How Big Is Your Brave?

I’ve been hung up on all things Brave lately. I love the animated movie, Brave, which FINALLY features a princess who isn’t looking for a prince! Alas, she isn’t looking for another princess (sigh – I guess that would be too much to ask for), but she is content to be her own woman, not defined by a need to marry a man. I love Merida!

I’ve also been addicted to Sara Bareilles’ album, The Blessed Unrest. Nearly every song on that album resonates with me, especially “Brave”. Some songs, like “Brave”, feel like they were written just for me. This song has become a personal anthem, and that feeling was validated when Sara did a television interview in which she said that she wrote that particular song for a friend who was struggling with coming out. (Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “Jubilee” always strikes me the same way although I’ve never read anywhere what inspired Mary Chapin to write that song.)

A lot of brave things have been happening lately. Some things, like Ellen Page and Michael Sam’s coming out, feel big because they get so much media attention. Our governor and attorney general – yes, here in Virginia – have been brave enough to do the right thing and publicly defend our constitutional right to marry the one we love. Federal judges have been brave enough to rule based on what the Constitution says rather than what a vicious, vocal segment of our population has tried to force on the nation.

Other brave things, smaller in scale but no less important, have been happening as well. Our local bookstore, the last independently owned one in my town, has been carrying my books and is hosting me for a second book signing this weekend to celebrate the release of my newest novel, Year of the Monsoon.


As if that weren’t brave enough in a small town in a conservative state, our local newspaper ran an interview with me about my books today! I remember, back in 2006, when Virginia had an anti-same-sex-marriage amendment on the ballot, how much vitriol ran in that newspaper. But recently, they’ve run fair and well-written stories about the two Virginia cases moving through the federal court system to challenge that very amendment.

On an even more personal level, my partner and I had a talk before I did the newspaper interview. As hard as it may be for some people to understand, there are still many places and professions where it is not safe for us to be out and open. My partner works in a such a field, so I needed to know if she was okay with my doing the interview in the first place, and then how open to be. I can’t tell you how proud I was of her bravery when she said to me, “Be as open as you want to be.”

In the end, I decided not to name her, but I did mention that my partner and I have been together for twenty-one years. I’m as proud of that as I am of anything else I’ve ever done in my life.

My wish for each of you reading this – whatever it is, no matter how big or little it may be – is that you find your brave!


4 thoughts on “How Big Is Your Brave?

  1. Congratulations, Caren. It sounds like you’re getting some great exposure for your books.
    I enjoyed your blog post. Bravery, in all the forms you’ve mentioned here, is always inspiring.

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