A Woman’s Thoughts on Being Brave

April 23, 2019


Reflection by Lisa Lilyerd ’19

I’m not brave–at least, I don’t think I am. I am just a woman; I have been told my whole life that bravery is something I do not contain inside the corners and distracting nooks of my body, my shriveled naive mind. But I mean, what constitutes bravery anyway? In my humble opinion, bravery is misleading. Bravery is boring. Bravery is altered with the connotation of toxic masculinity, gender expectations, and patriarchy wrapped into a bundle of interruptions.

Bravery is a trait I don’t have…will never have.

Maybe we need a new word. A new word that lets women feel brave–act brave–without actually using the word. Hmmmm…let me think…courageous…no? Really? That is already a word?

…but maybe we can perhaps spell it differently? Curagious? I am fond of that.

But now we need a new definition. Bravery is often looked upon as a masculine trait, filled with action, physical weapons, and strong words on top of strong voices.

But I don’t have a strong voice. I will never have a strong voice.

Maybe I have a strong voice and society’s definition of strong needs to be altered. Hmmm…what could we change it to? Strahng! I am also fond of that.

I am strahng because I am able; in fact, I think everyone is strahng. It is just rather difficult to change social normalcy. Rid of gender expectations of what a women should be–should do. Fight against interruption and condescending glances. What needs to be taught is the ideology that there are no traits only a woman should contain, and that there are no traits that only men can contain. I think that would help? Maybe? I am sorry for speaking my mind.

…was that curagious? Speaking my mind? Could I possibly be curagious? So…

Am I curagious when I slap a wandering hand trespassing onto my land? Or was I just unwilling?

Am I curagious when I ran away from the hand that was on my neck; forcing me to get down on my knees? Or was I just scared to do what you told me?

Am I curagious when I finally break the glass ceiling? Or was I too educated?

Am I curagious when I say ‘No’? Or was I just a b****? A prude?

Am I curagious when I survive rape? Or did I ask for it?

Am I curagious when I am just a woman? Or should I say sorry for existing?

Do I have to always be a dichotomy? This or that?

Am I perhaps…brave?

no no no…I can’t be. I am too ignorant. I am too naive. There is too much woman in me, for bravery to slip in.

I am sorry. I am sorry I am not brave. I can’t be.

you told me not to.

when will this change.

do I have to be brave? can I just be…human?

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    Rebecca Guo ’20