Cowardice. It’s a word that I grew to know too well.
It was a word that others held in their hearts. I could feel it radiating off their bodies as they slowly stripped me away. When they stared at me through the glass instead of coming to speak to me. When they gave me a silence so strong I could feel it following me around for weeks. When they warned me against pursuing my passions and tried to tear down my dreams because the green monster of fear sat on their hearts.
Cowardice. It’s a word that started ringing in my head. Like a siren. Blaring in my ears and droning out the world around me. I began to hear them more clearly; to think that perhaps they had a point. When she left me alone, as if a deer in the middle of the road. I was stuck; caught. Of course I was afraid. When the the only ones I felt I could trust disappeared from my grasp, to start their own lives, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what to do; my options had run dry. I was afraid. When he left me at the airport with the most strangled goodbye, I felt rooted to the spot. Tears fell down his face but all I did was turn away. Of course, I was just afraid.
Cowardice. It holds you back. Keeps you behind closed doors.
But I’ve learned to grow out of it. I used to let it control me, like it controls the ones around me. When I was the one stepped on, wrung out, slapped around like a dirty rug by the ones that mattered most to me. When I was quieter; timider; more subdued. I didn’t want to bother anyone; make anyone angry; disappoint them by being angry myself. I was the good little girl who always said ‘Yes’ and ‘please’ and behaved as she should. When I was a people-pleaser and felt the need to justify myself to everyone and everything. I used to be a coward. I used to let people bend my backbone as they would. I used to let my cowardice control me. But then I grew. I became bold. I grew from a humble Hufflepuff to a soaring Ravenclaw, with roaring Gryffindor undertones, and I had never felt stronger. I loved, I lived, I lost. I wrote and wrote and wrote. And was unafraid of what I wrote. It probably helped that I ran out of the country to let myself fly. Set myself free.
But I’ve also learned that the only cowardice you have to fear is your own. The one that is self-inflicted. Other peoples’ cowardice may hurt you, but it will never hold you back. Only push you forward. But your own cowardice? Your own fear? That’s what you really want to watch out for. So don’t waste time. And don’t hold back. Soar like the eagle, roar like the lion, fight like the badger, and hiss like the snake. For cowardice cannot touch you when you are sure of who you are and what you want. And when you go grab it.
Peace. Cheers. Love. xx