Bravery Needed: Apply Within

I am not a brave individual. At twenty-six years old, I refer to the woods outside our apartment by the dumpsters as “The Forest of Doom” and outright refuse to take the trash out after dark for fear of being attacked by Slenderman or some other completely fictional monster lurking in the shadows. I believe in and am terrified of ghosts, Nikki and Pam both know to leave a light on for me if I’m the last one leaving the living area at night because I’m afraid of the dark and feel like I’m being chased if it’s too dark. Before I started living with Nikki, I had to sleep with my bedroom light on, which drove my parents absolutely crazy (which I now understand as a utility bill paying adult). I am easily startled by loud noises and once nearly peed myself because Pam turned on the vacuum cleaner directly in front of me as I watched her do so. I still can’t watch scary movies and, while I’ve found a weird fascination with ghost stories or creepy things, I can’t be alone while enjoying them and I have to watch or listen to Disney things afterwards if I want to sleep.

Nothing, however, has been more terrifying than knowing that my time is running out.

Most people, when they learn about my diagnosis and “timeframe”, quickly remind me that we’re all dying and nobody’s time is guaranteed to them. While I understand the sentiment, unless you’ve been told when you’re supposed to die, you don’t really understand why it’s so scary.

Fear for me has always caused me to curl up, pull in. Somehow, this has not been the result of this particular terror. I have been acting, seemingly without permission from half of my mind, and not just taking steps towards things I always said “I’d get around to eventually”.

I am leaping. I am flying. I am hurdling at top speed, throwing myself at the things I wanted out of my life but always had an excuse to put off.

I am breathless with fear.

I am breathing anyways.

I am terrified of failing, of slipping and falling into past mistakes and bad habits.

I am moving forward anyways.

I am mortified to share this fear with the world, to be seen as the coward I see myself as.

I am sharing anyways.

“Courage need not be remembered because it is never forgotten.”

Bravery position has been filled.

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