Wait, What if I’m Brave?

The many colors of courage

Published in
3 min readMay 16, 2024


Digital illustration of a girl in a pensive pose, staring straight at the reader
Artwork by author (Agnes). Find more illustrations on my Instagram!

I’ve always considered myself to be on the guarded, fearful side, and yet so many things I do give my friends pause. Some things that feel natural, or have become so with practice, are I-could-nevers for some of my closest friends, and it works both ways. “I could never do what you do”, mirrored in the most random things.

I don’t know if I’d dare to travel alone
To talk to strangers
To do karaoke
To publish my writing
To do improv
To be that vulnerable
To quit my job
To get a tattoo
To move to a different country
To talk to someone in my non-native language
To drive in this city
To go to the concert by myself
To say “I love you” first
To walk away
To forgive and give second chances
To ask out your crush, take the first step

Look at us cowering at each other’s accomplishments.

I’ve made no secret of being a fearful person (wasn’t it the first line I wrote in this post?) It is not a label I love, but it fits. Watch me talk myself out of trying, self-sabotage the contest submission, and quiet my I-like-you’s for fear of rejection. And so many were eager to jump on this wagon, to point and say I was too frightened, fearful, fretful.

Their assertions cemented my own assumptions.

It didn’t take much convincing to make me feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It might have come from a good place. I choose to believe this. They may have thought it’d be encouraging, or liberating. “You’re so fearful” and I would say “yes” and they’d smile thinking this was the first step, but it didn’t feel that way. Instead, their claims consolidated this belief that courage was just out of my reach: that my actions lacked it and in such an obvious way, that everyone could see.

And yet…

Here I am, talking to a friend, thinking I may have been a little harsh on myself. By all accounts, I’ve bolted and I’ve frozen. I have fears that I’ve yet to conquer but look at all the other dragons I’ve slain. In retrospect, the fear has evaporated, the original hesitation now a shadow banished by the sun of success.

Here I am, talking to a friend, thinking fearful turned out to be an ill-fitting label. Or at the very least one that I’ve peeled off on occasion.

Here I am, talking to a friend, thinking “Wait, what if I’m brave?”

Don’t believe everything they tell you. Don’t believe everything you tell yourself. Read, review, and reconsider. We’re usually more complex than straightforward statements. Contrary to my previous beliefs, it seems courage comes in a whole myriad of shapes and colors.

This article is solely for informational purposes and represents the writer’s personal opinion. Please seek professional advice if required.

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Slow runner, fast walker. I have dreamed in different languages. I read a lot. Yes, my curls are real.