Creating Courage

Creating Courage

We create the world through our decisions. Whether it’s being ‘creative’ but faced with a blank page, or fearing to even risk failure with the unknown cutie across the room, Wendy Withers knows that it’s courage, not fearless bravery, that draws us on and makes us take charge of ourselves.

As a writer, even starting this column about courage is a scary thing. There’s so much white space covering the page, where do I start?

In life, as opposed to writing, I find courage much less daunting. I rush through life as crazily as possible; I do what I want when I want without regards to what normal people should be doing. Because of this, I’m often annoyed with people caught up in their own fear cycle. People who hate their lives because they can’t get past the starting point.

A young woman might find security in her dead-end job. Or, she might have thousands of ideas running through her head, but she sees artistic creation as frivolous. She might even have decided the cutie she keeps seeing around town would never touch her with a 10-foot-pole, so why try?

The reality is, we each create our own world through our decisions.

The dead-end job, refusal to put pen to paper or brush to canvas, and the constant pining over “men she can’t have” keep our hypothetical everywoman in an unhappy existence.

I do have good news. Courage is easy to grow, once you plant the seeds. Here’s what it takes: a first step.

Or, a first word, a first college class, job interview, brush stroke, or, “How you doin’,” muttered at an inopportune time. Yes, that’s right. Inopportune. Courage is what we fall back on when Fortune, the bytch she is, has turned against us.

It isn’t life everyone is afraid of. It isn’t really the paper I fear when I struggle for a first word. It’s failure. However, failure is necessary and universal. When I mistake peak for pique and get called on it, I grow as a writer and am less likely to make the mistake in the future. Even if someone in my audience calls me out on it.

When our hypothetical woman gets turned down for a few jobs, she can analyze what went wrong and become ace at interviewing until her dream boss hires her for her dream job. Even if her novel never gets published and her paintings never make it into the corner gallery, she will be fulfilled through artistic projects. And, even if the first cutie rejects her, the right one may be just around the corner.

The only thing holding back those stuck in their lives is their inner critics. The voice in their head saying, “No, you can’t do that. Stick with me, and we’ll be comfortable here until our old age. No sudden moves, and nobody gets hurt.”

Now I have the first word down on this page, I feel a lot better. The truth is, we need to keep moving. To take the first step. To write the first word.

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