Courage is the strength to stand strong against what Everyone Else believes and to be firm in your own convictions.  Either that or sheer stupidity, I haven't figured out which yet.

Luckily, the antagonist in me delights in these opportunities to subsume what Everyone Else thinks I should do and then spit it back out in their faces.  It's not a small amount of pleasure obtained from succeeding where others doubted you.  Of winning that particular pissing contest.  The danger, of course, is cutting off your nose to spite your face, which I've been guilty of doing every now and then.  But I stubbornly hold that there is some courage and strength in standing for something, anything, particularly when it's so easy to just ebb and flow with the masses.

To stand up and stand firm for yourself and what you do - your passions and what matters to you - it's such a simplification of the exercise.  Like one of those black and white scripted motivational prints that you see hanging above a pure white drafting table.  We all know it's more of a bloody, hair-pulling, eye-gouging battle.  But if those things are not worth fighting for, then what is?

I'm feeling more than a little soap-boxy these days and it may be because I'm challenging myself on what I hold dear and the value or even nobility in those pursuits.  Healthy?  Maybe.  Insane?  Absolutely.  Tell me, dear ones, do you challenge yourself more or others?  And what are those challenges that you encounter, more often than not?  I want all your stories.

*Lauren, this is not the knife I ended up buying, although it's got "beautiful" covered.  The one I ordered is much more functional and tactical.  And wicked-looking.