The Many Faces of Courage

When the Vanity Fair “Call Me Caitlyn” cover came out, it took the internet by storm.  Literally every social media site was flooded with her images, and it seemed that everyone from politicians to hair stylists had an opinion about her transformation from Bruce to Caitlyn. I was happily surprised that the bulk of the reactions were supportive and complimentary.

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Most commented on her physical appearance – how elegant and stunning she looked in the pictures.  And while I agree it’s hard not to be envious of her gorgeous legs (that no amount of cycling or squatting could EVER earn me) , that wasn’t my first reaction.  I was absolutely blown away by the courage it took for her to decide that after 65-years, she was finally going to show the world who she really was.

Showing the world your uncensored, genuine self can be incredibly HARD.  It makes you totally vulnerable to a world of criticism and judgment; but when that brave decision is made, it has a ripple effect.  Marianne Williamson once wrote, “….As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others….”

To me, you can’t compare or quantify this kind of courage because everybody’s journey is different – what takes courage for one person, might come easily to another.   It can’t be measured by a calculator, ruler, or Richter scale, but that is exactly what people in social media are trying to do right now.  As the sun set on Caitlyn’s first day in the world, the fickle tides of the internet turned against her.  Once her nomination for the Arthur Ashe award for courage was announced, people were quick to point out how her courage paled in comparison to others.

*** My point of contention is that there are NO pale shades of courage *** 

Courage by its very nature is bold and bright – which is why it makes the world seem more radiant and hopeful when we witness it.  When fear presents itself to someone and they don’t back down, that act of bravery deserves our kudos, not our condemnation.  Not only because of the courage it takes to face fear head on, but also because of the inspiration it provides to others.  Along with Caitlyn, there are so many other beautiful faces of courage – each one causing its own amazing ripple effect in an otherwise weary world.  ALL equally magnificent and awe inspiring:

1.  A 5-year old who puts a smile on his face and decides to kick cancer’s ass like a ninja turtle….  

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2.  A woman facing the remainder of her life without the man she spent over 68-years loving….

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3.  The woman who endures stares and snide comments while she fights to get her life back….

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4.  The police officers and firefighters who stare fear down every time they go to work…. 

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5.  The shy kid who stands up to the bully who has made his life a living hell….

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6.  The athlete who isn’t deterred by words like “disability” or “handicap”…. 

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7.  The woman who leaves her abuser in search of a life where love doesn’t equal pain….

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8.  The teenager who rises above the influence of her peers and dares to be different….

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9.  The social activist who doesn’t just dream of a better world, she makes it a reality…. 

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10.  The soldier who knows the true meaning behind the phrase “No man left behind”…. 

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It’s my hope that you’ll remember Caitlyn and the rest of these beautiful faces the next time you encounter ANY act of courage.  Then instead of trying to belittle or compare that act against others, just say a simple word of thanks because they all shine a collective light that makes our whole world brighter.

And for that, I’m incredibly grateful to every one of them.

 

Other Related Articles:

Introducing Caitlyn Jenner

Cheer Caitlyn, But Learn About Nicoll and Marichuy

This Viral Facebook Post About Caitlyn Jenner Taught Everyone a Lesson in Irony

No, A Disabled Vet Was Not Second Place For Arthur Ashe Courage Award 

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11 thoughts on “The Many Faces of Courage

    • You’re welcome ❤ Those many faces help serve as a reminder that we all have the same capacity for courage inside each and every one of us. Their stories echo our own, and make our journey through dark times seem a lot less lonely.

  1. Inspiring and thoughtful post – thanks for offering how difficult it is to have courage and follow through on making one’s life better! Beautifully written – Hurrah!!!

    • Thanks, Les!

      There’s no greater high for me as a writer than when I write something that really resonates with people. I got dozens of comments from various facebook friends, but this one was my favorite:

      “Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what I have been struggling with the past few days. I have been upset when people talk about courage as if there’s only one kind, or only one person with the most, as if it’s a contest that can have only one winner. Right now, my mother is the woman dealing with the loss of her husband of 63 years, (relationship of almost 70 years), and her courage is certainly inspiring!”

      It just doesn’t get any better than that 🙂

  2. You kick ass. How about the courage to stare a blank page in the face and create something beautiful and meaningful that inspires and entertains all at the same time. That would be you my dear Linda.

    • Hey Bels!

      Thank you! You’re sweeter than a basket of cotton candy dipped kittens with a side of Channing Tatum’s abs 🙂

      I think the courage for this post was not in the actual writing of it, but in the decision I made to combat all the hate mongering internet trolls – especially because a handful of those trolls are people I consider friends. After seeing about a half dozen posts on my facebook newsfeed about comparing courage, I just could’t take it anymore.

      I don’t know if the pen is really mightier than the sword, but it felt like it while my blog post was being circulated on facebook – it was shared almost 320 times!!! That’s a whole lotta love ❤

      XO
      Linda

  3. You never know what someone else is struggling with or how it is affecting them. When people share something so profound, I think they hope their story will touch or support someone else. It’s awful when the world just judges you instead.

    • Agreed!! Beautifully stated!

      As I was writing this post, I had this saying stuck in the back of my head: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” The older I get, the more I try to live by this motto. It’s easy to judge, but a lot harder to take the time to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. We have so much to learn from stories like this, but the sad part is that a lot of people can’t seem to look past the dress and make-up long enough to see the life lesson behind them.

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