This week we are supposed to talk about a time when we acted bravely when, in actuality, we were frightened. For me it will be easy. When have I acted bravely when I was really frightened? All the time.
I was a terribly shy child, add a difficult name and a tendency to be ill and you have the makings of an introvert, which I was…and most people won’t believe that I still am.
Oh, I am much better; I had to be better; I was nearly paranoid. I had nowhere to go but up, and still, some phone calls are hard for me to make; they shouldn’t be. Some encounters are only accomplished after several false starts; and I procrastinate about submitting or resubmitting works. I have trouble asking for things, even what is due to me sometimes. Yet, I need to do them, and I do.
Going to the doctor is still a nightmare for me, but I try not to show it.
But in the past, every room of people I entered, be it classroom or home, took every bit of courage I had.
I was an A student, but I suffered over every paper I did.
I am still not sure how I got through applying and interviewing for my first job, but they liked me and I ended up doing well, even when dealing with customers, which I also did well, exuding confidence when I wanted to run away.
I had several jobs that I loved, but as confident as I was in my abilities, it was a terrible moment when I turned on the ‘Open’ sign and unlocked the door of my bakery/restaurant the first time, but I was right there, smiling at customers.
Standing in front of a class or doing a talk somewhere is an exercise in self control and acting ability; I usually darn near faint when I look out at a crowd that is looking at me. And they are looking at me, acting bravely.
I got a sudden jolt of confidence when I was a young woman. I had admired those who could enter a roomful of people and enter into conversations until I suddenly found myself doing exactly that. I don’t know how that happened, but it did.
And yet I have slipped. I found a cousin’s number years ago and when I did get the courage to call him, I found that his father, my oldest uncle, had died a short time before; I could have spoken with him. At least when I did call, I found that our youngest aunt is still with us, and we are in contact, as I now am with most of the cousins…and it is wonderful. Even though I put some of those calls off, too. Why? Shy. When I made them, I was frightened, but acted confident.
I am sitting here with two emails which I wrote months ago and was long overdue. I need to send them. I need to take articles I foolishly handed over in totality to publishers who promised to use them, and have not …and I need to resubmit them elsewhere, which, of course, I have not. And there are more. Why the trepidation, since I have had that feeling before and mailed them out anyway. Every weigh-in at the post office, every email to an editor, every on-line submission are done only after I have talked myself into doing them, but I have, although usually scared about them. And they never suspect.It was hard for me to agree to become your Friday Fox, as much as I wanted to.It took Jillian’s confidence in me to ask me that spurred me to do my own blog which I had put off for too long.Yet,I came into both with false bravado.(I am confident for the most part, thanks everyone!)
I had a few unfortunate encounters with a relative who had a couple of psychotic episodes. I had a couple of unfortunate strangers who needed to be talked-down from dangerous situations, and yet ,I acted calmly. Notice I didn’t say, “remained calm”. And then there was my son who liked to hit this head when he was very young. I was often in the E.R., keeping him calm, trying not to lose it myself. (Who calms the moms?) Once when my other son was a young teenager he was 1,000 miles away at a Scout camp. When I came home from work, my husband handed me the phone and a number on a paper. Our son had not felt well when he flew out and he was now in the infirmary with Scarlet fever. I called him, we spoke. I promised I call the next day and every day. He was well cared-for and we both seemed brave. I hung up the phone and sobbed. I don’t know how frightened he was. He still claims that he was cool.
And that is the one who is out in the middle of nowhere fighting forest fires right now. I am calm when we speak, but I don’t feel that way. I don’t know if I can describe what it took to sound light-hearted when speaking with Mr.Bumped-head when he was grown-up and at war in Iraq, or when he had a serious auto accident, or had suspected bone cancer, (which, thank God, was benign.) I was scared sick each time, but had to stay calm for him.
I have been seriously injured and I’ve had surgeries, yet the docs and nurses always say that I have been brave; little do they know.
You don’t even want to know how scared I was the first time I drove into traffic, yet my driving instructor took me onto a major highway right away because I was “doing so well”.. If he only knew! The only thing that was worse was the first time I sat in the passenger seat and let my sons behind the wheel for the first time. Both times I was near panic. (One drove badly; I panicked many times.)
However, I managed to remain outwardly calm. They will never know how much I trembled inside, how much I wanted to bolt and stop the world at that point!
Can any of you relate to any of the above? Have you had to stay calm for a loved one in danger? Have you taught a teen to drive? I dare you to tell me that you weren’t frightened, even if no one ever suspected.