Brave. It’s a word I’ve been hearing a lot lately. As a verb it means, “to face or endure with courage.” As an adjective it means, “having or displaying courage, resolution or daring; not cowardly or timid.” It’s a word I’ve never used to describe myself and suddenly, now that I am dealing with cancer I hear it all the time.
Many people say I’m brave because I have cancer. Others because I’m writing this blog. Others because I had my mastectomy and am still facing life with humor. Others because I try to continue with everyday life.
Every time I hear it I feel extremely humbled that someone thinks this of me. But sometimes I don’t know what to do with that word because it’s not how I identify myself. Not yet at least. If you were to call me creative, maternal, cynical, blunt, funny, diligent…I’d say, yes to all of those things because that’s how I see myself as well. But it’s new for people to see you in a light that feels a bit foreign.
You hear this a lot on the news. Someone falls on the train tracks. Someone ordinary, just going about their ordinary day sees this person fall and without thinking twice, jumps down to save the one who fell. When they are interviewed on the news and called a hero and brave they always say, “No, I’m not a hero. I just did what anyone would do.” And the rest of us are like, “Dude, you risked your life for another. You jumped on the train tracks. That’s kinda the definition of brave.”
But when we are brave, we do not see ourselves that way. It’s interesting and something I need to get used to.
I came across this article about a woman, Allison Gryphon, who is a filmmaker and breast cancer survivor who has her own take on the word. I find it interesting and her film looks extraordinary. It’s called, “What the F@*k is Cancer and Why Does Everybody Have It?” Has anyone seen it? I’m going to watch it asap.
Have you ever been called, brave? What did it feel like to you? What was your experience?
And thank you, for thinking I’m brave.