June 08, 2015

magic monday

I am a member of a secret society. The Hannah Brencher Monday Morning Email Club. This weeks email was all about bravery—what it means to be brave, all different forms of bravery, why people like to attack you for not being brave. And it hit me right in the heart. 

"You don’t actually get to stand beside someone and tell them whether or not they’ve reached a level of bravery. You don’t actually get to determine what does or does not make a person brave, or lovely, or worthy, or good. That’s not your right. That’s not your calling.That’s just a tactic to try to keep someone else from reaching their full potential. If you ask me, the world already has enough of that floating around."

This mornings email made me think about my anxiety, that beast that lives in my head and attacks my heart with such a fury it makes me panic. Lately, I have not been doing well. Lately, I have been putting up walls again between me and the people I love the most in this world. Lately, I feel more and more like I did when I was sixteen: cold and empty and lost and broken. 

I am working on it. I am always working on it. Trying to not put my walls up anymore. Trying not to hide my feelings about the things that bother me and unnerve me right to the core. I am trying to make the best of my coping techniques: my breathing patterns I once learned in a blue recliner in my therapist's office 5 years ago, counting backwards from 1000, willing whatever is bothering me to just please go away. 

Lately I have found my best coping mechanisms come through expressing myself. Putting words down on paper, playing with paint, cutting and glueing and making stuff gives me the best sense of calm. But I suppose subconsciously I already knew that: photography and writing have always been my standbys, learned through the anxiety brought on by my PTSD. Now I've just translated my making into a new tangible form, making books from paper and paint and glue. 

Maybe this is what it means to be brave. To take your feelings and create something you can hold and see and touch. Maybe this is what it means to stand and face your fears, even when your anxiety says you can't let anyone else in. Maybe I am brave. 

(Dear Hannah Brencher, thank you for making my Monday's a little more awesome. Thank you for the pep talks and the love letters. Thank you for the inspiration.)


  1. I admire the way you express yourself in this blog, in your photography and in your words. I really think you're brave, definitely keep on looking for the nice things in life is one of my definitions of bravery. You're such an inspiration, Anna. Greetings from Spain!

    1. Thank you so much Marina! And thank you for featuring me on your blog the other day. It made my heart smile.