brave

At an event for the City Arts & Lectures series in San Francisco, Miranda July explained why she used uncomfortable and awkward interactions in her films. She said that the comfortable was already known, so why even bother? The uncomfortable is where there is more to learn, and it’s a place people don’t often go. Going there, confronting your fears about the many different kinds of the unknown, is like gaining a superpower. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what I remember her saying. That night, right after she said it, I decided to pursue the uncomfortable, to stay inside any moment where I felt afraid, to realize my superpower.

I think of a phrase I heard at AA: “You’re more scared of the solution than the problem.” I could write a memoir about this. The problem is familiar. The solution is uncomfortable, unknown; it might not work.

In a Kelis song called “Brave,” she sings: I was super cool, but now I’m super strong. I had nothing to lose, but I was super wrong. I was super tough, but now I’m super strong. This is exactly how I feel. I was cool and tough and reckless when I was drinking. I lost those things, or parts of them, or I no longer identify with them, but I gained strength. I now feel strong.

I told my therapist that I was trying to be brave all the time now. She said that sounded really hard.

In my first post on this blog, I said that I was not worried about making it through the winter holidays sober, because I had gotten sober in the spring and I wanted to make a year so badly. In my mind, there was no way I could possibly relapse before a year, even though I had seen so many people do so, even though I was already scared that I would relapse one day after the year. I realize now that I never knew that I would make it through the holidays.

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