Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bravery and Joy

I am often afraid. 

I'm afraid of saying the wrong thing, of doing the wrong thing. I'm afraid of what people will think.

I'm afraid of having too much, of not having enough. I'm afraid of endings and beginnings. I'm afraid of change.

I'm afraid of what I might lose, of what I might find. I'm afraid of getting lost in the never-ending, day-to-day minutiae and never finding my way. 

I'm afraid of posting this. 

When I read Neil Gaiman's New Year's Wish my first reaction was fear. In it he wishes us bravery, and that scares me. If I'm going to need bravery, it means something scary is going to happen, so thinking I might need bravery frightens me. 

It's fun being in my head, isn't it?

It took me a while to realize that bravery isn't something reserved for terrible things. You might need bravery to do something you want to do. Like sing the theme song from a favourite childhood television show at your wife's New Year's Eve concert. I understand Neil wrote his wish while waiting backstage to do just that.  (If you want to hear Neil read it go here.  You'll have to scroll down to get it. The wish is at about the 6 minute mark. Listen to his "Make Good Art" speech while you're there.)

Once the lightbulb flashed on, and I understood that bravery isn't just for worst-case scenarios, I started to think of bravery in different ways. I thought about bravery as a tool to get over the daily fears that hold me back. 

And that realization is bringing me joy. Pushing past the fear is helping me to shape my world in new ways. I'm trying new things. I'm saying yes when I would normally say no. And sometimes I'm saying no when I feel I "should" say yes.

I printed and framed Neil's wish so I can be reminded of my brave, new way of thinking. It floats around my house, and pops up in new places from time to time. Even that brings me joy.

Printed in Comic Sans MS. I felt it was appropriate, as the Sandman series was my first introduction to Neil's work.

Of course, now I'm afraid the copyright police will come knocking on my door for posting Neil's wish without appropriate permissions. I know I'm not lucky enough to have Neil come knocking. Good thing, as I'm afraid my house isn't clean enough to receive guests. 


  1. Great post ... glad I didn't miss it. I'm with you and would prefer to have no need for bravery. Gaiman shouldn't have a problem with your use ... it's clearly attibuted, and often!

  2. And I don't have a problem mentioning Mr. Gaiman often. I have a less-than-secret crush. Fortunately, Hubby is an admirer too. Our honeymoon consisted of one night in Victoria to see him do a reading. Somewhere there is a photo of the two of us having a completely geeked-out fan Neil is also with us in the photo. He was most gracious and entertaining.

  3. ...oh, and giving that so much scares me, you can imagine how frightening I find Visible Monday!

    Thanks again for stopping by Jan!

  4. Laurie, I read this post a while ago and wanted to come back to tell you that I loved your take on bravery. I too don't like the idea that I'm going to need bravery to get through whatever is ahead of me...but we do. We really do.

    Also, I'm really enjoying your Visible Monday posts. I cannot tell you how fun it is to SEE you! It makes me happy :-)

  5. Thanks Rosiecat. Taking part in Visible Monday is one of the things I'm doing that requires bravery. Once I get past the "What am I thinking???" aspect of it I'm enjoying taking part.


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