Courageous. Audacious. Gallant. Daring. Dashing. All of these words I just listed are synonyms for the word, “Brave.” Lately, I have forced myself to wear this term a little more on my sleeve. Sure, I am brave for putting my personal feelings out there for millions of people worldwide to read, but I did that for the sole reason that I was helping others. Being brave is a choice most of the time, but an unforeseen event that occurs in our life can jumpstart our bravery.
I was away a few weeks ago, though I told no one where I was going. Part of me did not know how and another part was embarrassed. However, since being home, I no longer feel the need to hide where I was two weekends ago. I went to a place called, Comfort Zone Camp, which is a camp that helps kids who are grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide. On the evening of Friday, May 21st, I drove to camp an hour away not knowing anyone or what to expect. As a twin, I have never had to go through things alone because I always had my sister with me. If I was bored, I had Alexa to rely on and if I was sad, I had her shoulder to rest my head. I was scared, nonetheless, but I was excited. I was finally going to be in a setting where I did not feel so much like an outsider because my father killed himself.
The overall weekend was amazing, but it was the people there who changed my life. My bunkmates were the strongest, most inspiring group of people I had ever met, and I am so blessed that they welcomed me with open arms. As I kept mentioning to them, this was the first time I had ever really been away from Alexa, but they continuously told me how brave I was for coming. Even in the short time I had known them, we connected right off the bat. When I discussed my experience at Comfort Zone with my therapist, I told her that I shared my story on day one because I instantly felt comfortable. I knew that everyone in the room would not judge me and would listen to every word I said. As someone who barely opens up to other people, this was a big deal. I look back now with fond memories of that weekend. Yes, there were painful moments but what made them beautiful was that everyone was hurting together. No one was hurting alone. While I would love to go into further detail of that weekend, I am choosing to keep the rest of it offline for safekeeping. I am open to questions about the experience, but will not be discussing my bunkmates because I want to keep their privacy.
I like to pick my blog post titles wisely, and “Brave AF” was only fitting. At Comfort Zone, my group made bracelets with phrases on them that related to us. Before I left, my mother handed me her bracelet that said, “Strong AF”, and I constantly glanced down at it. So, when it came time to make my bracelet, and after reading through a million words, I came up with “Brave AF.” I wear that bracelet everyday, regardless of where I am because sometimes I need that reminder.
While I have learned many valuable lessons from that weekend, one I wanted to share with all of you is to go out of your comfort zone. Text that boy, wear that shirt, watch those scary movies. Sometimes, the most amazing experiences stem from the scariest occasions.
“F.E.A.R has two meanings-Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. The choice is yours.”-Unknown
“Bravery is the audacity to be unhindered by failure, and to walk with freedom, strength and hope in the face of things unknown.”-Morgan Harper Nichols
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer.”-General George S. Patton
“Vulnerability sounds like truth, but feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”-Brenè Brown
“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.”-Franklin P. Jones
“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.”-Unknown
“Don’t you see? You can’t be brave without being afraid. The brave ones are always afraid. But they do what they must do, even so.”-Terri Hall