What is courage?

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From Pixabay

There was a color personality test on FB this morning that said it could pinpoint my most dominant characteristic. I’m always intrigued with personality tests, so I took it. My dominant characteristic is courage. A friend who took the same test and is dealing with the same disease got kindness.

It made me stop and think about courage. It makes me rethink the story of the hero. In my personal life, the person who isn’t scared is usually the foolish one. He is the one that walks in a bad area at night with the mistaken idea that he is the baddest one around. He is the foolish one who is addicted to the adrenaline rush. This is the one who dies first.

In my experience courage is always mixed with a dose of healthy fear. When I feel the adrenaline rush through my body, I also know that what I am rushing towards is going to hurt. Yes, I will stand for my friend or in front of the rushing animal. I am also the one who will be sliced to bits whether physically or verbally. I know I will lose something.

But courage is also the narrative I tell about myself. When I was a child, I was considered stubborn. I felt that the world should be fair. If I whined “it’s not fair,” my parents would always say the same thing. “Life is not fair.”

I won’t go into my childhood and teenhood. It was not fun or fair for many years. It was those experiences that made me face what is unfair.

I don’t always fight for myself. I have fought for others to have a place to smoke in their living quarters. Yes, the Navy made a decision to ban smoking halfway through my enlistment. I was not a smoker, but I didn’t think it was fair that others were penalized for this habit. If they couldn’t smoke in their private rooms, then they needed someplace else. I am not a smoker by the way.

Because I supported an unpopular decision, I was prepared to lose everything that I had worked for (I made E-5 in two years). The person that stands up gets noticed and not always in a good way. There is always a penalty for courage.

I have been told that being able to survive and thrive with a chronic illness is courage. If endurance is courage, I might agree. I really don’t know. I do know that even when I have the days I want to stay in bed and sleep, I will get up and dress. I will take the dog for a walk. I will put one step in front of another and start each day new.

I’m not a hero. I haven’t pulled people from burning buildings. When I was in the Navy, I repaired equipment for others. I didn’t go on combat missions. I fear.

When someone tells me they admire my courage, I ask them about what is happening in their own life. Then I give them the words that help me to get up in the morning– “This too will pass. Each day is better than the last.”

A quick update on the health of the writer

Panama Rose
This week I saw the surgeon for a post-op appointment. He called me the patient with the small cancer.

I will admit loudly and proudly that I have a great imagination. I can imagine scenarios using full senses with a full emotional spectrum. It gets me into trouble when I am sick.

So while I was waiting impatiently for my surgery, I was imagining the cancer slyly putting tendrils throughout my thyroid and into my lymph nodes.

I had a happy shock when the cancer was confined to one nodule.

When I talked to the surgeon, I was told that I had been very lucky. I wouldn’t need radiation or chemo. All good news because I wasn’t happy with the thought of being even more isolated for days.

One of the hardest things I have done before my illness was to become socialized. I would rather sit at home or under the stars alone. So illness has strengthened my inner tendency to leave social situations. It is one of the reasons I miss Otto terribly. He was the only one that could sit with me and watch the stars. It’s hard to describe the emotion because it is deeper than love and comfort. There is no words for this type of companionship.

Last night I watched “No Batteries included.” Otto introduced me to that movie. I see myself in the little old lady who lost her mind through dementia. When I was extremely ill one year, Otto watched me like the old man watched his wife in the movie. I would wander off.

The movie hit so many buttons for me.

Still I can see that Otto socialized me to companionship. I was a bitter young woman. It wasn’t meeting Otto that was so pivotal to my life now. No, it was when I decided he was the man for me. It was another twist that brought me a good twenty-two years. He made me a better person and grounded my wild imagination.

So I noticed one thing about the surgery. My emotional instability stopped. That little cancer had been causing my emotions to swing from one extreme to another. It is such a relief to be able to think and feel on a normal level again. One nodule. One cancer.

There will be other challenges. I wouldn’t be this person without them. I’m hoping that the drama will be less though.

Also I will have to pull myself out of this self-imposed shell. It is time for me to be social again. I feel excited and scared all at once.

Gratuitous Foxy picture

img_0584 Since this has been an interesting week as in the “Chinese” curse “May you live in interesting times.” I thought a doggy picture of my companion would be appropriate.

I finally lost my monitor. I knew I would lose it because there was a high squeal coming from the back. To my opinion as a former electronics tech, I was losing a cap in the power supply. Since it was a small monitor and buying parts would be more expensive than a new monitor, I used it until one day it wouldn’t turn on.

I think I might give it to an used electronics store– it is probably fixable. I just don’t have the time, energy, or money. Also I have room to write, but no room for electronics repair as a hobby.

The second thing that happened this week was the attitude of many of my doctors. I have been trying to get an appointment that leads to surgery because it is obvious to me that my thyroid is going to malfunction more and more until it dies and/or I have other problems. Because it is supposed to be a slow-moving cancer, many of the doctors do not have the urgency that I have about getting this problem fixed. One told me that getting the surgery now or in three months wouldn’t make any difference considering the kind of cancer I had.

I am learning once again that beating my head against the wall of medical “knowledge” will only give me a sore head– in more ways than one. So I am now cranky as well as exhausted with my body going through so many ups and downs this month– (cold then hot, happy then angry, and always in extremes).

I would like to go back to “balance.” I miss those days.

Today I went back to one of my novellas that I started last year. I want to get it written and then published. I also have started the third book in the Hilda’s Inn series called “Unlicensed Sorceress.”

The good news is that I have had enough energy to rearrange my writing room and clear out all the paper that was clogging my energy levels. More good news is that I am enjoying my new monitor. I find it easier to use for my writing.

Don’t forget that I do have a new book out– “Dragon Boy.” You can find it here at Amazon.com.