Linking up for another lovely Five Minute Friday with the lovely, lovely Lisa-Jo. Because even in the busy-ness of a Friday morning, you can find five minutes if you try.
This week’s prompt? Is brave.
In my younger years, I was the very opposite of brave. I was so scared of speaking up, taking chances, putting myself out there. Better to hide in my little corner, to keep my head down, to take the criticism unchecked, to listen to all the bad stuff I was told about myself. I willingly hid. My shoulders slumped forward, my eyes looked downwards, and the negativity I heard thrown towards me, often by people who barely knew me (teachers, dormmates, random boys), I wove around my heart and let it linger there. Part chain, part armour.
Fat, stupid, ugly, worthless, loud, obnoxious.
I wonder if the people who tossed out those words so carelessly knew how each fresh attack felt like it was tattooed on my heart?
And then I grew up. I could feel changes from my late teens, a thawing of sorts, and then, over the course of my senior year of university, my in-betweeny year, and my teacher training year, I learned how to be brave. To step out. To speak up.
I learned that I could be brave and still be kind and sweet and attentive. I learned that I could take risks and have adventures and still have good friendships, and a happy family and a good, healthy career. I learned that sticking up for myself when required….was a good thing.
And I like being braver. The shadows of my shy, bruised youth and those words I internalised for so long can still creep up and blindside me (at a party, a meeting, a bar), but most of the time the tattoo is forgotten, way down inside me, long since covered by happy memories, by chances taken, by successes celebrated and losses embraced and moved beyond.
And that makes me proud.
For I am brave.