different kinds of cowardice

December 9, 2013

photo snagged here.

who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?
hunter s. thompson

when i was an adolescent, making the trek to the bus stop every morning sucked. but not nearly as much as the walk home. my mother has said that she would cry every morning after left for school, sometimes for hours, because she knew i was going to hell and hurting. but i never said, mom, i don’t wanna go today.

the walk home was worse. if i could help it, i didn’t want her to know just how awful it’d been. i didn’t want her to know.

the storm lasted eight hours. five days a week. nine months out of the year. an incredibly long siege of torrential downpour and hurricane force winds. sometimes, when it was more than my tiny, tiny body could bear, i faked sick, went to the nurse’s office, badgered her until she called my mother, who came and got me. my mother, who knew damned well that physically, i was fine.

to give you an example of how bad it was, this is the kind of day where i didn't fake sick: mom'd greeted me at the door that afternoon; i'd said something about how i wished i could tear my skin off as i rushed upstairs to my room and slammed the door. she could hear me crying. i’d forgotten all of this—the day, the afternoon, the cause. all of it. the only reason i know of this is because, years later, my mother had mentioned it in a conversation once. for some reason, she thinks i’m strong.

i don’t.

every morning, i got up, got dressed. i ate my breakfast, grabbed my books and my brown bag lunch and marched that two-tenths of a mile to the bus stop. that’s braving the storm.

somewhere between my adolescence and today, i sought refuge from it on the coast. somewhere between then and now, i found a place to hide.

i stopped aspiring and believing and dreaming. really dreaming. there’s a huge difference between a delusion and a dream.

the only storm i seem to face anymore is the madness that rages within me. and braving that? i usually feel more guilt where that’s concerned—that i can’t shove it back, that i can’t circumnavigate it, that i give it the power. that’s not courage. that’s cowardice. and even knowing this, still i hide.

after reading erin's post from yesterday, i've started to think, too, of other ways to stand on the shore. like choosing bitterness over being better.

1 comment :

  1. Oh jenn, I've read about the storm you refer to. To even be standing today is an accomplishment. I believe in you.
    Tina @ Life is Good