I’m A Coward

People tell me I’m brave.

Brave for putting myself out there. For letting the world in on the secret tunnels that live in my head. For asking for others feedback on my innermost thoughts.

Whenever they say that, I’ll be honest- I freak out a bit.

I always go back and re-read everything I wrote- what did I say? What was so brave about what I said?

Because honestly?

It’s not brave. I’m not brave. If I was brave then everything I ever wrote would be up here. My poems about walls I have put up and my woes about my ever fluctuating weight…now that sentence was brave. If I was truly brave, I would be able to act outside of myself. Think about how others might relate to my experiences instead of being so worried about how I would be perceived.

That is after all what it all comes down to.

As I write, I get to write my personality in the ways I want. I get to leave out the bad parts and keep in the parts that I think make me seem like someone people would want to get to know.

That’s not brave.

That’s lucky.

Whatever I am truly terrified about people knowing about me are things I’ll never put out into the world.

Why would I put up free-verse poems about my most insecure thoughts?

But, then, a little bit of guilt pushes through to the top.

You know why?

Because there is nothing in the world like being told “Wow, you really just put my feelings into words”

Knowing that someone felt better by reading something I wrote, or felt expressed when they couldn’t express themselves, is the ultimate achievement for me.

That’s real. That’s connection and it’s beautiful.

So why should I hide the things that everyone else does?

Some people can’t express themselves. So why can’t I do it for them?

As I grow and I read more from authors and writers I admire, I realize that bravery is crucial.

I can’t be a writer if I am going to be afraid of myself.

It’s time to open the gates.

It’s time to be brave.

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