Yesterday I had two people call me brave. It was unexpected and got me thinking about what does being brave exactly mean. Why was this particular word used to describe me twice in one day? I didn’t understand how I was brave.Sometimes bravery is easy to spot. The military, clearly made up of brave individuals. Our firemen and police force, brave indeed. But I am none of those things. I am pretty much scared of everything. So how am I brave?
As I was lying in bed trying to figure this out, I got thinking about those people in my life who I consider brave. There are so many of them. Single moms are brave. Fighting illness is brave. Going through a divorce is brave. Starting a new relationship is brave. Taking a final is brave. And these are just examples of people I know. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the brave people out there in this world.But I am neither of these examples I mentioned. But what I think I share with these courageous people is strength. Yes, strength can lead to bravery. Not just physical strength, but any kind of strength. I am not especially strong in the “gym” sense, but my life has taught me inner strength. I haven’t had the best go of it in my life. I could easily use that as an excuse to just throw in the towel, but how is that brave? I already bottle up so much, how would giving up help? It wouldn’t. While I can’t seem to catch a break sometimes and think “something has got to give,” I don’t let it destroy me. This struggle is real and sometimes wins. But then I just have to get myself back up and try again. That might be the marathoner in me or craziness, thin line sometimes.
I am not saying that I never have those defeated days, I am saying that I strive to get out of those moments. And how do I do that? It is simple, I smile. I smile through the pain. I smile at the world. That’s fine life, keep fucking me, but you won’t break this smile. Lord knows I paid enough for it. Behind closed doors I may be sad, but when I walk out in the world, you won’t know. I smile. I celebrate your success. I celebrate the day. I celebrate just waking up that morning. There are better people worse off, who am I to take anything away from those people? I am a nobody. I struggle but I smile. Simple and dumb maybe, but it is me. There is no excuse in this world to be unkind.Oh people will push you and belittle you, but let them be miserable, you be kind. Clearly Laura Bush is kind. Be honest, but be kind. You will be amazed at how it makes you feel. And damn it, smile!
No one demonstrates how a smile can work more than Laura Bush. No one is perfect, but when you see her you would never know if she wasn’t happy. Her husband’s presidency was tumultuous, especially at the end, but she was always smiling, always kind. If she can do it when her husband is getting it worse than I could ever imagine, then damn right I can smile through the pain. Even after George W. left office, he was still the scapegoat and completely destroyed in the media, but the Bush family still smiled. They didn’t lower themselves to act and treat others how they were being treated, they smiled and showed the world they were Ok.So as I go out in the world today, I will smile. I will remember that a smile can do wonders. And I will ask, what would Laura Bush do?