When I was a child, I was kind of badass. I know everyone is kind of badass while they’re young and unconcerned about anyone’s opinions. But truly, I was a child that knew what she wanted and had no qualms about stepping around anyone who got in the way.

My parents love to tell me about the period of time where I refused to wear anything other than red Ked’s and dresses past my knees. I knew who I was, and I knew what I wanted.

Here I am, on the right, making the face that I was best known for: some combination of a smile and a smirk, indicating that I was perpetually up to no good.

I miss being that person sometimes. I know she’s still there somewhere, but it’s almost as if the world has taken my natural fearlessness. It makes sense, I suppose. There’s a lot in this world to be afraid of.

A struck thought me the other day, when I was driving home in the rain. Something about a rainy day always puts me in a thoughtful mood… and so the thought came to me. I suddenly realized I’ve never associated myself with courage.

This is a hard concept to describe, but I’ll try to explain. You know the words you’d use to describe yourself? Everyone has them whether or not you’ve explicitly thought of it. For example, I generally associate myself with kindness, or responsibility (#boring). But never, I realized, have I considered myself a courageous person.

It made me feel really strange, but it makes sense. I am so afraid of so many things. And of course, their is a certain usefulness to fear. It protects us in many ways, it encourages us to do things that we need to do.

But to be a fearful person? To be someone who is scared of life? Someone who’s afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone?

I realized that I really don’t want to be that person.

There’s this song called “Tomorrow” by the Shakey Graves that really stuck with me. It says “But you never trusted tomorrow… Is that any way to live your life?”

I’d heard the song a million times, when suddenly that line hit me… and I realized, that’s exactly how I’ve lived my life. I’m terrified of tomorrow.

That’s not to say that I don’t do scary things. I do plenty that I’m scared of doing, but usually because I simply have to. But what about the things that I should do, the things I want to do, but I’m held back from by fear?

Is doing courageous things the same as being a courageous person? Is it courageous if you have to do it? Can you be brave at the same time as you are scared? Or are bravery and courage found in people who face experiences without fear of failure, fear of the bad and the scary? Perhaps those who face them despite their fear?

I don’t really know for sure, but I do know that I am entering a particularly frightening season of my life and for once, I don’t want to rest in a perpetual state of fear. I want to become someone that I can identify with courage.

That’s why I’m here, guys. Putting yourself out there is really scary. But my summer has been one of growth, and I don’t want this period of growth to stop when summer does. I love writing, and I want to share my experiences.

So I will be brave, even if I’m afraid.

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