The B Word

As I share this weird journey, people sometimes say the “b” word (brave) about this thing I’m in, but I don’t see it that way, really. I’ve certainly made choices. I chose to send a message to a cute guy online, and chose to invite that cute guy over when he also turned out to be a really smart guy. (Was that brave, inviting a stranger to my home after a day and a half of great messages back and forth?) I chose to ask him if he wanted to take a vacation with me. (Was that brave, risking rejection? Leaving the country with a foreign national I barely knew?) From there…the choices dwindled. I wasn’t brave for following where he had no choice but to go.  I was terrified.  I’m still a little lost sometimes. All I was doing was the only thing that made any sort of sense to me.

Brave would be facing a world without him in it. It’s much easier to be strong for him. To do what I need to now, knowing he’s happier when I’m happier. Perhaps it’s a little bit brave to love so much it sometimes hurts, knowing that we’re both mortal and there’s no such thing as forever.

I don’t feel brave. I feel many things, but the “b” word isn’t one of them (unless it’s “bitch,” as I definitely feel like a bitch now and then). I feel lucky to have what we have together. I feel scared that it’s the one tie that binds me to my new life. I feel lost when just getting an oil change requires days of thought and preparation and asking for help. I feel overwhelmed when the wind turns cold and whispers (or screams, as it did yesterday) of the approaching winter. I feel sad resignation that we’re only halfway through this separation, and it already feels like it’s been a long time since the husband last shared our home with me. I feel frustrated when I don’t feel up to doing what needs done. I feel a small and growing joy as the days pass, slow increments that draw the time closer when I’ll see him again. I feel cold, dammit, and sometimes sleep in a scarf.

I feel a lot of things, have felt a lot of things since we first found out we were going to the Saguenay. You remember that day, baby? That sad skype, you from Curacao, me from Brooklyn, when you’d finally had the doom laid by your career manager, no way out remaining? I remember it. And maybe I was brave that day. Just a little bit. I still had anxiety attacks, terrified that the amazing thing we had when you left in December would have changed for the worse (because how could it ever get BETTER than this?!?!) by the time you came home in March. But as we talked that day in January, maybe I was a little bit brave. False bravado, perhaps. I told you WE would be okay, whatever happened. That we could be happy anywhere, because we’d pack our awesomeness in the move.

Maybe I’ve been brave before. I don’t feel that way now. Sometimes I just feel tired, with the weight of the days between now and the return of my best friend pressing down on me. Maybe I’ll be brave again. Some days, when I manage to pay for gas without telling anyone, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. I don’t speak French,” I feel like I’m going to take over the world.

But not today. Today I’m going to drag my butt to the gym, try not to freeze to death afterwards, and try to run some errands I’ve been putting off for days. Today, I’m just getting by. Trying to make this clumsy meatsuit perch successfully on a snowboard this winter and point it down a (bunnyslope!) mountain…now THAT will be brave.

4 thoughts on “The B Word

  1. otterview says:

    I remember that day in Brooklyn. There was a quiet sense of concern but never a moment of doubt in you. I look forward to the day you come back to NYC and say yes, as a matter of fact, I DO snowboard. Life changes in ways good and bad all the time. Love you! 🙂

    • quebecokie says:

      I remember that day well, too. There was nothing to do but scramble eggs, fry some potatoes, and contemplate an incomprehensible future. Is it ever really so different? Glad I shared the knowable mystery with my other beloveds. My forever friends.

  2. Shaun says:

    Brave isn’t and never has been the same as “not afraid.” Brave is being scared out of your mind, and feeling like you’re just barely hanging on, and trembling and wanting to run away and doing something anyway.. You may not feel it, but every time you leave the house, terrified of the embarrassment that errands can bring you for not speaking French, and worried that you’ll look stupid, but you do it anyway…that’s brave. Every time you just want to curl up in bed and say “no more” but you get up and have a day, even if you just feel like you’re coasting by, counting days, that’s brave. We aren’t brave in the moments when we don’t have fear or anxiety. We can only be brave when we ARE scared.

    I’m loving the story of your adventures.

  3. quebecokie says:

    Rereading your comment, Shaun, I agree. Some days I’m not brave. Those ARE the days I curl up on the sofa, fail to pay what’s owed, fail to do anything to try to make things better or at least make something happen. Today, I am brave. Today I used my halting words and faced the awkwardness. And today I paid what’s owed. (What I “owe” is pretty much always cardio.) Tomorrow, I get the reward of some time back at home, with mon mari.

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