Bravery for Breakfast: The “Small” Acts That Change Our Lives

Three years ago last week, I launched Girl Boner® on my blog. I heard a range of reactions when folks first learned of the series. “OHMYGOD, you’re doing porn?” asked one woman. (Um…no. But good guess!) “Girls get BONERS?” asked others. (Yep! Learn more here.)

Numerous others told me how brave I was for openly discussing sexuality. I appreciate that sentiment, trust me—but to me, Girl Boner® has always felt natural and exciting. So while I’ve certainly had my share of giddy butterflies along the way, I’m not sure brave is the term I’d use.

There are many definitions of brave: possessing or fearless, exhibiting courage, daring beyond discretion, to defy. To me, brave doesn’t mean an absence of fear, but moving forward in spite of it. A brave soul lets something greater than fearfulness drive them, often accepting scariness as part of the deal.

I’ll tell you about a time I really felt heroic.

I was in my early twenties, and had decided to turn my life around amid my struggle with a severe eating disorder. I’m not talking about the day I collapsed in Paris many of you are familiar with, but the morning I woke up after an intense binge, having consumed enough to feed a small family for a full day in one sitting. Stomach distended and palms sweating, I sat at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal, struggling to put spoon after spoon in my mouth, reminding myself of the commitment I’d made the night before:

I won’t let you live this way anymore… Try something new.

As I savored these banana pancakes and veggie sausage the other day, the ease wasn't lost on me.

As I savored these banana pancakes and veggie sausage the other day, the ease wasn’t lost on me. #savoredeverybite

To end the binging/starving cycle and heal from the disorder that ruled my every moment, I knew I had to wake up that morning and eat a post-binge breakfast. No attempts to “compensate” through starving. No excessive, self-punishing exercise. Just…breakfast. The seemingly simple act billions of people around the world do daily without much thought seemed to shatter my heart that day, as much as it would begin to make it whole again.

Forcing thoughts of I love you…You’re going to be okay, I made it through the meal I, for once, hadn’t measured or over-analyzed, finding a smidgen of light on the other side. It would take months (upon months) of such efforts, but eventually the “love” I’d professed felt authentic and I wasn’t merely okay, but more vibrantly alive.

Not long after, I began to recognize the link between my body image issues and a lack of sexual empowerment, changing the course of my life and eventually leading me to Girl Boner®. I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened had I let E.D. win and skipped that meal that day. Sometimes it’s the seemingly smallest of steps that have the most profound impact.

I’ve had bravery on my mind a lot lately, much thanks to some very special women.

Very soon, I’ll release my first non-fiction book, Embraceable: Empowering Facts and True Stories About Women’s Sexuality. It features not only my own story of self, body and sexual embracement, but those of over fifteen other women who’ve fought their way to the same.

One common thread throughout the book is bravery. It’s tragic to me that embracing our full selves—including our sexuality—has become such a rare and bold act, particularly considering the devastation that can derive if we never do so. All of this, I feel, makes this book and these women’s stories particularly important.

I can’t thank you all enough for sharing in my Girl Boner® journey thus far, and hope you’ll stay tuned for more details on the book. In the meantime, as the incredible author Cheryl Strayed shared at an event last week—on Girl Boner®’s third birthday, as chance or fate would have it—stay brave! I’m cheering for each and every one of you. ♥

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When have you felt brave? Has a seemingly “small” act made a huge different in your life? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Leave a comment

20 Comments

  1. What would we do without you? I think I’ve shared my dad’s saying, “be brave and love each other.” But you’ve reminded me the bravest thing we can do is to push through to our true selves and love ourselves. Thank you for sharing and teaching and being.

    Reply
    • What a beautiful note, Amy. Thank you! Loving ourselves fully frees us up to love and give to others in ways we can’t otherwise imagine. I really believe that. 🙂

      Reply
  2. August, I have lost count of the number of your posts that have made such a huge difference in my life. They are a resource all on their own and this is yet another.

    I am quite taken with your observation that never embracing one’s full self is “devastating.” I could not agree more. It is a life lost yet as your powerful post points out, it is never too late for small acts. Just one changes everything. Inspiring post, August.

    Karen

    Reply
  3. Thank you for sharing even more of your story. Lifting the spoon to your mouth that morning was one of the bravest acts I can think of. It is indeed our seemingly small acts, and our ability to return to them again and again despite pain and misgivings, that transform us.

    Reply
  4. You rock August!
    Only brave women can get this far.

    Reply
  5. Love the inspiration here, August! Today I feel braver than I have in months. There’s been so much change in my life in the last year and then 2 months ago we bought a house and have been moving and downsizing our house of 20 years. There’s been zero writing. Lots of change tends to translate to big time insecurity for me. But today I wrote, blocking out my inner (big meanie) critic for a spell. Enough to feel a spark of bravery. 🙂 Huge hugs and congratulations for another Girl Boner year!

    Reply
    • Oh, wow. GO, YOU, Coleen! I’m so thrilled for you. I love that you’re feeling so brave and blocked out that inner meanie (who so totally does not deserve you :)). Cheering for you all the way! Thanks so much for the sweet support.

      Reply
  6. I love how brave you are sharing vulnerability, I feel so much compassion and connected to you now.

    Enviado desde mi iPad

    Reply
  7. Jean Franzblau

     /  November 9, 2015

    So excited for Embraceable!

    Reply
  8. Hi August – as Karen says, this is a powerful post! All best wishes for every success with your upcoming book. You’ve always conveyed such a sense of optimism in your sensible thinking about proper health, self-confidence and general well-being in all its aspects. And your messages are so important – something western society is in danger of forgetting in the face of the relentless way that ‘well-being’ has been subjugated to ‘profit’ – a flaw in society that certainly extends to the deep distortion of body image (men included, I might add).

    To my thinking – contextualising it back into the way the industrial economy emerged as a framing idea 200+ years ago – today’s problems are a symptom of the way ‘body image’ has been industrialised for profit, at the expense of personal well-being for women particularly. Today, in general, society has been so conditioned by it that few even recognise the point. Such things need an antidote!

    Good on you!

    Reply
    • These issues really have become a societal “norm,” which is heartbreaking – particularly since little is done to fix what’s considered usual. Thanks so much for the insightful note and support! Means a lot from you. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Congratulations on three years, August! To the next three – and many more!! It’s been a pleasure being part of your journey so far and will be more pleasure to keep having you and your progress in my life! You are a brave and strong woman and I’m blessed having you in my life and being permitted to call you a friend.
    Hugs!! ❤

    Reply
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