Musings on Bravery

As I work on reshaping this blog to a place where I can market and promote it, I’m coming across all manner of internal obstacles. Fear fear fear fear fear. Internalized judgments of others. (I spelt “judgments” wrong. I added an “e” after the “g”. If I cannot spell judgments, can they really hurt me?)

Sharing personal efforts, artistic or otherwise, is always scary, but I associate bravery with terror more than I do with confidence. The order is terror, bravery, and eventually confidence. I am not saying that the antidote to terror is bravery, or that we can leave terror behind. There is the evolution of terror that we must endure. First, we must have dual terror: the terror of change, and the terror of stagnation. Once the terror of stagnation becomes greater than the terror of change, we will find this new ultra-terror which gives us the motivation and energy to enter the unknown territory we so gravely fear. This is different than blind reactivity to a bad situation. Ultra-terror has clarity.

American poet Larry Levis tells us that “terror is a state of complete understanding.” I would say that terror is an opportunity for complete understanding, but most of us have practiced denial to the point of mastery, and resist understanding even in terror. We often keep going along a path we dislike despite the moments where the pain of such a life hits us deeply. At this moment of global terror, we simply have to evolve from dual terror to ultra-terror. See how our choices have lead us to a place we dislike, and decide from a conscious, thoughtful place, how to move towards something we want.

When and where does confidence enter? Only once you’ve enacted the feared deed a dozen or so times. Or it can come and go. Or it will be there immediately and stay forever. Or you will have to ride out more uncertainty and doubt than you ever thought imaginable. It depends. But back to judgments for a moment. Your confidence can only manifest once you’ve learned about the nature of your own terror. Once terror evolves into bravery of action, we must use some of that bravery to look back at the initial terror. If you don’t tend to that, confidence can’t really take hold. The parents, siblings, peers, the voices of whoever, the voice of our culture, of your past, all those. They must be named and tended to before ever-coveted confidence can really emerge.

To understand ones situation completely.  There is terror, but there is hope.



“For Zbigniew Herbert, Summer, 1971, Los Angeles” by Larry Levis, in The Selected Levis: Revised Edition

About Undecided Pseudonym

A woman who remembers enjoying writing.
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