(third revision)

In my young adulthood, the first time I heard anyone talking about courage as a desirable character trait, it felt very self conscious to me; it didn’t ring true. In my own mind, I’d already worked out what courage was. It didn’t include talking about it, discussing it – which seemed like a conceit. It was something that went beyond the realm of speech; or simply didn’t need to be put in words.

Over time, as I heard people repeatedly speak of courage, it somehow became something that I could aspire to and possess. I believe that it became more deeply instilled in me as a value. It takes courage to live in a complacent world. Yet it makes life so much more interesting.

When people tell me today that I have courage, it can be hard to understand. It’s not a word that I use a lot. It doesn’t seem to relate to anything about my life in particular. What is it about me; or what is it that people think I’ve done?

As regards to my gender identity and sexuality, it’s more a case of stubbornness, bullheadedness. I did not like the choices I was given. With so much of my life already past, I learned the true meaning of codependency (it was not what I’d thought.) I came to believe/understand that we can’t micro-manage other people’s feelings. We can’t “make them happy”‘, etc. We can’t change them. The only person we can change is ourselves. I learned the neat trick of creating choices of my own.

I’ve been called a rebel. It seems to me more to the point. I didn’t like the flow of my life, so I chose to go against it; or rather, to go with my own flow. Surely there’s a joy in that. It’s more in the realm of identity-as-a-concept-in-itself.

If I possess any quality worthy of praise, I think it’s more in a striving to be honest. What others are unwilling to say, I sometimes feel compelled to attempt.

Nevertheless, I feel that courage is one of the highest compliments one can receive. So I must appreciate it.

If you’ve ever been praised in a very thoughtful way and aren’t sure if you should take credit for it – the thoughtfulness and love of the words may yet make you aspire to become that person.

There’s so many kinds of courage. Enough for all.