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Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Tell Me Something Brave

Around five years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution: Be More Brave. I didn’t normally make resolutions, but something had shifted within me. I wanted to see what was possible.

I started in small ways: I wrote more and shared it with people, a habit I’d fallen out of for some time. Then, I started doing more writing online, reviews and personal essays, and I found that the more difficult something was to write, the more enthusiastically it was received. It felt good. But still, writing was something I’d always enjoyed and had skill with. What more could I do?

Reading it aloud, in front of an audience. Friends, the first time I read some of my fiction at a literary reading, I wanted to throw up. I lamented that we were in a booze-less coffee shop, and I was so unused to hearing my own voice over a microphone. Still, I did it, and then I did it again. And again.

This resolution wasn’t just for the year; it was now a life practice.

Recently, I started participating in poetry slams. I’m not really much of a poetry writer. Slams allow me to be more informal about it, to treat it as a monologue with rhythm. Surprisingly, I did well. I didn’t win the whole thing, but I was well-received, and I found that I didn’t feel very nervous at all.

What more could I do?

My husband has always told me that I can sing, and that I sound much better than I think I do. I’d been on stage as part of a musical’s chorus, but apart from one effort at karaoke, I’d never really sung alone. I needed to be brave. If reading aloud had become easy, then singing was next.

Last week, after some rehearsal, I sang a song at an open mic, with a talented friend of mine playing guitar. Oh, I was good and liquored up, but apparently, I did all right. The audience was receptive (though it helps that my friend is a quite popular local musician) and I received compliments. Maybe they were bullshitting me, but maybe they weren’t. The point is, I did it.

And I want to do it again. I want to be able to do it without a bunch of gin down my gullet. Bring on the bravery.

So tell me, what have you done lately (or ever!) that’s been brave? What do you want to do?

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

14 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Tell Me Something Brave”

I just quit my job and decided to start a business with all of the awesome garden + accessory making ideas I have had for YEARS!  The catalyst for this was that a friend was selling a loom for a fraction of it’s worth (custom fabric + handmade bags = YES!) , and it’s like the kind I used to work on when I did historic preservation work.  Add to this that my table waiting job has gotten to the point of being physically painful and emotionally/mentally exhausting bc the husband/wife boss team bought a new+bigger place.  Since they’re devoting their time to remodeling it, they’ve totally checked out of the old place (where I’m working) and propped on a zillion new responsibilities (with no pay raise).  And every bad internet review gets me a reprimand even though I have dozens of super happy multiple time a week regulars.

tl;dr – I left a very toxic job to start an artsy-fartsy business. OMG!!!?!?!?!!

I signed up for bootcamp about 4 weeks ago and I was pretty worried that I would be the slowest, weakest, fattest person there. Well, turns out I am all of those things but I make it through the class every time and now I can do 43 pushups in 2 minutes. I feel pretty proud of myself.

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder. I’m terrified, and I mean TERRIFIED of role-playing, even among friends. I was so scared that I would be laughed at or ridiculed for lack of creativity or being too silly or not silly enough or not knowing a rule, but none of that has happened. I’m having so much fun! I still get nervous before I play, but once I’m there I enjoy the hell out of it.

I was like that my first time playing with the bf’s friends. I made the mistake of letting them build my character for me. I got so bored with that character so fast. The second campaign I was in was way better. I will say, after years of being a gamer now, most of the time I’m happy just to have someone who really wants to play the game and get along with the other players. I don’t care if they don’t know the rules or make missteps from time to time. (Of course my group changes systems so often half the time I don’t know the rules. It’s kinda funny how we all get to a point of “No one will ride a horse, because we don’t want to waste time figuring out the mechanics for that.”)

I moved to NYC from Waco, Texas, without really knowing people up here or having a place to stay. I lived in hostels for 3 weeks until I found a sublease for the remainder of the summer theater program I was in, then went looking for a job so I could stay after it ended. And a couple days ago I went to LA to be on Jeopardy, which was its own special breed of terrifying. But I got through it without crying on camera or throwing up backstage.

I recently got a tattoo on the inside of my upper arm.  I had heard from so many people that it was quite painful, I was pretty scared to do it.  (Just FYI: it didn’t hurt more than any other part of the body and it didn’t hurt near as much as going over bone.)

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