Friday, April 27, 2012

"We Believe In Ordinary Acts of Bravery": Dauntless

I am Dauntless.

If you're new to the world of Veronica Roth's Divergent I suggest you look into it. As in right now. I would describe it to you but I will not be able to do it justice. Though I did a (fairly spoilery) review here.

As we countdown to the release of the next book, Insurgent the Divergent Nation (#DivergentNation) is partaking in a whole bunch of festivities. In one we choose our faction (Dauntless: Bravery, Amity: Peace, Erudite: Knowledge, Candor: Honesty, and Abnegation: Selflessness) and join in.

As a member of Dauntless one of our tasks to talk about why we are Dauntless.

So here it goes.
On the outside it may seem like being Dauntless is all about being fearless. It is not, being Dauntless is about knowing you're afraid and acting brave in spite of your fear. Upon reading Divergent I initially never thought I would be Dauntless, but I am.

I am not necessarily a charge off into battle type of girl. A bit clumsy, admittedly, it wouldn't be brave, it would be careless. The Dauntless are a bit reckless but they are not careless. But I am the type of girl who, in high school, wore spoons or glow sticks in her hair and Post-its counting down the days until Harry Potter releases on her forehead. Or tried out for the talent show even though she was terrified of being in front of people because she didn't have anything to lose. The girl who wore cat ears for two years in college because, why not?

In case it has escaped anyone's notice, especially in high school and middle school, kids are cruel. I was teased and mocked and pranked mercilessly in school but I carried on. It didn't matter. I could face what the other kids did to me because I knew who I was and what I wanted. They didn't have to like it.

At the time I didn't realize this was an act of bravery. I just knew that they did what they wanted and I did what I wanted. After a time I expected the teasing but it didn't matter (most of the time) because in my own little way, by not giving in, I had defeated them. I stayed who I wanted to be.

I was the first of my siblings to go to college (I'm the middle of five, all girls, that makes you brave all on its own) and while there I got a job in a theater. This job forced me to face some of my more every day fears. Heights by working in lifts and catwalks. My own clumsiness by working with power tools (saws are scary) and moving equipment during shows I could kill people with. Being in front of people (techies have to do it too). And even taking control of situations by stage managing and training new kids.

All of these things made me realize that, once I got over my initial panic, I liked facing things that I was afraid of. It was one less thing that had a grip on me.

I will never be fearless. As one of my favorite literary heroines Kel says: "Fear is a good thing. It means you're paying attention."(Page) But being Dauntless isn't about being fearless. It's knowing that bravery comes in many forms. I may not seem Dauntless but we come in all forms.

Plus, I already have the wardrobe:

Perhaps I should be afraid of cameras?

If you want to see what we're about check out:

Be sure to tweet the #DivergentNation and choose #TeamDauntless.

I'll leave you all with this:

We believe that justice is more important than peace.
We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
We do not believe that silence is useful.
We do not believe in limiting the fullness of life.
We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.
We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by.
We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.

-The Dauntless Manifesto


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