I tried Soulcycle for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was incredible – the best workout of my life.
The teacher said something that really resonated with me:
Bravery is not the absence of fear. It is feeling all the fear about something and doing it anyway.
I wanted to scream “Amen!” but that seemed a bit dramatic so I kept pedaling. But now that I’m alone in a coffee shop with my computer, I can shout it across the internet: AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
I always thought of bravery as being the province of the very few: the scientist who swims with sharks; the stuntman who dives off a cliff; the soldier who leads the cavalry charge.
But bravery is not just diving off a cliff or jumping out of a plane. And you know what? If a person has zero fear about jumping out of a plane, then they are not being brave. They are just having fun.
An everyday person can be as brave as the most bad ass hero. If getting on an elevator scares the crap out of you, but you get on it anyway and ride it all the way to the top of the Empire State Building, then you are brave. If blood tests make you want to run, but you submit to the phlebotomist’s needle, you are brave. Or if going on a blind date makes you jittery, but you suck it up and go, then you are as brave as anyone I know.
Bravery happens everyday. For everyone.
Especially for moms with maternal mood disorders.
When I had postpartum depression, the idea of calling my doctor scared the shit out of me. Something in my soul felt wrong, but what if she thought I was just lazy or weak and told me to take more vitamins? I made an appointment with my ob/gyn anyway. I was brave.
I was afraid that my husband would be disappointed in me if I admitted myself to the hospital for psychiatric care. I did it anyway. I was brave.
I was terrified of what the other moms in my mommy and me class would think if they knew I had postpartum depression and needed Zoloft to feel okay. I told them anyway. I was brave.
The idea of trying my gym’s Zumba class made me want to puke. I tried it anyway. I was brave.
The idea of starting a podcast about postpartum depression paralyzed me with fear. I suppressed the idea for months. But the idea would not leave me alone, so I bought a microphone and started my show. I was brave.
Now I am petrified that when I finish my memoir and publish it, no one will buy or read it. But you know what? I am going to publish it anyway because fuck fear.
I am brave.
p.s. I hope you like the totally random camping illustrations but to me, camping = bravery. So there you go.
p.p.s. YOU are brave, too.