Pologram © Tyler van der Stappen

Photogram © Tyler van der Stappen

Courage. We all want it. Like it’s some noble thing. Some magic elixir just out of reach. If we could taste it for a moment, we’d stop floundering. We’d take that leap we’ve been meaning to take, make the changes we’ve been meaning to make, create the life we’ve been meaning to create. Ah, with enough courage, all would be well!

But I’ve never felt more fish-out-of-water than when courage has overtaken me. When it’s cracked the codes to my vaulted heart and seeped like poison water into my rigid bones. Dissolving my resistance. Tricking me into taking a blind step.

I’ve never felt more vulnerable, more exposed, and more afraid than when I’ve had a shot of bitter courage, with nothing to chase it down.

With nothing to hold onto. No rope. No hand. No sound, word, or promise. Just me dangling on a thread of nothing in a space of blinding quiet. (Fucking eerie. That’s what it is.) Feeling like I may or may not have just made a huge mistake. Shame rising up to be tried from the corners of my backroom shadows. The most unenlightened parts of me taking the stage for their turn in the spotlight.

(Wait! I didn’t sign up for this. I took a leap of faith for that over there. Not for this. You must have misunderstood me, Courage!)

And I keep doing it, too. I keep reaching for that enigmatic elixir of courage to give me a boost. (To eff me up!?) To bring my dark to light. Not to fill my gaps, but to make them more apparent. Not to bring me the life of my dreams, but to bring me pieces of myself I didn’t know I was missing. To give me what I need after I don’t get what I thought I wanted. To break what still needs to be broken. To trick me into falling into the fire when I thought we were going flying above it. To burn, to burn, to burn in the depths of my own soul!

So, what I’m saying is be wary of courage. It’s not a desirable thing, really. It’s not what it seems. It’s a sneaky, wily little bastard who will trick you into doing anything for the sake of big truth. Stay away from it if you can. If you have any other options. By all means, stay away!

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