One of the prompts that I missed during #NaBloPoMo was the word Brave. I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and I have a fair amount to say about this.

Anxiety, depression, society, womanhood in America, and my other garden variety soft-spots and neuroses often make me feel weak and scared. On the worst days, the terrible voices in my head tell me that I will always be controlled by these demons inside me, and that the world, or really, just my mind, is going to destroy me. I feel powerless, alone, hunted like a prey animal. I feel overwhelmed by the tumult of life in general, which is exacerbated by my hyperactive hypothalamus and limbic system.

But occasionally, if I take a step back and really look at myself, and my life- the choices I have made, the things I have done, the things I have overcome- I realize that I am powerful beyond measure.

  • I had a childhood where I was forced to grow up too soon, and was placed in the role of adult too early. Too soon, I had to care for my siblings for long stretches of time because my mother was working and their father was always passed out drunk. I witnessed abuse, and had to defend my siblings from an abusive stepfather. I was neglected at times when I shouldn’t have, and was verbally abused. I have been able to come to terms with the effects of this, and have been able, with the assistance of therapy, time and much reading and journaling, been able to break through the terrifying abandonment issues, anxiety and poor self image that have resulted from this, and have been able to largely heal the trauma from these times.
  • I was severely bullied as an adolescent, setting up a lifetime of self image issues and self hatred that plague me to this day. However, I have been able to carefully evaluate this damage and have begun the process of healing these deep seated wounds, and endeavor not to inflict them on others. I hope to better raise my children as well so this sort of hatred does not continue.
  • I applied to one college, got accepted, and graduated with honors. I knew what my vision was.
  • I went to law school on a full-ride scholarship and graduated with honors. I now am the first female law partner ever at my firm, which is 87 years old. I have fought against the old boys club many times.
  • I am a pieced, tattooed (visible) and rainbow-haired practicing attorney in Central Minnesota. I practice with empathy and caring, and try to run my business this way as well. I am intentional and authentic.
  • I am a fierce mental health advocate, and I am outspoken about my own struggles.
  • I have had the courage to walk away from two marriages where I was not being treated well, and which were destroying my self-worth. My second one was with a 8-month old child, because I could not stand the thought of her growing up learning that how her father treated me was how women should be treated, and I did not want to teach her that sorrow is the way that a person should live.
  • I am brave enough to try again at love, and continue to push to be treated the way I deserve, and to have a whole, equal partner.
  • I am an unapologetic, third-wave, intersectional feminist.
  • I care about and defend folks who are mistreated in this world to the best of my ability. I do not tolerate bigotry in any form, and will cut someone out of my life if they choose to continue with such bullshit. This is not “cancel culture,” this is integrity.
  • I believe in community, and I put forth the effort to change the world and help it grow.
  • I am (mostly) humble, and willing to apologize when I have wronged others, and try to learn from my mistakes. I am open to being respectfully corrected and taught.

I’m sure the list can go on. These words come from the deep well of peace and wisdom in my soul, hard-won through trial, error and much pain. I hope I can remember this when the dark cloud comes again.

Photo by Slava B on Unsplash

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