The words that fell onto the keyboard (I did two brain dumps from this prompt, both using my computer) surprised me. Here is the first:
I never told my children to stop crying, never shuuu-shhh-shhh!ed them, never called them babies when their emotions welled up and over onto their faces.
How could I, when one of the bravest moments I experienced in the last few years was me crying alongside my son and daughter, the three of us recognizing our solidarity – alone from everyone else. What isn’t brave about that? Our tears joined us in courage, not weakness.
When have you experienced bravery and courage?
Quitting a comfy job? Takes courage.
Standing up for someone no one else is standing with? Is brave.
Saying what no one else will say, even though they want to say it? The Personification of Courage.
This is barely a start of the courageous acts we see daily. I remember visiting a Mom hours after her baby was stillborn. I didn’t want to visit her. I can still hear my heels clicking as I walked down the hospital hallway, still feel the hug from her relieved husband that someone else was there to hold them up, perhaps, to reassure them the journey might not easy and it was, and would be, survivable.
Brave. Saying No, courageous. Saying Yes, Mighty!
Saying nothing, intensely bold. Saying too much, and apologizing? A warrior angel lives in your bloodstream.
Writing what you believe, in order to fully understand why you believe it? An act of impeccable bravery.
And it’s all you need, my beloved long ago Elizabeth Cady Stanton reminds us. ““The best protection any woman can have... is courage.”
(The second 5 minute piece of writing rose from inspiration from a quote from Anne Frank:)
“I can shake off everything if I write; my sorrows disappear; my courage is reborn.”
People think I’m brave, so they tell me, but I don’t feel brave at all.
I don’t think I could’ve faced what Anne Frank did. Or maybe I could have? I don’t know, I can’t compare myself and I know that so why?
My face wants to live in my hands a moment.
Perhaps I need to hold myself in a space of compassion for a moment. Wrap myself in a quilt of ok-ness. Tuck myself into warmth and softness and tender reassurance.
The first moment of inkling Samuel had autism brought me to the keyboard, to explore, to research, to write. After that first moment of incredulity, the vocalizing my thoughts to my mother, the disbelief when she said she thought that was what it was, that she and Sue had talked and neither had passed their thoughts along to me, words were there.
Words wrapped me up in their blanket of care. They wouldn’t theorize and leave me out of it, not my words. Not MY words. My words. The most secure, friendly, no nonsense companion I knew. Like Anne Frank, I imagine, and countless others who sat with our notebooks and our pencils, scratching and scribbling and writing haphazard prayers and pleas and anything just to feel less alone.
Anything to feel less alone and less of a freak among a sea of normality.
Writing was then and is now my sanctuary.
A friend quoted me last week, surprised me she remembered something I said that I didn’t remember.
“You haven’t written in four years?” I said to my writerly friend, “How have you survived?”
I didn’t realize it may have been like slapping her with a palm of ice. My shoulders hunched in her confession. I felt as if I had lobbed a betrayal in my friends wound.
Here it is, though, I don’t know that I would have survived what I knew she was surviving without words. I also know the pain of not writing in a certain genre: poetry, my long time cuddling companion, has been absent from my arms lately.
Yesterday, I wrote a micropoem.
Today I wrote another micropoem.
After writing poetry in only fits and starts lately, these short poem-lettes feel like an orgy of words.
Allowing the words to be born: brave. Thank you, Anne.
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Julie Jordan Scott
is the founder and creator of 5For5BrainDump. She has been inspiring artistic rebirth since 1999.