To explore bravery, firstly I want to consult my old pal: courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy researcher, Dr Brené Brown! Her research is always there for me when I need some clarity. So here’s the science bit…
In her research, Dr Brown defines vulnerability as:
“Vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of Courage.”
There’s a word for someone who travels their own path in life in spite of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. And this isn’t only in the fantastic but also in the ordinary….
Bravery is a practice – Drag Queen Story time!
I had a choice last Sunday. There was a drag queen night on at Vogue Fabrics, a local night club, and I LOVE dressing up and wearing makeup! The club would be filled with glam queens and club kids. The excitement was bubbling in my stomach at the possibilities!
Almost immediately after the excitement ofcourse came (from my mind) – “yeah but what will your neighbours say? Or the shop keepers? People will harass you in the street! You’re not going to be as good as all the other people dressed up in that place once you get there! Just go dressed normally!” Any of this sound familiar?
I had a choice. Be comfortable or be brave. But who was I being brave for? Easy….
This wee guy (Yes its me)
I’ve always loved exploring crossing over the gender lines since a young age. Although this wasn’t welcome most places in the time I grew up, my gran would give me carte blanche with her jewellery box and let me put on ALL of her beads when no one else was looking! My choice of whether to be comfortable or brave at Vogue Fabrics was clear!
Brave it is!
In reality, the long walk of shame to the club turned out to be a cat walk of compliments! “I love your lipstick,” “you look beautiful,” “where did you get your nail varnish?” Not quite the homophobic and genderphobic insults and shaming looks I had prepared myself for!
After going to the drag night (one of the most fun nights out I’ve had in years!) and seeing each person being brave in their artistic self expression I didn’t feel inferior. I felt inspired! These brave beauties have now got me thinking – what will I wear next time?! And this time, my imagination is a lot less limited by fear!
Bravery is a choice and a practice and grows and is contagious!
What is your brave story? Do you want to live a brave life?