Everybody’s been there/Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy/Fallen for the fear/And done some disappearing,/Bow down to the mighty/Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue. (“Brave” by Sara Bareilles)
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath/Scared to rock the boat and make a mess/So I sat quietly, agreed politely/I guess that I forgot I had a choice/I let you push me past the breaking point/I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything/You held me down, but I got up (hey!)/Already brushing off the dust/You hear my voice, your hear that sound/Like thunder, gonna shake the ground/You held me down, but I got up/Get ready ’cause I had enough/I see it all, I see it now. (“Roar” by Katy Perry)
Do these song lyrics look familiar? Well, they should as they were certainly on recent Top 40 hit lists. And I’m sure if you’ve heard these two songs, you might be confused about which song you’re listening to as the melody is uncannily similar. But what’s most special about these two lyrics is that, beyond the melody, both songs strike another similarity in theme. “Brave” and “Roar” incite motivational, inspirational, and empowering sentiments of overcoming adversity by being courageous enough to stand up and stand out, regardless of the possible consequences—and let’s face it, we’ve all been there a time or two. Whether you’re conquering a fear of public speaking, standing up to a bully, or making a risky investment, we’ve all got some mountain before us that we need to climb over. Like Toni Morrison once said, “you wanna fly, you got to give up the [stuff] that weighs you down,” and you already have the tools to do that, right [see last 5 posts]?
So, with your eagerness, your vocalness, affableness, radiance, and boldness, carry with you a willingness to learn from others, to be humble, to be gracious, to trust yourself, and to trust the journey. Bloom where you are planted; whether it’s at Earhart, Jones, Spelman, or Harvard. Whether it’s at a Fortune 500 company, in a courtroom, or on a remote island working to cure a disease. I’m sure you have or will experience challenges and triumphs, but just know that during those difficult times, you are being made stronger and better. When a mere rock is put under an enormous amount of pressure, it turns into a beautiful diamond. Don’t let life make you a coward. Be brave.
From this day forward, I challenge you to apply this acronym—B.R.A.V.E—to your own life. I challenge you to be brave, to live your life, and to love every moment of it. And you’ve already taken the first step in being brave. It’s brave to live life and love it, to love whatever and whomever you love. It’s brave not to follow the pack, to be different. I commend you on your bravery, and I empower you to keep it going.