“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” Maya Angelou
Courage. I am by no means an expert on the topic, nor have I done exhaustive research on it. Though, I have been inexplicably drawn to this word my entire life – as evidenced by a, now faded, tramp stamp of its Chinese character spontaneously tattooed on my lower back when I was 20, likely to a Brittney Spears pop song no less.
I’m not sure why I chose the word “courage” as I was flipping through the binder of other Chinese characters photocopied and tucked into plastic protectors. The friend I was with had chosen “fire” and I vaguely remember picking “courage” because I didn’t feel courageous at all and wanted to. At the time, I was almost always fearful, apparently not of tattoos (or their placements) going out of style, but more of things like being rejected, the future, or perhaps more simply, the unknown.
(Courageous moments from the launch of The Measure Of My Powers in Toronto)
Maybe it was because I felt so fearful that, over years, I naturally collected as many perspectives on courage as I could, reading stories about courageous people in order to bring myself closer. I still collect stories of courage, because as I’ve come to realize, we are all courageous at some time and in some way, and I believe sharing these stories makes us all a little more so.
And so it goes with anything we give much care and attention to – it usually becomes a thick thread in the fabric of our lives. And for me, since the fateful tattoo, courage has become a large part of my life’s purpose because I believe it is to try to live as authentically and joyfully as I can, and that is the most courageous thing I have ever done.
These were your answers when I asked you what your most courageous moment was on Instagram. Thank you for sharing a little piece of your story with us.