Last night, I got to talking to my mom about what it means to be brave.
I called her around 8PM and when she asked me how I was doing, I choked back tears and said, “I had a bad day.”
I then recapped my whole day for her, saying that I woke up feeling sort of queasy and anxious, went to work at 6:30AM, then to my other job, and then home to relax. I told her that the morning’s feelings of anxiety and queasiness sat within me all day but were too dull to do anything about.
She reminded me that the anxiety causes the stomach ache and that traveling this weekend is triggering my anxiety. Cause effect, cause effect. She told me that my bad day actually sounded like a decent one, and that my anxiety is keeping me from seeing it as such.
Upon hearing that, I had this awful and familiar thought cross my mind, “My anxiety is holding me back.” This chemical imbalance in my brain, despite being treated, still holds me back. I’m pissed.
I told my mom that I am afraid that I will never be able to travel far or live abroad on my own because of my anxiety. I panic before flights and the bus ride that I’m currently on to New York City even made me anxious. It feels ridiculous and painful. I’m terrified that my anxiety will keep me from living a full life.
My mom then told me that I am doing better than a lot of others because I am doing the things that scare me. She reminded me that it is okay to be anxious before boarding a plane, as long as I end up boarding it. She told me that I was brave.
I had never thought of it that way. I told her that I thought of myself as a coward for being afraid to do the things that other people do everyday i.e. traveling. But she doesn’t see me as a coward, she sees me as courageous. The person that knows me better than I know myself told me that I’m doing well despite my doubts.
Today, I am on a bus and I’m feeling calm. I am driving 65 mph away from my comfort zone and I am feeling calm. That may seem like nothing to everyone, but to me it is everything.
I am grateful for the small victories and the times that my mind calms down enough to let me feel the happiness that supersedes the sadness in my life. I am most grateful for the people in my life that congratulate me on the little victories that must seem silly just because they know how much it means to me. They make me stronger, they make me capable.