A Picture of Bravery
I was going to be in this picture. I wanted to be in the picture because I don't have on any makeup and I'm wearing a dress that I think makes me look fat and ordinary and to be in it would have been brave. And I want to be brave. Actually, It would have been double- bravery because just asking this mother and daughter if I could take their picture was vomity and scary and required all the bravery in my heart. But I am not in the picture because I am literally sobbing behind my phone trying to steady my hand as I babble on about how touched I was by the intimacy they shared as they were in the dressing room at TJ Maxx. They were just talking like they do everyday about shoes and house stuff and life and would never think that their words to each other held so much beauty. I wanted to sit down in my underwear and just listen. I wanted to follow them home and watch them as they maybe ate french fries in the car and chatted like friends about the mundane. I wanted to write their story. I wanted to capture the beauty in my ears and share it with the world.
I’m not sure if my tears were more out of longing for what they had or from the humiliation of looking really, incredibly stupid in the middle of a store, but I do know this: Bravery is not holding it together. Bravery is not looking beautiful and put together and perfect. Bravery is not having a well planned speech or a seamless execution. The truth is that my awful, messy tornadoey, hurricaney mortifying question was brave: “Could I take your picture and write about you on my website?” That was brave. It was ugly. But it was brave.
So now this picture is even more special to me. I do love the beautiful Mama who in her confident and graceful way reminds me of my Mama. I love how they have the same smile and same tender heart. I love that they both looked like they stepped off of the runway. But I also love that there is a big, blubbering idiot behind the camera who was shoved off the runway and the entire facade of strength it held, and took a baby step toward being real and living brave.
Well up bravery. Well up in our hearts so that you may spill out into a world who needs you.