Day 749: Brave enough

Here’s something I’m often brave enough to ask when I’m facilitating a therapy group:

Who is brave enough to get us started?

Who is brave enough to get us started, here and now, dear readers?  I guess it’s  … me!

Are you brave enough to come along?

Right after I published yesterday’s post, which included this photo


… I was brave enough to take a closer look at the face of Penny the Pen, despite my fear of what I might see.


Eeeek!  It seems like Penny — by accompanying me on my adventures since the New Year — has experienced some assault and battery to her face. I’m glad she is brave enough to keep smiling.

Because I’m so sensitive to facial expressions, I wanted to immediately fix Penny’s face yesterday morning. But I wasn’t sure  I was skilled, steady, or brave enough to do so.

I had the equipment.


That’s a permanent marker, so I wasn’t brave enough to use it, at first. However, other non-permanent solutions (like pencils and pens) did not make a mark, at all.

After taking a deep breath, I was brave enough to use that permanent Sharpie to draw in Penny’s eyebrow.

Are you brave enough to look?


I’m brave enough to brag that I did a good-enough job on Penny’s eyebrow.   I haven’t been brave enough, so far, to attempt repairing her eye.

Are you brave enough to vote about what to do about Penny’s eye, in the comments below?  Here are the options I am brave enough to see, at the moment:

  1. I become brave enough to draw a new eye for Penny, despite the risks of drawing something that  might look weird, permanently.
  2. I become brave enough to let Penny stay as she is now, reframing and re-seeing her expression as a friendly wink.
  3. I become brave enough to let somebody else do the repair, who is more skilled and experienced than I.

Right now, I am brave enough to see some parallels there between Penny’s face and my unusual heart (which may need some fixing in the near future, too).

What else do I want to tell you, today, about “Brave Enough”?

Yesterday, I was brave enough to do 7 miles on my brand new, pink elliptical!

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I watched the movie Muscle Shoals while I was brave enough to log all those mile yesterday. Here are some photos I was brave enough to take, along the way.


That’s the hospital where singer Percy Sledge was brave enough to work and to sing for the patients, before he was brave enough to create his first record —  “When A Man Loves A Woman” —  at  a music studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.

Here’s Percy Sledge, bravely singing that song (found here on YouTube) from his heart and soul:

When I was brave enough to reach this distance on my elliptical:


I saw the brave man we are honoring in the USA today.

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A few miles after seeing Martin Luther King, Jr., I saw another personal hero, who grew up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

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That’s Helen Keller (who previously appeared in this post, which I wrote last May, when I was being brave enough while recovering from pneumonia).

I am now brave enough to recommend the movie Muscle Shoals to you, without reservation.

Here are some more things I am brave enough to tell you, right now:

  1. Last week, I was brave enough to ask someone if I had lost her by expressing some frustration and anger. Her brave answer: “It would be impossible for you to lose me.”
  2. In two days, I will be meeting with my long-time and trusted cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem. I plan to be brave enough to ask him some questions about possible surgical repairs for my very unusual heart AND brave enough to listen to his answers.
  3. I took some photos yesterday of our two cats — Harley and Oscar — who are brave enough to have very different styles, regarding bravery:

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That’s Harley, reacting to my being on the elliptical for the first time, running by as quickly as he can. Here’s Oscar, with more obvious bravery:

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Are you brave enough to stick around for a few more photos I snapped yesterday, at my weekly supermarket shopping with my boyfriend Michael?  Penny stayed home, resting her eye, but I brought along this stand-in


who first appeared in this post I was brave enough to write, last month, after consulting with other cardiologists.

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Oh, and just one more photo, from this morning:


Oscar and Harley are both brave enough to stick by me here. That helps me feel brave enough, today.

Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr., to Helen Keller, to Percy Sledge and the other incredible musicians and producers who’ve worked together at Muscle Shoals studios, to everyone and everything that helped me be brave enough to write this post, and to all those who are brave enough in their own way, every day — including you, of course.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 55 Comments

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55 thoughts on “Day 749: Brave enough

  1. You should be grateful that you can’t hear my attempts at singing percy’s classic haha. And Penny’s hair looks just like mine some mornings.

  2. Bravery ~ what a great an important word to focus on, and love how you break it down so well in this post. For the small things (fixing poor Penny…), to bigger things (exercising and bravely doing what is best for your body), to admirable things (seeing and acknowledging the bravery you see around you) and then finally the bravery to ask the difficult questions and knowing you will be brave enough for the answers. It is a trait you have given us over all your posts ~ 749 if the count is right 🙂 and thanks to you a trait we have shared and grown.

    Wish you a good weekend…and Go Seahawks 🙂

    • Randall, your beautiful words, wishes, and perspectives have helped me be braver, every time we meet here. And thanks for role-modeling bravery so well, including saying “Go Seahawks” to somebody from New England!

  3. First off, nothing is permanent, there is very little you can do that can’t be undone. My grandmother stopped me the other day and said “Kate, something wasn’t working the other day and I almost called you to help me come fix it, but I stopped and said ‘no, last time Kate told me that it’s okay to just push buttons’ and I remember, you always just hit the buttons and fix things, so that’s what I did!” I expressed how glad I was that she fixed it, and reminded her that yup, there isn’t a button you can hit that you can’t recover from!

    And nail polish remover will remove sharpie from the pen’s face… so if you mess up, it’s not a big deal. You can try again. 🙂

  4. yeoldefoole

    Penny’s adorable as she is! Let this be a sign that what we suffer can make us more beautiful.

    • Thanks to you, there’s a lesson and a sign about bravery, suffering, and beauty, no matter what happens with adorable Penny!

  5. I vote you repair Penny’s eye Ann! You can do it!
    Diana xo

  6. Glad you’re feeling so brave! At some point you’ll be brave enough to repair Penny’s eye (after she has rested enough).
    I was brave enough to drive a rental car in Miami! That may not sound brave to some, but I live in a town of 400 and the closest BIG town has only 6,000 people. Miami felt, to me, like New York City!

  7. a most insightful
    gallery 🙂

  8. I thought of this old song about being brave and having confidence. I thought Julie Andrews was so funny (I know this is old but I still find it funny)

  9. Bravery is such a strong and demanding word. But you are more than meeting its demands. I’m so glad you gave Penny her eyebrow back – that was a brave bit of cosmetic surgery. The eye will come next, when you’re feeling brave enough to do it. You photos, as always, are beautiful.

    • Your comments, as always, are beautifully supportive, empathic, and understanding. You help me be braver every time you express yourself, Millie.

  10. You and Penny are so brave 🙂

  11. Brave is a very big word and it is something we all need in our lives. Its harder for us shy ones, but the blogging world is fixing that for me. I like the pen how it is I feel a bit like penny somedays. Happy day to you.

  12. Ann,
    I think you should keep your pen-friend with the “wink” in place. After your meeting with your doctor in a couple of days, that wink from Penny may be more than simply a blemish. It may just be a wink of reassurance, that all will be A-OK!

  13. I think the opposite. I think Oscar and Harley are both looking comfort from a brave person likes you.

  14. I think Penny is brave enough to face the world with whatever eye you put on her, Ann. I vote option A. One straight swoop down, even with the other eye. Like an I, now that eye’m thinking about it.

  15. If there is one thing I am not it is brave, just saying

  16. I wasn’t sure I was brave enough to view this post after I saw the photo of Percy Sledge and his song “When a Man Loves a Woman.” It takes me back to a dark place – an ex I was happy to leave in my rear view mirror.

    Penny’s smiling face, however, pulled me in despite her missing some of her stunning features. You did a good job, Ann, of restoring them. 😉

  17. 7 miles is quite an accomplishment- I love that pink elliptical! Penny’s new look is great-I like the wink. You and Penny are both brave and will face the future together(along with your blogging friends of course 😉

  18. jakesprinter

    Very powerful post 🙂

  19. Keep your courage up, and keep seeing it in others. I think that makes the world a bit safer and happier and we should all be doign the same.

  20. You are definitely a one-off!

  21. Penny has an inner smile that shines through whether she has one eye or two. (Although her secret might be that 90% of her joy is expressed through her hair.)

    I wonder if model paint would work, if you find that a Sharpie doesn’t? There are some very fine brushes for model paint — some as fine as one bristle.

    You’re brave for helping Penny face the world again.

  22. kellie@writingmoment

    I vote number one please, draw a new eye for Penny. It will be different to the other but who cares, if you are brave enough (and if the mismatched eyes bother you) you can draw over the other so they look similar 😉

  23. Pingback: Day 750: At last (you’re here) | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  24. Yesterday, I saw an advertisement for a heart research charity here in the UK. Several very young children were brave enough to try and say the impossible names of their very rare heart conditions.

  25. Pingback: Day 2478: Learning how to be brave | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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