Xeno Hemlock


We Are Made, Not Born, Brave/The 3 Benefits of Being Brave

There's something to love about BRAVE people: those who are not afraid to speak their mind even if what they have to say is contrary to popular and outdated beliefs, those who are not afraid to do as they please even with the risk of looking silly in the eyes of others, and those who dare to take the road less traveled because it's scary to live life without a map. They radiate with fiery aura, scorching hot to some, soul-renewing to others. Some of them get labeled heroes, some are misunderstood. They can be anybody, someone appearing in  magazines or even living next door. If given a choice whether to live life as a brave person or not, I'll always pick the former. Easy and tough choice. But I wasn't always that way. We aren't born BRAVE. We are made BRAVE.

My copy of Rose McGowan's  Brave

My copy of Rose McGowan's Brave

When I was reading Rose McGowan's memoir Brave, a part of me was still trying to conjure images of Paige Matthews, Rose's character in the TV series Charmed, as I traversed the pages. Paige had always been independent and strong-willed, brave, despite being the youngest Charmed sister. While the bald and spunky Rose narrating the memoir was brave too, a part of me was still yearning for Paige even when it was blatant that the former had already killed the latter. I supposed that was the bumpy phase when we see someone in a new light, the BRAVE light. The new version of the person no longer fits the box we put them in and they grow their way out of our expectations so we try to push them back in. It's no longer possible to do so. Our ego gets bruised. We feel the hurt. Our mind sometimes fails to make the new connection.

I embraced bald Rose completely when I started seeing myself in the pages of her memoir. Being BRAVE has been one of the themes of my writing career. I realised that I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't act BRAVE despite the fears and doubts that tried to overshadow me and prevent me from achieving my dream. If I have no problem accepting the BRAVE version of me then why should I have any issue with BRAVE Rose? 

Being BRAVE is not living without fear. That's a huge misconception. Instead, being BRAVE is acting despite the presence of fear. We don't really get rid of our fears. We just conquer them. We conquer them so well that their presence in our minds is no longer powerful to control us. We've become the dominatrix, the master, and fear our obedient partner, the slave. We aren't born BRAVE but we become one by changing our unproductive mindset, killing all fear-based beliefs, and taking actions on the things we ought to be doing but often second guess so. In my pursuit of the writing dream, there were a lot of times when I didn't know the right way to do things and the outcomes of my choices. But I chose to take actions, did the tasks I must do. I felt the fear and did them anyway. Again and again. And again. Until fear no longer held power over me and I became BRAVE.

There are three benefits when we become BRAVE.



Becoming BRAVE moulds and strengthens our identity. The clothing of fear gets undressed from us and we get to discover who we really are: our core values, likes, dislikes, strengths, traits that need improvement, and even our life philosophies. Whatever label and expectation the world has on us, they no longer matter. Things that do not align with our identities become irrelevant. We begin to possess an "I don't give a fuck" aura because we stop seeking validation. Our strengthened identities turn into the new compass of our lives.



After our identities become steel and unflinching, we start to live with clarity. The vision of how we want our lives to be transforms from a collection of vague images to a picturesque landscape. Because the destination is finally identified, the path to get there takes shape. Our purpose and ambitions become known to us. The elephant in the room in some people's lives is that they haven't figured out their identities yet. Thus, they don't know what they really want to do with their lives. BRAVE people move from point to point in life with a sense of urgency and unbridled enthusiasm because their purpose and ambition are well-defined. Obstacles may attempt to stop them but can never really hold them back.



Ever wonder how to minimise the hurt and pain from naysayers' vitriolic words? Ever wonder how to separate distractions from the important things? Be a BRAVE person and you'll gain shield and armour against them. The bitter words from haters and naysayers cannot rattle BRAVE people because their identities are sturdy. Puny words of self-loathing disguised as criticisms do not affect BRAVE people. They also can see through distractions easily because they know their goals so well that they can align things and events to distinguish what matters from what do not. BRAVE people steamroll over naysayers and distractions without much difficulty. They do not have weak hearts. 


We only have one life. Now the question is: will you choose to be BRAVE?