As someone who has saved a life, scuba dives with sharks, survived a tornado and is raising teenage daughters, you might think this is an unusual answer.
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is change.
I left my life and began another.
In the summer of 2013, my marriage ended and people I thought knew me and cared about me made it their mission to make me hurt more than I already did.
I wanted to move across the country, leave my hometown but I didn’t. I have two daughters who were depending on me to fight and show them what a strong woman and mother looks like. Running away was a natural reaction, starting over was courageous.
I had been a stay-at-home-mother for almost 12 years. I had to start looking for a job. I needed to find somewhere acceptable for me and my children to live. I had to find an attorney to help guide me during my divorce.
I had very little support. People chose sides based on whatever stories they were hearing and I wasn’t sharing any. It doesn’t bother me many only believed what gossip was juiciest at the time, it proved they weren’t friends. One less thing I had to figure out for myself. That was courageous.
The first year was very tough. I was running into people from my old life frequently. I saw them at my daughters’ bus stop and at their school. I just put a smile on my face, took a deep breath, and killed them with kindness or ignored their glares. Putting on a brave face, that was courageous.
I had to keep my mouth shut.
Throughout this period, things happened I’ve wanted to write about. Things scared me, angered me, made me feel as if I needed to defend myself. but, I didn’t. I haven’t. Part of leaving my old life behind was leaving who I was behind. I worked hard to become more compassionate, forgiving, kinder.
This meant not gossiping. Not defending myself. Letting people talk knowing I knew the truth. Letting the truth be enough and not trying to convince people of it.
I had to accept being human was enough.
I had to accept I wasn’t perfect and never would be. I had to learn to accept my mistakes and be O.K. with making them. That’s a hard thing for someone who grew up and lived never believing I was good enough and wasn’t worthy of being loved because I wasn’t going to be.