Monday, May 4, 2015

50 Shades of Bravery? #BeMyBrave

I am confident while there is a dictionary definition of what brave is, everyone has their own understanding of what brave means to them. To me brave means going out of your comfort zone, pushing yourself, and reaping the rewards of doing that and should anything bad or negative come from being brave you deal with it and conquering those things.
Deciphering the written word is a complexity that some may not completely understand. Have you ever read an e-mail or a text message and completely misinterpreted it? Have you read a book in year 12 English and interpreted it a completely different way to your classmates? Do you read the Bible or Book of Mormon (I am LDS) and get something different from it one day and something completely different the next time you read it? The written word may not always have the tone, the expression, or the intensity we intended it to have and that can go for both a positive and negative message. Our interpretation of what we read, even if it's a simple text message from a friend is dependant on our mood as well.  I think the same can be said of our understanding of what brave means to each of us. Our life experiences, our age, sex, self-worth, race, moods, religious and political beliefs all affect what we consider brave to be. 
As a child, being brave seems rather simplistic. We want to save the day, and be the hero. However as we grow up and insecurities creep into our conscious minds, brave reforms and reshapes. Brave then becomes complex and to some, harder to achieve. 
I really want to explore this whole concept of what brave is. As a mother, I want it to mean that my kids see me as a strong person who they can trust and depend upon. I want them to see me as the example of being an independent achiever. That I if I want something I don't always have to rely on someone else to help me get it. I hope that they see me as someone who doesn't get crippled by fear or the unknown. Unfortunately, I don't think I am all those things but fortunately, I am a work in progress. I do feel though that I am brave enough to admit that I am not all those things. That there are things that I can work on and be better at. 

There is a water park in Kiama NSW,called Jamberoo, some of you may know what I am talking about. There is a manmade cliff, called The Rock at this waterpark where you can jump off or step off a 5m high ledge into a very deep pool. This particular experience (I keep wanting to right ride, but its not a ride) cripples me. I have been to Jamberoo twice . The first time I went, back in 2012, I stood at the top of the 5m high ledge and almost jumped, but just could not bring myself to do it. I down graded to the shorter ledge  which is about 2.5m. Still, I was crippled with fear. The fear was not necessarily the height, though I do have a fear of heights, but it was the fact that I could not step off the platform and fall. I was falling into a reliable, purpose built, man made pool of water and there is no way I would hurt myself or even reach the bottom, but I was fearful "something" was not going to go right. It was a fear of the unknown. I left the park thinking how have I allowed myself to get to this point? I committed to myself that should I ever return to the park, I would at least jump off the smaller, 2.5m ledge. I happened to returned last year only to be crippled yet again with fear. The main thing driving myself was conquering a slide I went on in 2013 at WaterBom in Kuta, Bali called Climax (Take a look at it ). It took me 45 mins to muster the courage to let go of my fear and just get on with it. I did, and I actually enjoyed myself. For me however, it took a lot of self-convincing to be brave, a lot more than it would take others I am sure. So going back to Jamberoo in 2014, I was sure I could conquer, "The Rock. Sadly, I allowed fear to get the better of me yet again. I did actually jump, well, it was more like a push from my husband (I asked him to, not expecting him to!). I survived though. I didn't sink to the bottom and I didn't die or hyperventilate or anything. However, when I was given the opportunity to jump on my own, I still could not do it! Why could I not be brave? 

There is a side of me that will put myself out in public and be brave to stand in front of people and talk. I put silly DubSmash videos of myself on my Facebook page and don't think twice or hesitate at all about it. I don't care if people think I am crazy, I think I am funny and that is enough. It's baffling sometimes how all this works. 

Like I said, being brave means different things to each of us. I do believe there are much more than 50 shades to being brave. Writing that book in fact is a form of bravery. I wouldn't agree that it was a positive form of bravery, but none the less brave. Another aspect of my life which I would like to work on and pursue in a brave manner is driving. As a mother, you drive all over the place, you kinda have to. But if the destination is in the inner city, or the city, I grab that passenger seat faster than you can say, "Where's the GPS?" I loathe driving to unfamiliar territory. What if I make the wrong turn and can't get back? What if there is no right turn and I can't get back? What If I get lost and don't get back in time for school pick up? And the most dreadful of all questions, "What kind of parking is there? Will I have to parallel park?" Over the years I have got better, but there are still places that are a no-go zone if my husband is not driving. The city, the airport, inner western and Eastern Sydney are just a few examples of  places that make me breath funny just thinking about it. Too much traffic, narrow lanes, cranky drivers who don't like to let you in, crappy parking options. Its terrible, but pretty sad at the same time that such a simple thing requires planning and bravery, and prayer for me to achieve!! Though I should tell you in the last Summer school holidays I managed to drive to Bondi on my own, well the kids were in tow. It stressed me out and I took all the tolls because I was worried if I didn't I would get lost. I made it there and back again without any dents on the car and feeling rather pleased with myself. Though, if you ask me when am I going back? I will probably say, only if I have to!! This is all quite sad in a slightly pathetic way in all honesty. I really need to get over this. I am 36 years old and I have birthed 4 kids. What is wrong with me?  I have decided that I want to be braver with this. There only way I am going to conquer it, its to hit it straight on. I have to drive to these places. Anyone have any suggestions of where I should go? I might even be totally out there brave and Vlog these journeys of bravery. But really, I have to take this seriously, because I want my kids to see that overcoming even their weirdest fears is possible. 

  I wish to explore bravery further, it is an amazing part of the human psyche. It's not simple, its not cut and dry, and I do believe there are more than 50 shades of  Bravery.  I want to see what brave means to you. Please share your thoughts in the comments, your definitions, a quote you live by, a scripture, or a relevant blog post. You will find me on Instagram and Pinterest. Use the hashtag #bemybrave to share your thoughts on social media.

 What do you want to work on that is currently crippling you? This 50 Shades of Bravery is what I think will shape my 2015. I have a lot to face, and a lot to own up to and conquer. Are you with me?

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