Ever since I started telling people I’d passed my EPIK interview, I’ve gotten a certain response, after I explained what it meant. It’s one of those “I don’t know what I should say in response to this, so I’ll just laugh and say thank you.”
The response is – “You’re so brave!”
And I appreciate the intent with which the comment is made. I understand that it’s meant as a compliment, I accept it as such, and I don’t (usually) dwell on it.
Except that I have one of those brains that grabs hold of an idea – usually a useless one – and obsesses over it. And what it has grabbed onto right now is this: There are many things I feel like right now, but brave isn’t really one of them.
Mostly, I’m a strange combination of scared and excited. Confident and completely unprepared. Completely exhausted. Confused, because I feel like time is moving too quickly and too slowly all at once, and I can’t find a way to stand still for long enough to work out what’s really going on around me.
But I don’t feel brave. I’ve lived in Pretoria, in the same house, since… always. I’ve never been out of the country before. I feel more foolhardy that courageous. I feel a tiny bit like a hobbit leaving the Shire.
(Guess which movie my mom and I saw last week…)
I don’t know why I don’t feel as brave as everyone else thinks. I should. What I’m doing is obviously considered very brave by the people around me, and I know that many of them feel that they couldn’t do what I’m doing. And that’s probably true, but…
I was thinking about what my other options would have been, had I stayed in South Africa. I honestly don’t know what they would have been. I can’t imagine them at all, or maintaining a life here now, given that I know (even if only just secondhand) what I’d be missing out on if I decided not to go.
And the more I think about, the more I realise how my brain has been processing the idea of the word brave. I don’t think I’ve ever though of the word brave in terms of a rational, well considered and thoroughly planned decision. Brave actions always seem a bit rash and unprepared. All rushing headlong into danger, in defiance of all the nasty, uncomfortable things that one may encounter that would make one late for dinner.
And I know that’s not what people mean when they say it, but… you know, staying would be braver than leaving at this point. I know what to expect in Korea. At least… more than I know what I could expect of my life here now.
So. This has been pointless and rambling.