I started this rant this morning on Twitter – and I’m realizing I’m not done with it or that it cannot be limited to 140 characters.
Right after Bruce Jenner revealed himself as Caitlyn, it started. Anyone who called her public coming out as courageous was met with people posting images of what courage really is – a soldier usually doing something extraordinary in war or coming back without limbs and having to resume life. I don’t disagree that those things are courageous and brave. Not one bit – those soldiers have my fucking respect on amazing levels.
Here is where I have the problem – to say that they are the only face of courage is to also say that anyone going through something scary, something painful (physically or emotionally), something that forces them to push through vulnerability to be who they are – are not courageous.
A person battling cancer? Courageous.
A person fighting the demons of depression? Courageous.
A person who stands up and says “I’m gay” in a community or family where they could lose their entire support system? Courageous.
The black men and women who go out to say “enough is enough” to racism and all? Courageous.
Courage is all around us. There is not one face of courage.
And to say there is – is to reject the person facing cancer by saying “you have courage for what you’re going through but at least you don’t have to go to war.”
Or you are saying to that kid coming out as gay, “yeah, that was brave of you, but it’s not like you’re losing a limb.”
While I am not trying to take the “everyone gets a trophy mentality” about this issue, I also believe there are categories of courage. Everyone doesn’t get a trophy but to go to the other extreme where no one gets a trophy except a very very few…..well, that’s just as short sighted and damaging.
Just like there is not one example of compassion or gratitude or honesty or equality – there cannot be only one example of courage.
Because this morning….this morning there are family members of the four Marines killed that have a whole hell of a lot of courage to get out of bed this morning and face the day – face the media – face the pain of sudden loss – face what will be a lengthy process of trying to understand why – trying to find a place of peace so they can mourn.
And lastly – none of this is a fucking contest for who can be the most courageous – just like it’s not a contest of who can be the most compassionate – who can be the most honest. That mentality erodes away little things that may be are the most courageous acts.
And in this world today – why would we do that to ourselves?