Courage, not confidence
I mean, if you've got both, more power to you.
I heard a compelling argument the other day that there’s no such thing as confidence. Instead of confidence, the speaker argued, which doesn’t really exist, you should focus on courage.
This resonated with me, because I have never been sure what confidence is. (All I can think of is Don Draper.)
Confidence implies a sort of fearlessness that I have never known, whereas courage exists in spite of fear, and that’s a concept I can get behind.
Today I took the subway to my therapist — the Q, the same train line where last weekend a man was shot and killed on his way to brunch. Was I confident in the safety of me and my fellow passengers as I made my way into Manhattan? Friends, I was not. There didn’t seem to be any specific danger lurking about — and believe me, I checked — but nothing feels safe these days, if it ever did. A person could be on his way to brunch, the most innocuous of all destinations, and someone else could decide to kill them. This has always been true, yet it feels acutely true and acutely scary right now.
I considered a Zoom session. But that, I decided, would be silly. I really like my therapist, and I like seeing him in person. And so, confidence absent but a teeny amount of courage in hand, I got on that train.
If courage is action in the face of fear, I guess I’m courageous — not because I’m doing anything wild but because I am afraid of most everything and yet I manage to get out of bed. I came heart-stoppingly close to getting mowed down by a bicyclist many months ago and I still wince every time I step off a curb. And don’t get me started on cars. I would like there to be no more cars, please. I realize that many of you require them, but cars are big scary machines and I am small soft baby.
I want to live somewhere where everyone walks, slowly, looking both ways, accompanied by friendly, calm dogs. No sudden moves. Maybe I don’t even want people around. Maybe I want to live in the forest? A forest in the distant past? Except wild animals are a no-go for me, too. I haven’t really worked this out yet.
I was going to tie this into writing, because the person talking about courage was actually talking about writing, but I’m thinking too much about life, and the courage required to get through it. Which is to say, I know I’m not alone in this, and I salute you all, getting through your days despite vehicles hurtling through space and bad news hurtling through the Internet and, well, everything. If you can manage to write something in the current climate we’re in, you get a standing ovation. If you can’t manage it, give yourself a break, and another. A thousand breaks. It’s not easy right now. Nothing’s easy. Courage, my friends. Courage.
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