Learning to be brave

Our imaginations warned us of monsters lurking in the darkness. We huddled closer to the safety of the light. Told each other scary stories with a foolish bravado that only deepened our fright, pulling it down into our bellies where it twisted into terror. This terror we kept to ourselves. No one could know. This was how we were taught to make ourselves brave.

a most inconvenient gender swap


It’s hard being a frog princess. People just aren’t ready for that gender swap. Boys poked at her with sticks, carried her around in buckets for hours at a time, and occasionally tossed her at a girl to make them scream, but they never kissed her. They never even considered kissing her.

Still, she supposed there are some small beauties to life as a frog. Her hair never got tangled, she didn’t have to go to school, and she could swim all day. Those things count for something, but she misses her old friends. She misses books and clothes and her old dog, Charlie.

So she sought me out and asked for my help. She wants me to ask you, if you know any little boys, to dare them to kiss frogs. This, she feels, just might work. It seems to me if little girls can do it, then little boys can find the courage too.



Those first green things, so timid in the light and so unafraid of frost, are the bravest souls I know. Before the trees unfurl their leaves they’re there, daring to bloom in the sunlight while it lasts. Before it’s hidden away. One glorious week or two of brilliant life until it fades away, happy, satisfied, willing to wait another year for its time in the sun to come ’round again. I wish I could be half so patient.