While I drove around this tiny holiday decked out town today, I reflected on my personal definition of the word brave. According to The Miriam Webster Dictionary, the word brave is defined as: ”Having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty: having or showing courage.” This was none too shocking but what made me smile was that the word brave is also a verb. To get to the heart of things here,
The word brave is a verb I use every day in different ways.
Reflecting on 2018, I look at all that’s happened in my life that I could use the “brave” stamp on. To be honest, there were days that being brave meant going to the grocery store or any store for that matter or even a difficult phone call. There were moments in the past year, where being brave might have, to the average person, seemed like a far bigger deal than that but, collectively, I’m proud of each moment I choose to overcome my fears and step into change.
You see, I made a friend who has forever changed my life last Autumn who is also on the spectrum who turned my whole life upside down. The story of the friendship is an amazing one but even more amazing is the personal transformation that I have had because of my own goals and because he believed in me.
That concept became contagious and I started to believe in myself too. He still reminds me of how far I’ve come when I falter but I have grown stronger day by day. I also have some new tools on my tool belt that have helped me as well. Mel Robbin’s “Five Second Rule” and a better bedtime and morning routine (including diet and exercise) have all helped me tremendously.
I’m leaning in to challenging and facing my fears.
Last Christmas, I went to Ireland alone and while everyone else saw my pretty photographs, they didn’t see the meltdowns and panic attacks happening in my room almost every day as I forced myself to try again and to go meet more people. I didn’t blast that information either. But there is something valuable in raw honesty.
Throughout this past year I have challenged my fear of heights by doing indoor rock climbing, facing my fear of driving by go kart racing, facing my fear of roller coasters by simply getting on one or two (and closing my eyes through most of the rides but I still did it!), facing my fear of highways by moving out on my own and then having to drive a thousand miles back on my own when I discovered I had moved somewhere totally unsafe, and my trip to the Philippines to see where I was born and read to autistic children there.
Each and every one of those moments felt like a victory for me. But as an adult with Autism Spectrum Disorder, every day feels like a brave day. There will still be days when going to the grocery store will leave my knees a little weak or driving to the next town might feel daunting. That may never change. But the good news is that being brave is not only a verb (noun and adjective), it’s a choice.
I look forward to 2019 with excitement.
I see more opportunities to be brave and that my choice to be brave might even inspire one more person to choose to be brave as well. It doesn’t give me the warm and fuzzies thinking of facing my fears. But it does give me hope that I’m growing and so can you.
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- Autistic Self-Care
- What is the Right and Wrong Way to Do Self-Care?
- From Fear to Victories in One Middle School Year