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  • Writer's pictureClarissa Tapia

What is Bravery?

When I think of bravery I think of superheroes like Wonder Woman who are not afraid of anything and feel even in their bones that they are not going to fail no matter what is thrown at them. Or women like J.K. Rowling who gave everything she had into her writing despite her dire circumstances and is now a legend, a true world renown author. Why is it that so many women, myself included, don't exercise their bravery muscle? Why is it that we compare ourselves to role models who are unattainable? And then make ourselves feel bad for coming up short. I think we are braver then we give ourselves credit for, we just don't realize we're doing it. Over the years, I have flexed my bravery muscle... but I never identified my actions as brave - I would actually consider them impulsive and a mistake. I will give you an example. When I graduated college in 2014, I had a dream job lined up. I was going to be a news reporter for a top 100 market news company in Texas. I had worked my ass off through college for an opportunity like this - needless to say I was thrilled. I arrived with energy, ideas, hope and unfortunately, a set of expectations. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I started to feel that my expectations and reality were two VERY different things. Were the two every going to coincide? The answer is one-hundred-percent no, and it was the most heart wrenching disappointment for me to come to terms with the fact that I hated my job - the one thing I worked tirelessly to achieve for four years and here I was hating it. I left college thinking I was going to conquer the news world, become the next Today Show anchor, but I look back now and realize I was hoping to treat my job like school. Where someone was going to give me A's for my effort and ideas and perseverance, when the sad reality was, I was doing what was expected of me. I read a book recently called Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani and it summed it up perfectly when it said: "'If life were one long grade school, girls would rule the world.' This famous quote by Carol Dweck hits hard for all of us who are primed to be perfect girls. Of course she's right: in school, the quest for perfection may have served us well, but in the real world, there are no straight A's... Being sweet and ultra-meticulous may earn us gold stars in the classroom, but by the time we hit the real world, those stars aren't exactly raining from the sky."

As a straight A student for most of my life and summa cum laude graduate, I can tell you that I expected my journalistic career to follow suit. Surprise, surprise, it did anything but. I quit nine months into the job, moved from Texas back to Arizona and into my parents house - the ultimate sign of failure. Despite the obvious distress that comes with feeling like a failure - I have to tell you that when I left that office having said I had enough, tears rolling down my cheeks, heart beating out of my chest and anxious thoughts about my future flashing in my mind, I actually, deep down, felt relieved. No more getting up driving to work in tears. No more checking my two phones constantly expecting to get called in early. No more having to hear that I hadn't earned vacation yet. No more. I didn't see it then, but four years later, I am able to look back on that moment in my life and say with confidence that I was not a failure. I was brave. I said no to something that was not giving me joy. I said no to a job that was making me lose my hair from stress. I never talked about this chapter in my life for years because of shame. I think it's high time I own up to my act of bravery, in hopes that it inspires someone else to be brave today too.

I am now a realtor and Branch Manager for my company and have a wonderful work environment surrounded by people who inspire me. I've traveled throughout the United States and to Italy, Spain & Costa Rica. I am also very proud to say I qualified for a mortgage without assistance from my parents or a spouse and own my very own home. I am 27.

Check back in as I fill you in on my quest for bravery in this crazy life.

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