VOGUE // JUNE 2013 // PG 89
I loved this article in last month’s British Vogue by Polly Morland, author of The Society of TimidSouls, which gave insight into her quest of ‘how to be brave’.
In the pages of her book, she has sought out and compiled stories of the world’s most courageous people triggered by her own timid soul. She told Vogue: “I was underequipped in the courage department…little by little I realised how much I’d love to be brave, or at least a little bit braver."
It got me deliberating the subject myself.
My mind automatically deems courage an act of extreme bravery or action; something life threatening, transforming or with high levels of risk. This is still true and I can’t begin to imagine what depths the courage arises from to tackle such feats. Then there’s also the self-imposed courage it takes to throw yourself out of a plane or swim with sharks which is again triumphant.
However, I also believe courage seeps into the everyday too. As well as the generally confirmed forms of valour, there can also be an extremely personal level of bravery. A single step outside your comfort zone can take a tremendous amount of bravery. Traits such as speaking your mind and standing up for yourself take bravery. Snap, spontaneous decisions, take bravery. Sometimes, with events such as the monstrosity in Woolwich not to mention global sufferings, it can feel brave to even leave the house on a daily basis.
Yet avoiding being brave can leave you stuck in your mousehole. In her article, Polly said: “Fear turned out to be absolutely central to their mettle, the intuitive bedrock from which their bravery sprang.” We’ve all heard those vacant inspirational phrases such as ‘do something everyday that your scared of’ alongside the ‘YOLOs’ but maybe there’s a whiff of sense amongst those treacly words. Is it fear that forces us out of the safety zone into a more fulfilled life?
As also mentioned, it seems this craving for bravery in such an unstable environment has triggered a reaction on the fashion front too. Loud prints, bright colours, bold ensembles and ‘crazy’ designs could all be deemed as ‘brave’ by the wearers. Statement style evokes individual strength and fearlessness and defies mass conformity and in the end, is vital to the future of the industry.
“I’ve learnt that it’s in looking and thinking beyond your own bubble, your own immediate comfort, that courage starts to grow,” Polly said, words my own timid soul and I will be taking heed of.
Polly Morland’s book, The Society of Timid Souls – the namesake of which was a group for stage-frightened wartime performers on the Upper West Side, is now downloaded onto my iPad and top of my reading list.
How would you define bravery? Who would you classify as brave and why? Is it important to be brave?