Words Wednesday is a column where I share whatever quote I’m most in love with this week in the hopes that it will make both of us better writers. Whether it be from a blog, a movie, or a surprisingly deep YA book, these words rocked me emotionally and I want them to inspire you too.

Happy Wednesday, y’all! We’ve made it halfway through the week, so if you’ve made it this far you can make it through the rest. There’s so many scary things going on in the world right now, both internationally and in the United States, and it can be easy to lose sight of any spot of good. I hope that this quote can inspire at least a couple of you to find your bravery.

“I think saying what you’re afraid of makes you brave”

Kelly Quindlen, Late to the party

Late to the Party is a 2020 release by Kelly Quindlen about a high school girl who realizes that she’s outgrowing her best friends. Codi is going into her senior year and has never kissed a girl or been to a party. Her brother, at just 14, has gotten closer to either of these things than she has. This inspires Codi’s friends (similarly kiss-less) to break out of their comfort zone, but Codi doesn’t want to follow the path they’re going down. It’s a simple premise that brings up complex emotions for both Codi and any reader who has felt like they’re outgrowing their own friends, despite nobody doing anything “wrong”.

What I like about this quote is that it doesn’t try to manipulate us into hiding our fears. Too often we think that in order to be brave, we have to act like nothing scares us. There’s this pressure to be perfect, to be strong, to put on a false bravado when in the face of something terrifying. Quindlen is saying that we don’t need to do that. The very act of saying what you’re afraid of out loud is brave.

Like I said at the start of this piece, you only need to glance at the news to find something to be scared about. And there is power in admitting that fear, in speaking about it and sharing concerns. In fact, voicing fear may be the only way to enact real change, because it shows people how serious you are about issues in a way that simply listing facts never will.

“Late to the Party” is a YA novel, and the “i think” at the start of this quote speaks to that in a really beautiful way. There’s so many times when I’m writing a post or a text or a tweet and I realize that I prefixed it with “i think” when in fact, i know. Everyone is aware when I say something that it’s what I am thinking. The self-conscious tendency to discredit our opinions even before we begin to speak resonated with me. Here this person is, stating profoundly that sharing your fears makes you brave, and yet at the same time they are too afraid to say that as a fact. It has to be their thought instead.

Our thoughts, fears, and anxieties coexist with each other not out of coincidence but out of inevitability. Quindlen captured this sentiment beautifully in her book.