Sunday, 12 June 2011

brave enough

Bravery - that's the self-discovery word by word series word for this month.

Couldn't we have an easy one like failure, uselessness or cowardice? I could write a tome on these. But bravery...I'm a bit lost on where to start with this one.

But I hate sooking - so before this rapidly descends into a 'pity party for PJ', maybe I should start with what I think bravery is...

Bravery is the name given to actions that display courage. And that to me is the crux of the word

Bravery requires action. 

This is where I find my block with this word. The reality is I'm not out there *doing*. I'm sitting at home hiding behind this pseudonym. I'm not taking any hits. I could just stop blogging, turn off my computer and pretend like none of this ever happened. That's hardly bravery in my eyes.

The really brave ones are the ones that come out in the face of stigma to raise awareness. Writers like June Alexander, Carrie Arnold, Dana Udall-Weiner, Lynn Haraldson, Kendra Sebelius, Margarita Tartakovsky, Arielle Bair, and so many many more...

I so admire them - and I wish I could be like them.

But I'm ashamed. And afraid.

Those who have spoken out and made the commitment to change their lives forever in order to change people's minds, they are truely brave. They have fought and won their battles and then candidly shared their stories so that I might learn.  And I am so grateful.

Without them I wouldn't know I am not alone.

But typing that last line has made me realise that this knowledge does so much more than relieve the shame; it gives me just a little bit of courage I didn't have before. In fact maybe it makes me just brave enough.

Okay, brave enough is not too bad! I can live with brave enough. After all, when I think about it, I've done quite a lot with brave enough:

asked my gp for help
gone to the dietician
gone to the councellor
told my husband I have an eating disorder
taken my husband to the gp with me
told some close friends I have an eating disorder
told my brother I have an eating disorder
stopped weighing myself!!
stopped exercising
admitted when I'm hungry and eaten 
learned to see slips coming and ask for help

I have my moments of bravery, fleeting though they might be (and often followed immediately by a stint of hiding under my favourite coffee table) - but it's enough to make a difference in my life. And maybe for now that's what I need to aim for.
Be brave enough to fix my life now.

So as much as I would love to stop hiding behind PJ, share with you my real name and fight the good fight to raise ED awareness (especially for those of us who are just a teensy bit older than average) - I can't yet. I'm just not ready.  

Bravery will just have to wait for another day - but it doesn't mean it will never happen.

And maybe brave enough will one day have knock-on effects that I can't possibly forsee today...I certainly hope so :)

...but first I have to be brave enough to press 'publish post'!!


PlanningQueen said...

Don't be ashamed. I think you are incredibly brave already. I am sure you are helping others as you work your way through recovery. Big hugs xxx

myrelish said...

You are so amazingly brave. Talking to you has helped me so much already, you are making me want to be brave. Thank you. xo

Jessica said...

Don't kid yourself (or question if you are or not) girl - you ARE brave!

I just recently found your blog and it has already offered up so much to me, it is wonderful! I have read many of the posts over and over and am amazed at how much I can relate to them!

Keep on, keeping on! At some point you will get to where you feel as brave as you really are!

XOXO - Jess

EmilyH said...

Hi PJ!

What I do know for certain is that, while we're deep in our EDs, we're not the best judge of what we're capable of because ED is still in control of a lot of our thinking. Don't allow yourself to get overwhelmed and defeated by comparing yourself to the accomplishments of others because you have no idea of all the amazing things that you are going to do in your life once ED is no longer in control.

For now, recovery is your focus, and that's pretty darn brave. Like you, I want to help others and be an advocate for ED recovery, but I can't do that while ED is in control of my thoughts. Recovery is my focus, and then I'll see what comes next.


HikerRD said...

I was prepared to write a list of all the brave actions I know you have already taken--and then I saw your list! Good for you for acknowledging them. I'll add that bravery is acknowledging out loud that you need to do better, and posting it on your blog (which your husband may read) and shouting it out in an announcement on Twitter ; ) Bravery is accepting that you are a work in process (and still being determined to push forward) and recovery doesn't happen overnight--not even for all those bloggers you admire!

Dana Udall-Weiner said...

I think one of the bravest things is to accept where you are, rather than to bang your head against the wall hoping that things will change. And I think this acceptance comes through in your post--you are accepting you life (even the things you are not so proud of) and working to change what you can.

I love your list, PJ, and think that you are incredibly brave. I'm so glad that you participated in this month's Self Discovery, Word by Word. Your writing means much to me, and to many others who are struggling with food and body issues, as well.

Rosie said...

PJ, Brave enough is actually all we really need-- brave enough gets us through our personal challenges, helps us scale the mountains in front of ous, allows us to overcome. Brave enough is revolutionary. What you are doing revolutionary. Thank you for what you are doing and for the grace and vulnerability you are willing to share along the way.

The Writing Goddess said...

You seem plenty brave to me, PJ.

Sometimes pseudonyms have a purpose, says she who uses one, and have nothing to do with being afraid.

Or, even if you are a tiny bit afraid, so what? We all are, at different times, and you are BRAVE enough to know it and admit it. So, you rock IMO. Great post. :-)