About 8 months ago, I moved to L.A. for an internship. I was scared, not because I was fearful of the city, but because I was fearful of myself. You see, I was going there to "find myself" when, really, I ended up discovering the heart of others.
The night before I left, one of my mentors, who is battling late stages of cancer all over her body, gave me her Giving Key with BRAVE engraved on it. It wasn't just a new gift for my next chapter, but a worn down one she had been wearing through chemo. When I left the next day, I had already vowed to myself never ever to wear it and, instead, to cherish it so that, if she passes away, I'll be able to have something to remember her by. For the next 5 months, I kept it safely stored away in a drawer and would periodically pull it out when I needed a little push.
But, in those 5 months, I met someone who changed my life forever. Her name is Carmen, and she's an 80-year-old woman, ex-gang member, and widow who lives in the projects of L.A. She is, for lack of a better term, amazing. Her faith, joyfulness, and sass are what got me through some of my darkest moments.
While I was prepping to go see her one Saturday, I felt like I needed to give her the necklace. That hour of internal battle was terrible, and I sent countless texts to the mentor who had gifted it to me, expressing my feelings. But I knew that, the past couple months, Carmen was battling some serious unresolved health issues and that maybe, just maybe, I needed to put aside my pride and regift the bravery that was gifted to me to someone who needed it more. So, I did.
I live back at home now and haven't seen Carmen in almost 3 months, but I know she's somewhere in L.A. being BRAVE. After all she's been through in her life, she deserves it.