Courage is Being Courageous

by Vanessa Virgilio
From the Voice of a Teen

This Blog is by Vanessa Virgilio, whom I met while waiting for my car in for a tune-up at an auto mechanic shop in the Junction in the west part of the City of Toronto. Vanessa is working part-time at the shop as a data-input clerk, to help her dad. While I was waiting, I had a brief, but engrossing chat with this 16-year-old, who says she dreams night and day of becoming a published writer. Her expression of wanting to write is overwhelmingly contagious. She tells me, “it’s the people who dare to be different that stand out the most, and shine like the moon in the dead of night.” What ‘creative vibe’ and wisdom came to me from the voice of a teen. I invited Vanessa here, to write about ‘Courage.’ She shares her insight, and does it in a heartful rage. Catherine DeAngelis


Bert Lahr, Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz

Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion
in the Wizard of Oz

Courage, in its general definition, comes from the old French root word ‘Cour’ or ‘Coeur,’ meaning ‘heart.’ It can mean many things to many individuals, and holds different meanings at different times in our lives. Courage takes different forms, such as “to be  courageous” or “to have courage.”

Take the Courage Within, and Apply It Consciously 

Bravery, heart, boldness, dauntlessness, bravura, daring, spirit, nerve, guts, chutzpah, nerve, spunk, or ‘intrepidity’ – a characteristic expected among fighting soldiers. There are a multitude of words to describe courage, but ‘those’ are just words. You can have courage, or you can be courageous. Everyone has courage, but ‘to be courageous,’ is a different story.

Courageousness lies within the risks we take, and the reasons behind why we took them. To be courageous is to take a chance, to take that theoretical step out onto the precarious edge, and fall out of our comfort zone. We may test the butterflies in our stomach, or the rush of adrenaline in our veins. We pluck up the courage to ask out the person we like to go out with, or audition for that school play. We can own up to something we’ve done wrong, apologize, accept responsibility, or face punishment. These are examples of taking the courage inside of us, and applying it consciously.

Courage is Hanging On When You Think You Can’t Any Longer

“To have courage;”‘ we tend to use this term differently. It is that subconscious courage that helped us through our first day of kindergarten, our first piano recital, or our first day of ninth grade. That tiny piece of hidden courage, is what gets us through the rough spots. Every day comes with a new challenge; every challenge is dealt with a piece of courage.

We can associate courage, to being without ‘cowardice’ (the trait of lacking courage).  We can liken this meaning to the Cowardly Lion, from the 1939 American musical fantasy film, “Wizard of Oz.”   Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, and the endearing actor, Bert Lahr, well-known as the Cowardly Lion (and the farmer “Zeke”).  He has a loud roar, but afraid of everything. He wants to be brave, and heard the “Wizard” of Oz can give him the courage he has missed.  Although he nearly succumbs to one of the Witch’s traps because of the courage he didn’t know he had, to his amazement he learned he always had it within him.

Read a free download of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L Frank Baum, published in 1901 adapted for the movie.
Braveheart is another story brought to life by Mel Gibson, in a Hollywood betrayal of William Wallace, who lived from 1272 to 1305.  Wallace was a Scottish knight and landowner, who led the Scottish resistance against the English – to win freedom for his people and land.  If you watch the movie or read the story, you’ll learn that Wallace was a man of great faith and great courage.  He wore it on his sleeve.

Courage is within us, whether we know it or not. It is the light that shines, and never goes out.

Vanessa Virgilio is a writer, who lives in Toronto.  She says that she finds solace in her writing. “My mind is a magical place, so many things are thought, so much creativity and imagination. That same mind sees the small details in everything, and frets if they’re not perfect. There’s a lot of emotion to be found inside my head, I’m not sure what one would think if they stepped inside and took a look around.”




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