Friday, August 9, 2013

Bravery

Turning pages, pausing to comprehend, writing to articulate in my own words, then comparing the figures with the text once more... Trying to absorb the information on how various muscles of the body are innervated. What the plexus does this do!?

It was at this time when a total stranger told me that I am brave. She said it because I was sitting in a restaurant, eating, and I was alone.

I was there to study and eat dinner because I hadn't been able to focus on my studies at home. So while husband and son were at home bonding, I studied at the library and then I relocated to study over dinner. 

Brave? What about this made me brave? Then I recalled a time in my life when there was no way that I would subject myself to being alone in public and eating dinner in a big booth.

Being alone in public, particularly while dining is a scary place to be for many people. When you feel this way about yourself, there is nothing more frightening than to be "publicly alone" - after all, if I believe no one wants to be around me, I must be a scary person and here I am alone with a very scary person. Agh!

But I'm not scary. The woman who commented to me that she could never do that, isn't scary. However, the perception that she is scary is incredibly real to her. 

Have you ever isolated yourself, hid yourself from public view because you were embarrassed of yourself? What if you say something silly? What will people think of you? For some people this is downright crippling.

I actually have many memories of ordering a large amount of take-out with the intention of eating it myself. At the time of pick-up for this food, I would ask for two packets of silverware, just to hide from a stranger that I would be eating the contents all by myself when I got home.

I ate to fill an emotional void inside of me. I ate a lot, in an attempt to not feel so alone.

The bravest thing I have ever done was to look at myself in the mirror and try to learn to love me. After doing that, sitting at a booth alone in a restaurant is not uncomfortable at all.

I am not a scary person. This woman who said I was brave, is not a scary person. We are beautiful people searching for a connection, meaning, and a purpose in life. 

We may not be picture perfect. We might have some social awkwardness and insecurity. 

It took practice to learn to like me. It took patience and tolerance to learn to love me.

The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one to have. God loves you as you are, why can't you? Why do we give up so quickly on ourselves? 

If you were incapacitated, it would just be you and your body - alone. Would you be kind to yourself in that state of mind and body? It is at times like this that I think of people like my Grandmother.

Grandma had a series of strokes. A beautiful, kind and caring woman. Left without words. Unable to care for herself. What did she think of? I sincerely hope she thought kind things about herself.

There were times I could see a flash of humor and a smirk come across her face. I love the idea that in that state she still found a way to laugh. Now that is bravery.

All of this reminds me of a Dustin Hoffman clip wherein speaking of his character Tootsie, Hoffman addressed how external beauty, as dictated by society, can affect our interest in getting to know a person.

Stepping away from what society says and accepting others regardless of their appearance and apparent awkwardness, especially in public is brave. Have you ever been the one accepted or rejected while in an awkward phase? Have you been the one to accept another?

Be brave - always.

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