Momalom's Five for Ten: Courage
I am a coward. For too long, I have kept quiet and played the game that I was taught as a little girl. Put on a brave face, smile, and no one knows.
But I know. And there comes a point when you cannot lie to yourself any more.
Courage comes in many forms. For many, the very word conjectures images of service men and women, fighting shoulder to shoulder on foreign lands, to protect others. The images might be of local police and fire men and women.
But courage is not limited to those images.
Courage is taking off the bandages from over your eyes, and seeing for the first time. Courage is waking up one morning and deciding that you will no longer sit in denial. Courage is sitting in front of a stranger, telling your story, asking for help, and then doing it.
Courage to not continue on the merry-go-round of dysfunction. Of stopping the cycle of manipulation, verbal abuse and alcoholism. Of trying out happiness instead of continuing to drown in sadness.
Courage is then living with the consequences. The silence. The anger. The reality of what happens when you no longer are willing to play the brave face game. The consequences of courage.
Sometimes, you do the most growing up as an adult. When you are responsible for the lives of your children. When you know that your decisions will have real, lasting effects on those lives you would do anything to protect.
So, in my case, courage has meant that I have had to finally face the inadequacies of my life. Of how my parents' decisions shaped me, how those scars were created, how they healed, and how I cannot erase them. They are there to remind me.
Courage has meant silencing the mindless chatter that insinuates that I am not worthy of happiness, as defined by me.
Courage was saying "yes" to a life with a man I love, and trusting that my outcome would be different than the one I had experienced in my young life.
Courage has meant seeing the beauty that my husband and I have created in our life together, in spite of having no role model to go by, in my case.
Courage has meant realizing that living a fantasy for others is something I cannot continue to do at my expense, and have my husband and sister to support and comfort me.
Courage meant becoming a mother, because my heart wanted it so, even though I was terrified of the mistakes I would make.
Becoming a mother put a whole different spin on courage. Because mothering isn't for sissies.
Mothering requires courage from the get-go. Being wheeled into an emergency cesarean. Watching your child struggle against their own physical limitations. Praying for God's mercy when sitting in front of pediatric specialists. Praying that you are doing the right thing.
Courage has meant venturing out of my comfort zone, putting myself out there, so that my limitations do not become my children's limitations.
Courage has meant putting my fear of water aside, and learn how to swim as an adult, with my sons at the edge of the pool, cheering me on.
Courage has meant holding a snake, in spite of the horror on my oldest son's face, so that my fears are not his fears.
Courage has meant facing my own limitations, knowing when I can "fix" things, and trusting that I don't have all the answers.
Courage has meant that I heal myself, love myself, change myself, so that this mother's inadequacies do not scar her children. So that she can be an example that she can be proud of.
Courage has meant crossing over into the fantasy of a little girl, who would often dream of the life this woman now claims as her own.
It takes courage to unchain yourself from a painful past, one that limits your capacity for inner peace and happiness.
Maybe, I am not a coward after all...