Courage in myself is verb: an action I take (or don’t).

How do I confront someone about things that happened in the past? How do I broach a subject that makes me nervous? How do I admit that I was wrong, or they were wrong or we were wrong or right or stupid or hurtful or life-saving? I find that the amount of courage one has can define a person. I don’t argue that someone who is loud is necessarily brave and worth praise or that someone who always blurts out their thoughts is the hero. I think that courage is when someone who might be normally very shy about their feelings, finally steps up to the batter’s box and hits a ball out of the park by saying that they’re uncomfortable or sad or angry. Courage is knowing when a situation may be very uncomfortable, but for the sake of one’s well-being, something must be done to create a better harmony for everyone involved.

I think I struggle with the courage to admit that I need to slow down. I find my brain moving a thousand words an hour and there are no stop signs or speed limits, so I’ll just speed up until my motor overheats and I find myself exhausted. Lately, I’ve been grappling with the idea of what strength is required to say and do the right things for myself when I am around another person. Most times, I find I blow past uncomfortable feelings for the sake of making everyone “feel better” when actually, I don’t feel good. I am trying to practice more with having the courage to say what I feel by finding the vocabulary to even describe that feeling. It’s a hard road to hoe, and as I practice, I notice others doing the same thing. Maybe that’s the defining factor of an adult? Toddlers certainly know how to express their voice, then they lose that ability, and spend their entire adult life re-learning it.

As I think about what it means to be in an interaction with someone else, be it friend, lover, or family member, I really strive to make sense of what it means for me to communicate meaningfully with that person, rather than try and avoid the potential friction. Why is that so hard?! I feel like I am very slowly learning a language and trying very hard to speak it.

As I move forward with upcoming relationships (and there will be a whole lot of that) I find I am the speed cop on that highway were thoughts are moving a thousand words an hour. I have to police these speeding objects and investigate what’s going on and slow them down in the hopes that no one goes to fast for their own good. Maybe then, courage and the vocabulary to say and express what I need from someone will feel safe enough to cross the street.

September 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm by Natalie Allen