Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made off
– Bethany Hamilton.
I slept in a bit today, prioritised rest over a proper breakfast and so I had to eat my breakfast walking to the bus station. It was a peanutbutter and jam sandwich and as I chewed away I had three thoughts.
1. Raspberry jam isn’t as good as strawberry jam.
2. I’m bad at evenly spreading peanutbutter.
3. Tram and train tunnels really remind me of The Walking Dead.
As I threw away the crust in the trash like a child and could finally stick my cold fingers in gloves, I started thinking about courage and freedom.
I can do whatever I want. No, really. I’m an independent adult and I have so much freedom it’s dizzying. If I want to eat ice cream for breakfast I can. If I want to stay up all night I can. If I want to quit my job I can. If I want to move city or country I can (and have several times). I can do whatever I want. There are no ties on me that I can’t break (not counting marriage because that’s not a tie that I’d want to break). I know of societal expectations and financial codes of conduct. I know that I need money to pay for mortgage and groceries and surely if I quit my job to eat chocolate every morning and read Radclyffe novels all through the day and play Skyrim every night my near and dear would stage an intervention. And I know that I need to, have to tidy and organise my home because next week my sister and her family are visiting. And when family comes to visit you can’t really say no because they only come once a year. I know all of this and yet…
I am free.
The bonds that I place on myself are just that, placed on myself by me. The only limit I have is my own imagination (and I guess to a large extent my wallet).
I sometimes think when I’m playing Skyrim (I recently picked up Skyrim again after having played the same playthrough on and off for the past six years) and I was struck by the thought that I could do that. No, not joining an assassin’s league or fighting dragons or prevail against giant spiders or collecting large wheels of cheese (my character has a cheese obsession). But the rest? I’ve been blessed with two feet and a sense of wanderlust. I could pack water, blanket, sandwiches, bandaids and stuff for the dogs. I could take my family and just leave. Find hiking trails. Walk until I’m tired, rest and then walk again. What would I see? Who would I meet? What would I experience? I’m not brave enough to go backpacking. I spent my fair share of my late teens and early twenties travelling, moving, sleeping in airports. I don’t think I want to do that anymore. Walking around with a backpack in nature however, that I would love. I simply don’t excercise my freedom enough. And I’m sure that some of this is due to a lack of courage. Maybe it has to do with comfort zone but my comfort zone is rather large and leaving it would lead me to extremes I’m not interested in so maybe I’ll just stay put for now.
Surely we have all done couragous things? Let’s say it’s more of a verb than an adjective. I think I’d like that. It’s easier to think of it that way and ask oneself: what can I do today? What can I do to feel alive and free and couragous?
If I can answer that, all will be well.
P.S. I was interviewed by Lynn Lawler and the interview is now up on her blog. Go check it out!