Melissa Blake

Melissa Blake

Disabled and Thriving

Finding Courage In Life

How a little plastic star helped me find courage

Posted Dec 19, 2010

The grand cosmos has a strange way of putting everything into its rightful place occasionally. We never even have to lift a finger, either. It's almost as if all the work is done for us as we just sit by and watch the change happen right before our eyes. Sometimes, we didn't know we desperately needed this change in our lives. Other times, we're looking for a sign - any sign - that the change we seek is in sight.

My mom recently found a laminated star while she was cleaning out one of her many overflowing bins. On the green star, in simple bold lettering, was the word "courage."

She gave it to me, and after last week's column about my struggle with depression, you probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that I've been carrying that little laminated star in my purse ever since. I've clung to it so tightly at times. It's become my security blanket, like a badge that sort of makes me feel like a superhero instead of the blubbering basket case I feel like most of the time. It's comforting to know that it's always close to me, and always close to my heart, because I've needed quite a bit of courage lately.

But don't we all? I mean, if we really think about it, isn't life just one gigantic marathon of taking a metaphorical courage star and running with it. Or, if you don't have the strength to run, just keeping it with you and waiting for that moment when the powers of the star - and yes, I do believe this star has magical powers - shine on you and push you forward.

Life takes courage. At times when we expect it, like when we lose someone we love, or when we make the courageous decision to change careers or relationships. And life takes courage, still, in those moments that, although smaller, define who we are. When we stand up for injustice, or finally find our voice after what seemed like years of searching for it. We feel victorious because we're no longer rendered silent.

So maybe we should all make our own laminated star. We could all band together through our badges.

But maybe, unlike me, courage isn't what you need right now. Maybe you need love, or joy, or hope, or laughter. Or maybe you just need a picture of yourself on the star to remind yourself every day just how beautiful you are. Nevermind those folks who will say that's vain. Just tell them it's part of your therapy and hand them a tolerance star.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to stand tall and carry my star with me.