Whenever I want to give up,

I think of the bold words of Ralph Waldo Emerson

“God will not have his work made manifest by cowards”

And I want to scream.

I am not a coward, God.

I am not a coward. I will keep going.

Keep knocking on doors.

Keep doing the work.

Keep making a fool of myself. Falling. Hurting.

And I won’t give up.

Not even when my legs don’t want to move.

Not even when my heart feels like it is sitting inside concrete.

Not even when I would rather be a coward than live this courageous life.

Not even when I ask why bother, we all die.

Why bother with it all when in the end, it doesn’t really matter how much fear I lived through.

I have a confession to make.

Whenever someone really courageous dies, I cry.

I think about all the courage they had to master in their life, all their hard work and now they are gone. Gone. Forever.

Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind all her life and championed for the deaf. Courageous.

Nelson Mandela, spent 20 years in prison. Resilient.

Martin Luther King, fought against so much unfairness. Dreamer.  

George Orwell, gave up his wealth for something greater. Humble.

Amelia Earhart the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Disappeared forever while flying around the world. Wonder woman.

I cry for them.

As if they were my friends.

As if we had known each other.

As if I was there when they were there.

I want to be courageous like they were.

I want my life to matter. Like theirs.

And then I think of all of my fears, and I want to grab them, and scramble them.

As if they are made of nothing.

Destroy them with my will.

And scatter them everywhere.

I want to run to the highest mountain, and see what I am made of.

To run out of breath, and collapse.

As if I have no more air to breathe.

And then find my way back. Or not.

Or not.

To not be afraid of that, the not coming back.

To not be afraid of losing everything again.

You see, because of all the loss I have experienced, I am so afraid of loss.

Because I know how my body can’t even withstand it.

It is as if I have seen the monster that lives in my attic and I am scared of it coming out again.

So I go quiet, to not wake it.

So I stay in, so it won’t hear me open the door.

So I pretend to not exist so it won’t come after me and take what I have left.

And then I think about what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about God not entrusting his work to cowards, and I know.

I just know.

I have to make noise even if the monster in my attic hears it.

I have to leave my house knowing that loss will meet me along the way. (Click to Tweet!)

And I know you do too.

You do.

You must come along with me, and let the monster in the attic hear you leave.

Let it come downstairs.

Let is try to scare you.

Let it roar on your face. I know you can roar back. I know you can.

And you know what else?

The monster has a secret.

It can’t leave the prison it has made for you.

So, it tries to keep you inside, afraid of the world outside.

It knows once you are courageous, you won’t look back.

The monster won’t be a monster anymore, it will be something that was feared once but forgotten.

Come along with me, and Amelia, and Martin, and Helen, Nelson too, let’s leave our monsters behind like they did. Let’s…

With many monsters waiting for me to come back home,

P.S. 11 days left until the next exit. Join me in my next class here.

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Christina Rasmussen is an author, speaker and social entrepreneur who believes that grief is an evolutionary experience required for launching a life of adventure and creative accomplishment.

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