Since Caitlyn Jenner’s photos for the upcoming issue of Vanity Affair spread through the media like wild fire, there have been a lot of folks questioning her bravery. Some comparing her “coming out” to the picture of a solider carrying another solider through the mud, while still fighting off the enemy. When it was announced she would receive an ESPY award, it became worse.
Tonight when I logged onto Facebook the first 3 of 5 posts were challenging her bravery. And I wondered; who are we to question anyone’s bravery? After all, there are many forms of bravery.
True, it’s the solider in combat defending the liberties we all take for granted from time to time. Where would our country, and the world, be without them?
But bravery is also the child dealing with a serious illness, and even though their body looks like a pincushion and is racked with pain, they endure another round of treatment. Often with a smile for those who love and care for them, because they don’t want to add to their parents pain.
It’s the parents who cry in the bathroom, or cry themselves to sleep each night because they’re watching their child bear the unbearable. Or worse yet, they’ve lost a child and can barely find the air to breathe.
It’s the person suffering from mental illness who finds the strength to go on another day, hoping tomorrow will be better. That the new “cocktail” they’re on to to help really does help.
It’s the abused spouse who finally has enough and leaves. Often times with nothing more then the clothes on their back.
It’s the single parent struggling to make ends meet. Tired and wondering how they’re going to pay the rent, or buy food. But still finds the energy to help their kids with their homework, play in the front yard after a long day at work, and snuggles them and says it will get better when they have no idea how that’s going to happen.
Bravery is the kid learning to ride a bike, walking across the dance floor to ask a girl to dance, or speaking in front of an auditorium full of strangers when shyness tells you to run and hide.
And bravery is Caitlyn Jenner embracing who she really is and sharing herself with the world hoping to help other transgender individuals along the way.
Bravery comes in many, many forms. Who are we to say which is the hardest?