What Courage Looks Like

Please welcome Susan today as she guest posts here at Giggles and Grimaces.  Susan is a wonderful mother to two little girls, she is a piano teacher (even via twitter) and blogs at www.learnedhappiness.wordpress.com.  She is a calming, comforting and encouraging voice to me amidst the chaos that is depression.

 

Every time I post something about my PPD, my antenatal depression, or my anxiety, I get at least one comment from someone thanking me for being so brave. It’s appreciated, really. But honestly? It also makes me cringe. It’s a damn shame that a person has to be brave to tell the truth. That I have anything to fear by opening up and sharing my experiences with others, experiences for which I carry no blame. Experiences that might help others. When I first started blogging, I took a chance. Though I was afraid of how others would see me, I needed to stop Shame in its tracks. Now that I air my dirty laundry on a weekly basis, I don’t need courage. In exchange for being vulnerable and real, I’ve been rewarded with love and understanding. These days, I don’t fear the hard posts.

Now, courage has been redefined for me by the everyday women in my life, some whom I’ve never met in person. Let me share with you what courage truly looks like in this community of Warrior Moms:

Courage is raising two children on your own, leaving an unhealthy relationship (despite it being the only familiar thing in your life), and beginning your bachelors degree when all the students around you are too young and immature to understand the demands of motherhood. It’s balancing homework, laundry, and dinners. It’s playing with your boys even though you’re exhausted beyond words, and still finding time for self-care. Courage is dancing your butt off each week just to bring a little joy to others. My friend A’Driane? Never knows what kind of day BPD may bring her way. But she rises in the morning, bringing brilliant color to her world, her boys’ worlds, and everyone else along the way.

Courage is living life with an organ determined to complicate your every meal. It’s struggling with a life-threatening condition but living the life YOU want to live anyway. It’s managing your illness with intelligence…and reaching out to others to share everything you know. It’s dedication and self-discipline – the kind it takes to get healthy enough to bring two beautiful babies into the world. Melissa is one of my oldest and most trusted friends. And though her diabetes does its best to define her, she gracefully rises above it to accomplish everything from a double major in English and Music Performance to being a breastfeeding, baby-wearing mother of two. Her writing is deep and honest and filled with integrity. And she does it all with humor and humility.

But the most courageous act a person can do? I believe it’s being honest with yourself. Digging deep to see the truth lying within. Often frightening, ugly, and easier to ignore than to face, the truth hides behind the story we wish we could tell. It takes a brave person to uncover those lies and reveal what’s really going on. To be able to say to yourself (and your loved ones), “I’m NOT okay. I need help.” Charity, my friend, you inspire me with your courage. I know this last week was torturous, but you fought back against the depression that was threatening your life. Admitting yourself to the hospital was an act of courage and self-love and I am so proud to call you my friend.

Survive til you Thrive!

3 Responses to What Courage Looks Like

  1. This made me smile and do a little
    Kermit the Frog Yayyyyyy arm flail. It’s a privelage to know you ladies.

  2. And now I’m crying. At work. At my desk. Thank you, Susan, for a wonderful guest post and for pointing out, once again, that being brave sometimes means you ask for help, something this blog’s author has occasionally struggled with.

    (Charity, I am going to talk about you for a moment, not to you. Bear with me…)

    Charity is an amazing giver. She gives gifts that take time and energy and thoughtfulness. She will listen even when the problem is unendingly repetitive. (God bless her!) She gives what she can financially, even when it hurts. A lot. She prays for those that are hard to pray for. (Example: She was on the Presidential Prayer Team during Clinton’s terms.) And she prays extra hard for those she loves.

    We have all read her joy in nursing all 3 of her girls for as long as possible. And we have read and felt her sorrow in how that journey has ended with her youngest. And we understand how that can make her feel like she hasn’t given Patrice everything she could. Because as a phenomenal giver, Charity doesn’t always know how to take care of herself first, especially when it comes to her babies. (And as a mom, who doesn’t understand that?)

    Charity, (yes, now I am speaking directly to you) I have been so proud of how you have learned over the last couple years to take time for yourself to do things like run (and how cool is it that you can run?!?!?) and visit friends and family.

    I wish this latest self-care lesson wasn’t so hard and wasn’t so directly tied to something about which you are so passionate. But don’t worry; just because you stopped breastfeeding Patrice, that doesn’t lessen your voice on its benefits. In fact, it may strengthen it. You quit because to continue breastfeeding while they boosted your medications would have been detrimental to Patrice’s health. No longer would you be helping her health, but possibly causing her great harm. You are still being the best mama you can be because you are helping yourself first. You are being a better wife because, with medication helping, you are becoming an equal helpmate again.

    I have told you before and I will tell you again: You are one of the strongest people I know. And I am familiar with how you don’t like to ask for help until absolutely necessary. Darling, you were and are at Absolutely Necessary. Let the rest of us be givers back to you as best we can.

    You work on soaking in the love you receive. Let it heal what it can.

    Still and always praying!

    AMY

  3. Absolutely. Honest.
    We have to be.
    Sure the things we blog about can be shocking. But look at how many people we are helping in the process by being so open and honest about it.
    xoxo

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