The magnificent Kat McNally has come up with another prompt project. Since I realised a few days ago that the fact that my Lent is not being as satisfying as my Advent is at least partly due to the lack of reflection (also, I think, it’s meant to make you feel a bit scratchy and inadequate), I’m in.
What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?
I started off feeling somewhat ambivalent about courage. It is, I would have said, associated for me with a bottled-up, high Victorian, stiff-upper-lip, no-honestly-everything’s-fine attitude that has served me poorly for half my life at least. I thought of the Cowardly Lion; but I am more interested in mermaids at the moment.
Then I remembered how it was almost my word for this year, and thought back, and brought to mind: a painting entitled Go Bravely On; a pub that can be seen from the train from Leighton Buzzard to London (Euston), which has TAKE COURAGE written in huge letters on the side; how being brave enough to admit to wanting something has, more often than not, resulted in my getting that thing.
And, thinking now, that over the past few months courage has not been about keeping quiet and carrying on regardless; it has been about admitting to my weak spots, and my fear-locked secrets; about asking for help when I needed it; about not being perfect; about not trying to be perfect. It has been about trusting that people will accept me when they see who I am. Even when I’m [fill in the blanks as appropriate for today]
Very soon indeed, now, it is going to be about brushing my long-cherished project’s hair, and sending it down the road to the shops all by itself; and since this feels more or less sending my soul out to burn, it is going to need a very great deal of courage.
Here is a very early memory – my father, quoting The Tempest: “Coraggio, bullymonster!”
Courage, please, for me and my bullymonsters.