Earlier today I was having a conversation with a woman who I had just met. We share multiple mutual acquaintances and we were talking about the race (see previous post).
She said I was brave.
I have to say I was stunned. And not just for a moment, but for awhile. All semblance of thought had left me. I had no words. And my eyes teared up.
In all of this, in all of this crap and awfulness that we've gone through, that word had never entered my mind. I never thought of myself as brave. For the most part I think I'm just lucky to get through each day without having some sort of...well, something. There was a time where I was lucky to just get out of bed-and let me tell you, that took some pushing. There was a time when I didn't want to do anything except lay on the couch and stare; yeah, the TV was usually on, but nothing registered. There was a time when I would have given ANYTHING to not give myself one more stupid shot because I was so bruised up and no matter how much you ice your skin those big needles still hurt like a mother. There was a time when I was not myself. When I hated myself. When I did not think that I deserved any good or any niceness. There was a time.
And there are still times like that.
But being brave? No, there was never a time like that.
Do you know how much courage it takes to jab a needle into your stomach? I do.
And then-to do that once, twice a day? I do.
Do you know how much courage it takes to go to the store to get tampons because you couldn't even finish your two week wait before your period came? I do.
Do you know how much courage it takes to talk to your friends, your friends who don't know, ask them about their children and watch these beautiful children, who you love, grow up? I do.
Do you know how much courage it takes to not cry uncontrollably when a very well-meaning person asks tells you you'll make a wonderful mother some day and then asks when that will be? I do.
Do you know how much courage it takes to hold your friend's newborn, three days before your first fertility appointment? I do.
I know so many amazing and wonderful and BRAVE women who have all done this, and more. And yes, they're brave. These women-WE-have so many reasons to just shut the door on life and crawl into bed and stare. But we don't. We do the hard things. We do the painful things. We smile and keep on going. Because we're brave.
And I did not realize that until I had a conversation with a woman I barely knew.