I am brave.

Heck, just this morning, I cleaned out the clogged shower drain with my bare hands.

Hair Clogging Shower DrainThis isn’t my own photo, but it was pretty much exactly this awful.  Image from here.

It’s my blog, and I’ll be brave if I want to.

And you?  Are you brave, or chicken beep?  Have you overcome any gut-wrenching fears lately?

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at facebook.com/archivesofourlives, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in introspection, It's All Good, looking back, self-actualisation, what I'm about and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to The Story of Her Braverism

  1. Holly Decker says:

    in the words of Busy Bee Lauren: that is SICKNAST.

    and that is how i felt about watching Man vs Wild today… as he ate raw yak eyeballs. um… ew.

  2. Jenn says:

    WOW, you are only 22? I guess I just assume everyone is the same age that I am. After reading your accomplishments, I’d say you are very brave. You had anxiety going into those things, but it didn’t stop you from completing them – good for you!

  3. Joel says:

    I don’t know about bravery. I usually just go ahead and do whatever needs to be done, cause I need to do it regardless of how I feel about it deep down inside. I guess deep down inside I realize I don’t have much say in the matter, or that I already did have my say and this is the consequence.

    Like yesterday when the doctor gave me the numbing stuff prior to stitching me up. That crap hurt more than the initial accident, but I was going to be numb or have a needle rammed into and out of my open wound while I could feel it. I shrugged when he said he was going to numb me, cause I didn’t have a choice. So no point in crying about it.

    So I don’t know if I fit the definition of brave, but I consider myself “not-wussy”.

    (Side note, Mrs. English-major: I never know where to put the second set of quote marks in the above situation. My first instinct is after the period like it were a spoken quote, but because it is just a more-or-less emphasized phrase, I go with before the period. I figure the British [who actually invented English] always put the quotes before the period, so that is never technically wrong. Thus I think my placement safe, though I’m not sure if it is the proper, American way. Thoughts?)

  4. Crissie says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. You have a wonderful way with words. I’m wondering about my own bravery (or lack thereof). I don’t think I’m brave, but I have stepped outside of my comfort zone more often in the last 10 years of my life than I ever did when I was a young woman.
    Your post has me looking at my life with a new appreciation for all the little things I’ve done that I was afraid of while they were happening. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    A.) That last picture is the most disgusting image I’ve seen today. And I’ve already changed Preston’s diaper after he’d eaten 20+ cherries. B.) You are brave. It’s about time you start giving yourself credit. C.) I agree with your new definition. I think it takes more courage to show one’s fear than to suppress it.

  6. I think I just threw up in my mouth. That hair tangle thingy looks like seaweed…and I am not ok with that. Sick to the nast!

    I am so a scaredy cat. I am in no way brave.

  7. kat says:

    Gag, gag hairball! That tops the list on my least favorite things to do (See).

  8. Tierra C. says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Your new definition of brave, is what I would apply to myself.

    My mother passed away two yrs. ago when I was 21 very unexpectedly. I remember for weeks ladies at church or friends would say I was so brave going through that whole ordeal.

    Esp. when I had to do the veiwing the night before the funeral. I stood at that line for 3 hours greeting people with a smile on my face to let people know that i would be okay as they were trying to console me. Inside, I was ready to barf but…l didnt really see it as being brave.

    I simply just did what I had to do to get throught the moment.

    Great read! I’m enjoying getting to know you better through your blog :)

  9. DeAnna says:

    I really think that Bravery is almost completely in the eye of the beholder. When you are terrified out of your pants and do something that is incredibly difficult you are seen as brave. Not entirely sure how that works…maybe it’s that people just can’t see how scared you really are. I would consider you pretty freakin brave to take on things like living alone in Paris or Skydiving and all the rest you listed!

    I don’t consider myself brave, just very able to get things done when they need to be. My hubby considers me brave when it comes to creepy-crawlys, I don’t hesistate to pick up a spider, garden snake or catepillar & return it to the outdoors where it belongs. I do have my fears, heights and tiny spaces, which somehow I still climb really high mountains and go into rather short crawl spaces on a regular basis. So I guess maybe in retrospect I am a wee bit more on the brave side too. Great post!!

  10. I guess im chicken beep.

    :)

  11. Geneva says:

    Yay! You are brave! I’m glad that you can finally see it a bit. And this post should have included a Jr. Miss photo or two.

  12. shalynna says:

    Should we share pageant stories? It’s a secret that I was ever in one, though, so don’t tell anyone!

    I am not brave. I typically get scared at night or in my sleep. Sometimes I yell out the words Mommy and Daddy in my sleep if I am having a bad dream or something. Hopefully I’ll graduate and start calling out my husband’s name or something.

  13. niki says:

    yes, i would agree, you are brave. i think traveling alone, especially to new places, is one of the bravest things someone could do. heck, i have a huge anxiety attack if i have to fly on a southwest plane home from utah all by myself…luckily i’ve only had to do that once.

  14. RatalieNose says:

    I balled like a baby when I went to Paris too!!!TWINS! I liked this.

  15. mameelynn says:

    I’ve been without a computer for a while so this is a little late but anywho!!! I for sure think that you are brave! I think that I’m more like you when people tell me I’m brave… I don’t really think so at the time but when I look back I can’t believe how brave I was at the time…. Even today I look at last night ( I went to my mom’s for 10 days with two babies and it was a 3 hr drive each way) and I can’t believe I was that brave…or stupid… to do that…. sure there were a few times that all 3 of us were crying but we got there and had a great time and we made it home in one piece…. I guess I think that being brave is when I’m worried or scared to do something but I don’t let that stop me from doing it….

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