This post was written as part of the Self-Discovery, Word by Word series. This month’s word is “brave,” hosted by Dana at Body and the Brood. Here’s how to participate. And be sure to check out her eloquent post on the small “b” bravery.

It’s been so hard for me to see some of my actions as being brave, because I thought that I was weak for so many years. And I rarely praised myself for anything.

But I am getting there.

In 2006, I am leaving a doctorate program after receiving my M.S., because I don’t love what I’m doing. I want to write.

Days ago, I am writing a post about being fatherless on Father’s Day.

I am trying to feel my feelings and letting the tears flow without telling myself to stop.

I am trying to be honest on the page, even though I’m super self-conscious.

Years ago, I am refusing to diet, even though our society says so.

I am finding inner peace and inner beauty in a world that has no problem bashing people for their physical appearance.

I am writing, while self-doubts swirl in my head. But I am writing.

I am reaching for foods I never allowed myself to have.

I am looking at my body, differently, positively.

I am taking care of myself.

I am eschewing the advice of magazines that don’t have my health or well-being in mind.

I am exploring what interests me and following my passions.

I am seven years old, attending second grade, zero knowledge of English, never having gone to first grade here or in Russia. I am terrified. I spend many days choking back tears and insecurity. But I work hard.

I am 10 years old, sitting in a fifth-grade honors class.

Many years later, I am discovering exercise and doing only the activities I enjoy.

I am getting pretty good at Pilates.

I am working on my confidence, trying to appreciate all of myself.

I am working on standing up for myself and acknowledging my accomplishments.

Courage comes in all stripes and colors, in all shapes and sizes. Courage is knight-in-shining-armor-situations, small revolutions and minute moments. Don’t dismiss those brave moments, however small.

What brave things have you done?

Have you recovered from an eating disorder, stopped dieting, banished body-shaming magazines from your reading list, listened to your body , stood up for yourself, stood up for someone else, set and maintained boundaries, appreciated the beauty of your body? Please share in the comments!