In chapter five of his book entitled David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, Malcolm Gladwell discusses courage. He says “Courage is not something you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”
When he says this, he is talking about how the Germans miscalculated the psychological effects of bombing London in early 1940. They were expecting the bombs to cause Londoners to fall into mass hysteria. Although they were fatal to many people, those that were ‘missed’ felt as though they were invincible. They had literally dodged a bullet, and now there was nothing that was out of reach for them. Their chances of survival were overwhelmingly slim, but when the smoke cleared, they were alive.
When I read that quote, I got the chills. It spoke to me so strongly. Not that my ‘tough times’ were found to be not ‘so tough after all’, but the point of the quote resonates with me. My chances of surviving and thriving were abysmal. But here I am. The tough times I have experienced were and probably (hopefully) always will be the toughest in my life. I can take on any challenge that I may encounter with this in mind, and suddenly it doesn’t seem so hard. I continue to have a nightmare (flashback) about my time in the hospital every once in a while, and it makes me shudder to think about the fact that any of that actually happened to me.
My accident revealed my initial courage, but my life after has tested it every single day since. Every day, I think I have earned some courage because every day feels impossible, but then I do it. Sometimes it’s easier than others, but I make it through every single one. Every day, I stare my Goliath in the face and every day, I fling a rock at his forehead.
I defeated my Goliath when I graduated college and walked across the stage with grace and dignity, none of which I had just two years prior.
I defeat my Goliath when I put on some bright lipstick, something I usually avoid because it draws attention to my crooked mouth.
I will continue to defeat my Goliath every day, with every success I achieve. With every breath I take on my own, with every step I take on two working legs, I win.
Everyone has a different Goliath. I know that mine is pretty unique and not exactly relatable, but my struggles are the same. I, too, have days where things are hard and terrible and I just want to quit, but then there are the days that feel like the gods are smiling down on me. I am determined to have a great fucking life despite what’s been thrown at me. So bring it on, universe.
I hope that my determination can be an example to anyone who is grappling with any Goliath. Every day, every fight, is worth it.